network cables 494645 640The future is already unfolding around us.

We are seeing drivers of change everywhere - in technology as more people get connected; in globalisation with the emerging economies of India and China; in changing demographics as people live longer; in increasing energy prices and even at a social level as more women enter the workforce and more men look for balance in their lives.

Some of these forces can have negative consequences. In some instances technology is replacing jobs and we are seeing an increasing fragmentation as permanent jobs are being replaced by short-term contracts.

However, we are also seeing some exciting opportunities especially for those who would like to craft their own futures.


The Micro-Entrepreneur Revolution

Lynda Grattan, Professor of Management Practice at London Business School leads over 50 global companies in the Future of Work Consortium to predict the 'future of work'. One of the trends she has identified is the Micro-entrepreneur Revolution. Professor Grattan argues that some of these drivers of change provide unique opportunities for those talented people who don't want to be tied to a large organisation for years.

Barriers to starting a business are now very low. With technology you can work from anywhere and simply link in. This would not have been possible 5 years ago, but Professor Grattan believes it's only going to accelerate.

As more people get connected, micro-entrepreneurs have the potential to collaborate and co-create products that are really different and through their connections to others bring products to market all around the world. They will have the opportunity to create an artisan lifestyle, but work within supportive ecosystems that might exist around large organisations.

Professor Grattan suggests that large companies will then have the challenge of finding ways to access the talent in the ecosystems around them. We are already beginning to see this in the corporate accelerators and incubators that are springing up. This gives large organisations the opportunity of cherry-picking projects which extend their own brand.


What are the implications for the next generation?

Our children who are currently entering high school should already be thinking about what they will do with a long productive life. Their work life is unlikely to look like the generations before them – education, work and retirement. Instead, they might see education and re-skilling happen multiple times in their life as they move from being generalists to serial specialists with in-depth knowledge in a number of areas.


Funding Micro-Enterprise

Over the past 5 years that Lighthouse has been running the ACT Microcredit Loan Program, we have seen a steady increase in the number of highly talented people who have decided to craft careers that work for them and have looked to entrepreneurship to meet their needs. Many of them have developed expertise in diverse fields and have found that through their own business they have been able to bring their ideas together to provide innovative solutions to complex problems.

While in many parts of the world microcredit is used as a way of providing small-scale credit for disadvantaged individuals, in developed economies it is an innovative and sustainable way of providing training, mentoring and assistance to entrepreneurs as they transition into the world of business. As the world of work changes and there's an increase in people who choose to craft their own careers, sustainable funding models such as microcredit are going to become increasingly important.


Festival of Ambitious Ideas - Thursday 30 July 2015

If you are interested in finding out how some ACT companies are harnessing the trends described above, then join us at this years Festival of Ambitious Ideas event on the 30th July.


About Lighthouse Business Innovation Centre
Lighthouse has a strong track record of supporting entrepreneurs, researchers and inventers on the path from concept to commercialisation. Since July 2008, Lighthouse has worked with over 990 distinct enterprises and provided group and peer based services to over 3400 enterprises and individuals. For over five years Lighthouse has successfully delivered business advice, education, mentorship and networking opportunities to help these businesses commercialise their ideas and grow their companies. Lighthouse also delivers programs such as the ACT Microcredit Program for the ACT Government. Visit for more information.