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With Rio Tinto’s creation of the Operations Centre, the company has helped to advance the human-machine recombination work practice. The Operations Centre is a facility where equipment operators sit in a command center that may be hundreds or even thousands of miles away from the mine, but are still capable of controlling powerful machinery and equipment at mining sites.
The Impact of Technology on the Future of Work: From Looking Digital to Being Digital
Over the next five years, new digital technologies promise to dramatically change work outcomes and work experiences for employees of all sorts across a wide array of industries. Companies that want to lead in the digital era must rethink the way they get work done.
Human-digital recombination is a work practice that will become much more prevalent in the next five years with the diffusion of intelligent digital processes. It is the practice of reallocating work processes between people and intelligent tools or even robots.
Rio Tinto’s Operations Centre represents the optimal combination of high-tech work environment and traditional mining know-how. It has already demonstrated clear and impressive results: increased efficiency, improved reliability, decreased variability and better identification of performance issues.
Robert J. Thomas, managing director of the Accenture Institute for High Performance, is the author of “Crucibles of Leadership” (Harvard Business Press, 2008) and “What Machines Can’t Do” (University of California Press, 1994).
Alex Kass, a senior research manager, currently leads the Digital Workforce Innovation Initiative in Accenture Technology Labs.
Ladan Davarzani is a research fellow with the Accenture Institute for High Performance.
June 20, 2014
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