The evolution of work -The Business and Health integrated Smarter Workplace of the Future

“The digital world has been in separate orbit from our medical cocoon, and it´s time the boundaries be taken down.”

Eric Topol, Doctor, Author & Researcher

Technological, social and health forces are transforming how work gets healthy done, who does it, and even what work looks like. In an effort to understand how organizations and employees can rethink their approaches in the face of the evolution of work and the Smarter Workplace of the Future, this article tries to tap into the wisdom of crowds by researching, what the Leading thinkers think what are the most important driving forces shaping the work-related realities of the Future.

Underneath the understandable anxiety about the future of work lies a significant missed opportunity. That opportunity is to return to the most basic question of all: What is work? If we come up with a creative answer to that, we have the potential to create significant new value for the enterprise. And paradoxically, these gains will likely come less from all the new technology than from the human workforce you already have today.

Work and the Workplace are always defined in the context of economic development.

One Model that explains the context of economic development is the

Kondratieff Model.


pages from fischerfraunhofer


More: UBS Artificial Evolution


More about the Sixth Kondratieff, click here: 208499168-allianz-the-sixth-kondratieff-en (1)

There is no uniform progression in market economy; in fact, upturns and downturns regularly take turns with each other. The short business cycles that last approximately three years are called Kitchin cycles; the medium-term ones lasting between 7 to 11 years are called Juglar cycles. However, there are also long economic cycles that last between 40 to 60 years. They are named Kondratieff cycles after their discoverer Nikolai Kondra­tieff. The triggers for these long waves are groundbreaking inventions that are called basic innovations below. To identify them, you have to look for them on four levels: On the technological, economic, societal and on the time level.
The Previous Kondratieff Cycles

Economists have empirically proven five Kondratieff cycles since the late 18th century (Illustration 1).

The first long cycle was triggered by the invention of the steam engine and fundamental innovations in textile manufacturing (the fly-shuttle loom, the spinning mule, the spinning jenny).

The railroad and the Bessemer converter led the economy to the second Kondratieff. It was the great era of big steel.

The third Kondratieff was the first long cycle that was carried by the prac­tical application of scientific knowledge. The discovery of the electro-dyna­mic principle by Werner von Siemens enabled the conversion of mecha­nical energy into electrical energy, and the findings on the composition of matter through quantum physics imparted the knowledge of manipulating material – the foundation of modern chemistry.
The third Kondratieff ended with the global economic crisis of the late 1920s and early 1930s. The new upswing, the fourth Kondratieff, came with the automobile and petrochemistry. It marked the height of the industrial society and brought mass transit to the streets and to the air.

The fourth Kondratieff drew to a close with the massive crude oil price increases by OPEC in the late 1970s.

The fifth Kondratieff began in the early 1950s. Its driving force originated in computer-based information technology. With constantly increasing speed, information technology permeated all areas of society and turned the world into a global village of information. During the fifth Kondratieff, the industrial society changed over into an information society. Since then, economic growth is primarily defined as growth in the information sector.
The fifth Kondratieff ended at the turn of this century. At the same time it ended, the sixth Kondratieff cycle began. The carrier of this new Kondratieff cycle will be health in a holistic sense.
At first glance, this statement may come as a surprise. Can health expenditures, which are economically classified as pure expenses and as something negative that should thus be avoided if possible, take on the role of a locomotive for growth and employment in the future?
At this point, we should recall the results of modern growth theory. Machi­nery, capital or jobs are only ostensibly the most important sources for economic growth. The main source for economy growth is productivity pro­gress.

The sixth Kondra­tieff is carried by an improved productivity in handling holistic health.
At this point, I would like to elaborate on the term ‘health’. The WHO (World Health Organization) definition of health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. In 1997, the Executive Board of the World Health Organization (WHO) provided some food for thought with a broader definition of health: ‘Health is a dynamic state of complete physical, mental, social and spiritual well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity’. This was once again highlighted in the 2005 Bangkok Charter for Health Promotion in a Globalized World, ‘Health is one of the fundamental rights of every human being and encom­passes mental and spiritual well-being’. According to the WHO, terms like ‘disease’ and ‘health’ should not be limited to the body. They are systems concepts. There are also sick souls, sick families, companies and societies. Aside from the entropic sector, there is a second barrier to sustainable growth: the traditional health care sector.


The Traditional Health Care Sector

Over the past two centuries, the traditional health care sector made tremendous progress. The history of medicine over the past two centuries was a real success story. The traditional healthcare system

• Medical technology;
• Pharmaceutical industry;
• Health services (doctors, non-medical practitioners, hospitals, health insurance companies, health insurance funds, pharmacists, public health services, medical care facilities);
• Health spas/sanatoriums;

• Company health services (health as a competitive factor, training and continuing education (e.g., in people skills), human resource development, health management;
• Other (health-related) (skilled trades, e.g., for orthopedic products, sporting goods and sports facilities, health publications, medical EDP, etc. see Nefiodow and Nefiodow 2014).

But this success story is about to end. Since the late 20th century, the new medical advances are no longer sufficient to adequately deal with the dynamics and complexity of modern life and its high demands on the physical, emotion- nal and mental strength of human beings.

