A speech for the ceremony of the Doctorate Honoris Causa

by Simon Dolan
1 month ago

Sharing observations and making predictions about the future of higher education and the future of work within a framework of making a better society

Dear Rector, Dear Dean of the Faculty of Labor Sciences, Dear Director of the master’s degree in
People Management and the Director of the provincial Chair and the Department of Business Management and Marketing of the University of Huelva.  Dear Doctors, Colleagues and Guests.  First and foremost, I wish to thank the university for granting me this prestigious Doctorate Honoris Causa recognition. I am thankful to Dr. Yolanda Pelayo for initiating the process, for assuming the hard labor of godmothering it, and to the University authorities for accepting my nomination and selecting me for this esteemed honor. 
Receiving this honor from the University of Huelva brings me great joy. Although the University of Huelva was established on July 1, 1993, even then, the province of Huelva had a long-standing tradition of higher education studies, initially governed by the University of Seville before its integration.  Recently, the university celebrated its 25th anniversary, and since its inception, it has transmitted scientific, technical, and humanistic knowledge, trained professionals, supported the development of Huelva and its province, and promoted the extension of university culture. My heart is united with the University of Huelva due to its core values, which encompass activities rooted in academic freedom and research, as well as an ethical commitment to public service and the construction of an increasingly egalitarian, fair, and supportive society.
My Spanish connection started in Andalusia, and I regret that it wasn’t with Huelva; it was with Cadiz. Then, with Seville, until Huelva surfaced. Huelva continues to be the reference in closing my professional cycle.
Receiving this honor from Andaluz University is symbolic and very meaningful to me. It was very easy to fall in love with Cadiz because of its people, food, music, and rich culture. Dr. Ramon Valle, the Former Dean at the University of Cadiz, invited me to spend two consecutive summers there (back in the 1990s) to help some faculty members complete their theses and receive their doctorates.
Some also came to Montreal to follow up and spent 3-6 months with me. Cadiz was an experience I will never forget. It was very easy and comforting once you got to know the people there. Linguistically, I must admit that it was not easy. Imagine a GIRI who has never spoken Spanish communicating with an amazing guy from Conil de la Frontera who uses an Andalusian accent. I needed to repeatedly ask Antonio (who is here with us today), Antonio, I don’t understand anything…. Please repeat.  
Despite the language difficulties, some of my former colleagues in Cadiz and later in Seville became my best friends to this date. I am sorry that Ramon (and Concha) cannot be with us today. I understand their prior engagements with their family in New York, and I send them my hugs, kisses, and thanks for being formidable friends over the years. Luckily, they are well represented by my friend and coauthor, Dr. Alvaro Lopez, who currently serves as the Dean at Pablo Olavide University. Alvaro, please convey our love to Concha and Ramon.
Over the years, Ramon moved from Cadiz to Seville and co-created the new Pablo de Olavide University. He has invited me to lend him a hand in creating a culture of research in his faculty. Consequently, I took a sabbatical from the University of Montreal and spent a year in Seville, which turned out to be one of the most memorable experiences of my life; both myself and my wife-to-be, Adela, fell in love with the city. Our emotional attachment was so profound that when we decided to get married, we chose to exchange our vows in Seville.
I’m sharing this information with you so that you understand my deep ties to Andalusia.  My wife, Adela, is from Barcelona, but we did the impossible and got married in Seville. Ramon and Concha helped by sponsoring us, and the wedding ended up being like a fairy tale. Although I have been living in Catalunya for over 18 years, some of my best friends are still from Andalusia.
This award is also very significant to me as I was very skeptical when Dr. Yolanda Pelayo first approached me for permission to start the process.  After all, I was accustomed to being nominated but not getting the award. In 2015, I was nominated for the National Research Award of Catalonia, but it was ultimately awarded to someone else.  A few years later, Ramon Lull University nominated me for the BBVA Frontiers in Knowledge award. But, once again, it was awarded to someone else.
Over the years, I have developed the attitude of saying I will collaborate and do my best but I will not be affected by the outcome. After all, I was lucky in my career to collaborate with Dr. Hans Selye in Montreal (as he was the one who invited me to work with him after I graduated from the University of Minnesota). Hans Selye is known as the father of STRESS. In one of my books, I describe how the big guru of stress died from being nominated (twice) to get the Nobel prize for his scientific discoveries on the physiological reactions to stress but had never won the award.  During that period, I was his assistant and saw the devastating consequences. So, back to Huelva, I did not think that my nomination would become a reality. But here I am, in Huelva, in Andalusia, surrounded by amazing family and friends, and receiving this wonderful and amazing hospitality.  What else can I expect at my age? Apparently, 2023-2024 is my year of awards. While preparing for this award, I was notified that I won the IFSAM prestigious Award for Excellence in Societally Relevant Management Scholarship. Wow. Another nice surprise. After this lengthy introduction, allow me to move onto my speech. Initially, I planned to go over my career history and pinpoint some important benchmarks. But, on second thought, I figured that would be boring, lengthy, and probably resemble something like an obituary rather than a celebration. Today, technology enables anyone who wishes to learn about me to go to any search engine and after clicking my name, will get to know me (probably better than I know myself).  So, being a modern Don Quijote, I consider myself a Future Shaper, and I would rather talk about my vision of the future. Obviously, it is connected to my recent writings and research, but it also defines the agenda for future scholars who can perhaps pick up some of the points I will mention and develop them further.
Writing and speculating about the future is always risky. After all, I don’t have a crystal ball, and I don’t claim to be a prophet. Nonetheless, after years of being the Chair of the future of work in ESADE, serving on the advisory board of the DG employment of the European Commission, and creating the “Think Tank” “Global Future of Work Foundation” which enabled me to be surrounded by some top global and national brains ( btw, I am grateful to them for lending a hand), we have accumulated a huge data bank, significant global networking, and developed methodologies that enable us to make predictions about the future. 

My initial voyage into the future focused on work. Hence, my training is in work psychology and the management of people in organizations. Nonetheless, if you examine my publications and articles, you will notice that I have co-published with eminent colleagues from different disciplines, ranging from medicine, engineering, clinical psychology, sociology, anthropology, and others. I reached the conclusion that to add value to the scholarly community and especially to the professional community, some concepts should be explained far better by using paradigms and rameworks from a multidisciplinary perspective. So, it is no wonder that my good friend Dr. Mario Raich, a Swiss futurologist, convinced me to collaborate with him and write on themes connected to the future of
the larger society rather than only focusing on work and organizational settings. 
In 2008, I published a book with Mario Raich titled “Beyond:Business and Society in Transformation”(Palgrave-MacMillan). It was translated and published in multiple languages, including Spanish in 2010, entitled: “Mas Alla: Empresas y Sociedad en transformacion”(Profit Editorial). In this book, we discussed the challenges the world is facing, and to my surprise (and in retrospect), many of the predictions we made back in 2008 have become (or are becoming)  realities today. For example, we wrote about the risk of a pandemic (COVID-19 happened); we wrote about the probability of a nuclear explosion (it happened in Japan due to a Tsunami); we wrote about an immigration crisis (look at what is happening in Europe and along the U.S. Border with Mexico); we mentioned the possibility of a small group terrorizing entire nations (look at what happened on September 11 in the USA, March 11 in Spain or October 7 in Israel. We discussed the effects of
climate change (such as tsunamis and earthquakes, etc.), and it is happening.  We also wrote about the dangers and misuse of new technologies by egocentric leaders and corporate magnates (just look at the debate on the dangers of AI nowadays in any media). In 2014, we invited Dr. Riane Eisler (the amazing social paradigm breaker from the US) to join us in writing “Cyberness: The Future Reinvented”(Amazon.com).  Two comments about this book. First and foremost, I became sick and tired of reading and listening to negative depictions of the future, those that talk about doomsday and disasters, etc. I realize that it sells better.  Instead, we chose to stick to our instrumental values and describe a positive future. Because it is very hard to talk or write about the future employing terms of today, we invented new terms, such as “Cyberness,” for example, to convey a positive state of the future. We wanted to write and describe positive scenarios of the future by embedding new technologies so that people can dream. It’s hard to describe the future, as people’s dreams are based
on their experiences. So, how can you dream about something that you have never experienced?  However, if someone describes other experiences for you, you may develop some future anchors.
Over the years, I have invented many other futuristic terms, and it makes me very happy when I see others using them.  
So, based on these experiences (the two futuristic books) and other reasons, I chose to venture into the future, addressing both the scholarly community and the professional community by employing concepts, methodologies and tools that will offer solutions to many people’s problems and challenges. Given that all the new tools were based on research, I hoped they would become durable and not just another fad. I don’t have to tell you that creativity in any field implies taking a risk.
People are quick to jump on creative ideas because it forces them to climb out of their comfort zone; they resist new ideas and often call them ubbish.  When I wrote a tale for children, for example, with the hope of offering parents tools to instill values in children, some of my university professor
colleagues murmured, “Here is an old professor who is no longer able to publish serious research, so he turns to write books for children,” or worse, “How dare he write for children without a degree in early child education.” Perhaps they have a point.  When you examine genuine creativity, it can be expressed by the metaphor of a pendulum. If you move the pendulum slowly, you avoid taking risks, but your level of creativity is minimal. By contrast, if you move the pendulum vigorously, it creates a
U shape of movement, and the distance between true innovation and sheer stupidity is very close.
So, when you offer an out-of-the-box idea, you risk that it will be stupid or that people will see it this way. Nonetheless, if you really want to create change and if you are truly passionate about it, you don’t mind taking the risk. Creative people need to know how to convert the failure of new ideas
into a learning process in a way that they don’t become demotivated to try again. For sure, a super creative person takes the risk that some people will not like their idea, and you may be labelled incompetent or stupid. You may pay a price for it; sometimes, a heavy price. And if you are unlucky and the people who make the judgments are in a leadership position, they may even punish you.  
In Catalonia, I worked for ESADE for many years. I am grateful for the trust and responsibility I had been given to serve as the Scientific Director of the Institute for Labor Studies and then as the ESADE Chair of the Future of Work.  I have been fortunate to learn and improve my teaching by collaborating with authentic master teachers, interacting with brilliant minds from the MBA and other graduate programs, and training as thesis supervisor to a dozen students who have finished their thesis with
me. I am grateful to the leaders of ESADE for their trust and support, allowing me to research and innovate in alliance with my passion. And when it was over – it was over. About five years ago, I left great friends and a great institution, a world reference institution that made me proud to have been a very active part of.
In the recent two years, I had been hired again by an academic institution in Madrid – Advantere School of Management, which was founded by the Jesuit community of three universities: the Pontifical University Comillas, Deusto and Georgetown. I am grateful to the school’s General Director,
Dr. Guillermo Cisneros, for the trust and courage to hire someone my age. Dr. Pedro César Martin took on the role of helping me integrate and has become a vital mentor and ally in my teaching and research. Thank you, Pedro (and his wife), for being here today and joining me in this award
celebration. I am super happy at Advantere, a school where the leadership, the mission and the future vision are aligned with my own vision in preparing students for the future.
Having said that, I think that I have described the general framework of my philosophy, and now let’s turn to discussing the future of work. I will cover a range of themes. They might not seem connected (at first), but my presentation simulates the VUCA-type world we live in today. Logic is not always linear, but all elements play a role in the delivery of the message.