The biggest problem of the traditional health care sector is a level of productivity which is too low. Productivity is too low because the costs caused by medical advances are not being counterbalanced by the cost reduction they create (Schneider et al.1992).

Another problem is the fact that the traditional health care sector is not geared towards healing, but primarily towards the treatment of disease symptoms, for example, dementia. In 2010, the U.S. federal health insurance programs Medicare and Medicaid spent approximately US$ 140 billion to treat dementia, but only US$ 0.5 billion to research its causes. A ratio of 280:1. As a result of this low productivity and the one-sided bias towards physical disease, costs continue to increase. Meanwhile, global health expenditures are at US$ 12,000 billion. We have now identified the two primary barriers. If the traditional health-care system is removed as a carrier, then who are the stakeholders that are going to shape the sixth Kondratieff?

The Newly Emerging Second Health Care Sector

One of the most important new stakeholders is biotechnology (Fig. 3). It is not just a brand-new technology, it is one of the new basic innovations of the sixth Kondratieff because it will improve the productivity in handling physical diseases, it will reduce costs significantly and it will improve our competence in avoiding diseases and our competence in healing.

The newly emerging healthcare sector

• Biotechnology;
• Naturopathic treatments, natural products, all natural foods;
• Complementary/alternative medicine (homeopathy, classic acupuncture, electroacupuncture according to Dr. Voll, kinesiology, bioresonance therapy, anthroposophic medicine, magnetotherapy, Dr. Rath’s cellular medicine, biofeedback, quantum healing, traditional Chinese medicine, ayurvedic medicine, Reiki, etc.);
• Environmental protection (predominantly);
• Agriculture, diet, food; • Wellness/fitness, tourism (health tourism);
• Architecture (healthy living), building and construction industry (healthy building materials), textile industry (allergy-free and breathable textiles and clothing), the senses (color therapies, aromatherapies, music therapies);                                                                     • Self-medication and self-care (participation of illness costs, rising self-care);

Workplace health management (company health insurance funds, company sponsored fitness programs, cafeterias, welfare centers, health seminars, preventive medical checkups, good health bonus);

• Psychology, psychiatry, psychotherapy, psychosomatic medicine;
• Religion/spirituality. The second basic innovation of the sixth Kondratieff is psychosocial health. Psychosocial healing of human is the most efficient tool to control global entropy. There is still a significant need for research in this area, because there are currently still large theoretical deficits in understanding mental and psychological disorders. Another protagonist in the new, emerging health care sector is spirituality/religion. Many studies prove that religious beliefs have a healing effect on the body, soul and spirit. Raphael Bonelli of the University of Vienna and Harold Koenig of Duke University in the USA have analyzed all studies on the link between health and religion published between 1990 and 2010, and concluded that in 74 percent of the studies. There is a positive correlation between Christian faith and health.

Maslow Hierachy of Needs, Employee Engagement and the Healthy Human Being



Psychotherapy, psychosomatic medicine and psychiatry predominantly center on sick people and diseases. Abraham Maslow, one of the most influential psychologists of the 20th century and co-founder of humanistic psychology, once asked himself why healthy people receive so little attention in psychotherapy. Perhaps one could gain insights from them on how to improve the treatment of sick people. Therefore, he began a study to research the essence of health in healthy people.

“When I began to study psychological health, I chose the most outstanding and healthiest people, the best human specimen I could find and studied their characteristics. They were very different and in some ways surprisingly different from the average person.
” (Maslow 1962; pg. 9)

-They have a better perception of reality
-The ability to correctly evaluate people and circumstances
-They are able to accept themselves, others and nature
-Lack of protective mimicry, defense or pose. Dislike of artificiality, lies,
hypocrisy and the propensity to impress
-They exhibit a sense Of naturalness, spontaneity and simplicity
-They don’t let convention dissuade them from important tasks. Modesty
-They are problem-oriented
-Problem and task-oriented, not ego-oriented
-They have a need for privacy
-Comfortable with being alone
-They are autonomous, active and growth-oriented
-Independence from the physical and social environment. Stimulated by growth
and achievement motivation
-They possess a fresh appreciation
-Basic assets for living are appreciated with respect, joy and wonder
-They were shaped by mystical experiences
-Ego-death and transcendent experience
-They have a sense of community
-Deep sense of identification, sympathy and affection
-They are able to transcend the ego’s limitations
Intense interpersonal relationships
-They have a democratic character structure
-Friendly contact with people, regardless of class, race, education and faith
-They have a strong ethical disposition
-Firm moral standards. No chronic insecurity pertaining to the difference between
good and bad, right and wrong
-Their sense of humor is philosophical, not hostile
-They don’t laugh about hostile, offending or superiority jokes
-Healthy people are without exception creative
-They resist peer pressure
-They have a need for privacy

Putting Maslow´s research together, outstanding and healthiest people are improving their health through 4 Steps:

  1. Awareness
  2. Diagnosis
  3. Treatment and
  4. Self management.

Digital Health 4 Elements, offers disruptive potential for improving Diabetes.

  1. Personalized
  2. Predictive
  3. Proactive and
  4. Preventive.


The Power of Whole-Person Care and the Total Rewards Model


Total Rewards Model





Employee Total Health Management


Next: Click here The evolution of Work and Healthcare Part 2