About Future life at the Academiaand some necessary changes

Let’s begin with what many of the people here are familiar with. Let’s start with my vision about necessary changes in academia. Everything is suggested for better alignment with society’s expectations of a university as well as its clients (students).
About the new role of professorsin the classroom – I have already mentioned that the role of a professor is to facilitate learning rather than dictate and simply share knowledge.  Today, students are expected to have a professor who challenges them, that intrigues them by raising their level of
curiosity and even entertains them (using interactive methods and simulations based on principles of gamification). Today, you don’t learn only in class (you learn from your co-students, from the internet, and other sources). University professors are expected to do more than just deliver
monotonous lectures; they are tasked with facilitating genuine learning experiences for their students. Merely disseminating information is not enough – educators must actively engage students, spark their curiosity, and captivate their interest. The traditional approach of standing at
the front of a lecture hall and reciting facts is no longer sufficient in the modern educational landscape.
To truly facilitate learning, professors must adopt a more interactive and dynamic teaching style. They should encourage student participation, foster critical thinking skills, and create an environment that promotes inquiry and discovery. By incorporating multimedia, hands-on activities, and group discussions into their teaching, professors can effectively capture the attention of their students and enhance the learning experience. Furthermore, professors should strive to make their classes not only educational but also entertaining. Students are more likely to be engaged and motivated to learn when they are excited and interested in the material being presented.
Incorporating humor, real-life examples, and relevant anecdotes can help bring the subject matter to life and make it more relatable to students.
One of my favorite additions to this description is the delivery of a multimedia course on an interactive platform called MyEducator (www.myeducator.com). While I have published several textbooks for university students in multiple languages, and the books are in the 5th, 6th or even 7th editions, I have decided to experiment with a digital interactive book. The idea for the platform was born in my office at ESADE as one of my doctoral students (Chad Albrecht) had developed with his brother and his father (both university professors) a platform called myEducator.  All virtual, using the latest technology, books are updated all the time by a team, and the impact is brutal.  Both students and university professors love it. I currently have about 20,000 students in the U.S. using this digital book/course. I’m not the one delivering it -it’s other professors. The professors contact me if they have an issue or a problem. This project was visionary and developed over ten years ago, long before the growing demand for online learning during COVID. And today, we are completing
the most ambitious book project with MyEducator dealing with the Future of Work, which was four years of hard work). The book is visionary, as in most universities, there is no course about the future.  If it succeeds, it will be offered across faculties, as all students, regardless of their career,
need to know something about the future of their work. And I managed to assemble some of the biggest gurus in the field to collaborate (co-write chapters in this book) including the legendary Dave Ulrich (from Michigan), the futurist Mario Raich (from Zurich) and Chad Albrecht (from Utah).

The future role of Higher Education-The concept of lifelong learning. –

Years ago, when students entered universities and obtained their degrees, it served them for the rest of their lives. Today, the obsolescence of knowledge is so fast, that if a professional does not update his /her knowledge and
skills, they become obsolete. The university’s role is to instill this type of attitude and prepare young students to be ready to upskill throughout their professional lives. I also predict that the faculty of continuing education in many universities will grow as they are less bureaucratic, more flexible than the traditional faculty, and can adapt and offer updated curricula far faster. Otherwise, a host of consultants and consulting firms will replace the services of the university. Moreover, today, many companies search for competencies and not degrees when they offer employment to talented
Obviously, this shift towards hiring individuals based on competence rather than degrees has potential drawbacks. While competence is undoubtedly a crucial factor in determining the success of an employee, the emphasis on qualifications and credentials cannot be completely disregarded.
One of the major criticisms of prioritizing competence over degrees is the potential for bias and subjectivity in the assessment of skills and abilities. Without a standardized framework or benchmark for evaluating competence, there is a risk of overlooking qualified candidates who may
not have the opportunity to showcase their skills effectively. This could result in a lack of diversity and inclusivity in the workplace, as individuals from marginalized backgrounds or without traditional educational qualifications may be unfairly disadvantaged. Furthermore, the reliance on competence alone may overlook the value of formal education in providing a foundation of knowledge and critical thinking skills. While practical experience and hands-on skills are important, academic qualifications
can also contribute to a well-rounded and versatile employee. Degrees often demonstrate a commitment to learning and self-improvement, as well as the ability to navigate complex concepts and information.

Promotion and recognition of value-added professors– For many years, professors had the task of teaching, publishing (doing research), contributing to the community and engaging in some administrative work. The typical career and promotion of a university professor depended on these criteria. In the more prestigious universities, the promotion is dominated by the research output measured in terms of scholarly publications in top-ranked journals. In the future, I think that the
criteria will change. First, those who know the criteria well also know how it can be manipulated.
The metrics are wrong. Most published research used very sophisticated methodology and mathematical models that even the referees for the journal, who were known in their times today are outgassed, and they do not understand some of the complex mathematical models used for the
analysis of the data. Thus, rather than admitting their lack of competence to evaluate a paper, they opt for acceptance. I noticed this trend and have experimented with it. Today, a large proportion of articles are being submitted by Chinese and Indian researchers who are well-trained in statistics.
Their scholarly innovative contribution is limited, but their use of sophisticated data analysis is impressive, and the result is that they dominate more and more spaces of scientific journals. They also live in a dog-eat-dog type of academic environment, and their competitiveness leads them to publish or perish.  
As an editor of a scholarly journal for over seven years, I knew these limitations. Still, I also knew how to boost the journal ranking by employing these observations to the extent that Emerald granted me the Editor of the Year award for boosting a journal in 2 years that existed for 15 years
and did not even make it into the rankings. Having said all that, my prediction (perhaps wishful thinking) is that publication by journal rankings will be replaced by other metrics for assessing the scholarly work of professors in academia and be used in their promotion and recognition. We need to develop companion metrics that are more objective and quantitative. Today, outlets such as Research-gate, Google Scholar and others produce statistics of impact and citation far better than relying exclusively on acceptance to a ranked journal. Then there is the issue of real impact in the form of influencers.

An academic as an influencer in the professional community– You all know what influencers are all about. They are followed by millions of people. New technologies and the new social media are enabling it. In the future, academics cannot be judged only by their peers but by the added value they make to the professional community. In my own case, I chose to adopt a hybrid publication model when I present themes connected to the future of work. After all, as a future shaper, you wish to have a real impact on society. My papers are a blend of research-based concepts with innovative methodologies and tools. It’s a mix of types of Jules Vern, where one part is based on research (and maintains the rigor of an academic), but the other part is visionary and imaginative. After all, who knows what will become valid in the future?  

One thing is certain: I am convinced that academics must transcend the confines of their ivory towers and extend their knowledge and expertise to the broader professional community rather than solely catering to their academic colleagues. This imperative stems from the fundamental responsibility of intellectuals to engage with and impact the society in which they reside. By limiting their contributions to the academic realm alone, scholars fail to fulfill their duty to disseminate knowledge and effect positive change beyond the confines of their insular academic circles.
Contributing to the professional community allows academics to enhance their own academic credibility and reputation. By demonstrating the practical implications of their research and showcasing its real-world impact, scholars can attract funding, partnerships, and opportunities for
collaboration with industry leaders. This not only bolsters the academic’s standing within their field but also elevates the reputation of their institution and contributes to the advancement of knowledge and expertise in the broader professional community.
Academics have long been perceived as the gatekeepers of knowledge, the guardians of intellectual discourse, and the vanguards of progress. Their contributions to the academic community are often lauded and celebrated, with accolades and recognition showered upon those who make
groundbreaking discoveries or publish influential research. However, there is a prevailing attitude among some academics that their primary audience and duty is to their fellow scholars and researchers, neglecting the importance of engaging with and contributing to the wider professional
community. This insular mentality not only limits the impact and relevance of academic work but also perpetuates the ivory tower image of academia as disconnected from society’s real-world problems and concerns. In an era marked by increasing skepticism towards experts and declining
public trust in institutions, academics cannot afford to remain cloistered in their ivory towers, speaking only to each other in esoteric jargon and inaccessible language.
In my own case, I reached an agreement with The European Business Review. It is read by approximately 15 million readers, and I learned how to convert complex academic concepts into something more parsimonious and practical. The journal decided to acknowledge my consistent
contributions (many with various co-authors) and create a column dedicated to me. There, readers can read or download for no or nominal charge) any article they find interesting. Actually, as I speak today, there are three articles scheduled for publication in the May-June and July-August Issues (https://www.europeanbusinessreview.com/category/columns/simon-l-dolan-a-future-shaper/).
Consequently, I’ve received invitations to address audiences in meetings and conferences with professionals throughout the globe. It makes me feel good and filled with enthusiasm to deliver passionate speeches, as my added value reaches a far larger audience than pure research-based
articles published in scientific journals.
Finally, I am aware of the challenges universities are facing and would like to emphasize the effort this University is making to adapt to the current times. The research it carries out, the innovations in teaching, and the contributions to the professionals of the province.  I hope you will continue with this dynamic and positive energy for many years to come.

Looking for Compass at work and in Life and preparing for the future

In an era of rapid technological advancements, global economic shifts, and social upheaval, the future of life and work appears as a turbulent sea of uncertainty. The relentless tide of change has been swept away by the once stable and predictable paths that guided individuals through their careers and personal lives. In this chaotic landscape, individuals find themselves adrift, desperately searching for a compass to navigate the uncharted waters ahead.
The traditional notions of career trajectories and job security have been upended, leaving many feeling vulnerable and exposed to the whims of an unpredictable future. The rise of automation, artificial intelligence, and the gig economy have fundamentally altered the nature of work, rendering once reliable professions obsolete and creating a precarious environment where job stability is a distant memory. In this environment, individuals are forced to adapt and evolve at a breakneck pace, constantly seeking new skills and competencies to stay relevant in an ever-changing job market.
Similarly, the very fabric of society is being reshaped by technological innovation and social change, leading to a sense of disorientation and alienation for many. The rapid pace of technological advancement has blurred the boundaries between the physical and virtual worlds, creating a digital reality that is both exhilarating and unsettling. As we grapple with the implications of these changes, we are forced to confront fundamental questions about our identity, our values, and our place in a world that is increasingly interconnected and complex.
In the face of this uncertainty, individuals are left to grapple with the profound challenge of finding their way in a world that is constantly in flux. The search for a compass becomes not just a practical necessity, but a deeply existential quest for meaning and direction in a world that is increasingly devoid of stability and certainty. As we confront the unknown challenges of the future, the only constant is change, and our ability to adapt and navigate this shifting landscape will be the key to our survival and success.
Given this context, I started many years ago to develop a compass that will help people. My compass was based on values. I reached the conclusion that values represent the DNA of our behavior. If we know our core values, we can place them in the hierarchy and align them with our definition of
success. By doing that, we manage to build our inner personalized compass. My voyage into the world of values started many years ago and was first approached from a purely academic angle. In the late 1980s, I co-founded ISSWOV (The International Society for the Study of Work and Organizational Values). ISSWOV meets every two years and gathers the world’s top researchers on values. At one point, I also served as the president of the association. Talking about serendipity, following the fall of the Berlin Wall, the end of the Cold War and improvements in the East-West
relationships, which enabled the scientists of the former Soviet bloc to travel to the West, I was mandated by ISSWOV to organize the first conference outside the east communist zone. We decided to organize it in Barcelona in 1993, where I accidentally met Adela, whom I fell in love with and have fortunately been together with ever since.
As an effective change agent (or, more precisely, a transformation agent), I always believe in using three essential pillars: A concept, a methodology, and tool(s).So, following years of studying values and publishing numerous articles, I chose to also devote time and energy to developing
methodologies and tools for implementing some of the ideas. The first book on managing by values was published in Spanish by McGraw Hill (1997) and was led by my good friend Salvador Garcia.  At that time, the focus was on organizations. Salvador was also a professor at the University of
Barcelona, Faculty of Psychology who was interested in organizations. In the book, we describe a step-by-step method to undertake a culture reengineering process for the first time. We also started a discussion about an innovative concept called the Triaxial Model of Values.
Yet, an empirically validated refined concept, methodology and tools were still missing. Only after I moved to Spain (ESADE) in 2001 and started to supervise half a dozen students studying different angles of values was the concept completed, and I was able to develop a unique approach to the
universe of values. This was reflected for the first time in the subtitle of a book I published with Salvador Garcia and Bonnie Richley in 2006 titled “Managing by Values: A Corporate Guide to Living, Being Alive, and Making a Living in the XXI Century”(Palgrave-MacMillan). Thereafter, the field of coaching started to flourish, and I decided to get to know it better and see if my concept of values could apply to individuals who search for a compass in their lives. The results of my research led to the writing of a book addressed to coaches and described the concept, methodology and tools of what I labelled “Coaching by Values.“ The book was published in 2011 and was hailed as one of the best books in the field of coaching. I wish to call attention to its subtitle “How to succeed in the Business of Life and the Life of Business.” The subtitle was proposed by my son, Tommy, who read
the book and found it incredibly interesting. This was the beginning of intense training and coaching certification activities in collaboration with the International Coaching Federation. Coaching by Values was recognized as an established school of thought within the field of coaching. The
gamification-based tools of this methodology were co-developed with my brother Avishai Landau in Israel (who is also here today, and I wish to thank him for coming from Israel to share and celebrate this recognition with me). We used illustrative cards (each representing a value) as the core
methodology. We realized that the tool appealed to both a coach and the coaches as an instrument for developing an inner compass. Today, the tool is available in 20 languages and is used worldwide.  
At a later point, along with my Spanish team, we developed an online tool that complemented the physical tool, and it became instrumental during the COVID-19 period. The success was tremendous, especially following the establishment of a consulting firm named ZINQUO committed to promoting,
training, and certifying coaches based on the concept, methodology and tools we developed. 
Over the years, ZINQUO has refined the methodology and made the training more amusing and entertaining, and this was the secret of its success.  Laura Moncho, the co-founder of ZINQUO, and current president, has been my associate for many years, and she is doing a tremendous job in
helping people find their GPS at work and in life using this concept. Laura is here with us, and I wish to thank her for her trust and support over all these years. The team at ZINQUO involves several people, but I wish to recognize Monica Miguel Garcia (who is also here with us today). Thank you, Monica.  I received daily emails from people whom I had never met, who thanked me for the concept and/or the tools and the great training which helped them change their lives for the better. They found their compass. Similar approaches, content and tools were also developed for leaders in organizations. After all, they are also lost in the organizational chaos and need a good compass to manage their lives and the lives of their organizations.
Being consistent with my attempt to add value to society, COVID-19 taught me a lesson that suggested values are very useful concepts and tools, but mental health is as important (if not more so). I came back to my original interest and concern and decided to develop methodologies and tools
based on the success of the values tools. I realized that we lack valid tools to diagnose chronic stress, and with proper coaching, the situation can be converted to resilience.  So, I wrote numerous books on chronic stress and resilience and a dozen articles to start with. Then I created a task force of
collaborators whom I trusted and who were also familiar with the “Value of Values” tool. Following a few years of development, “THESTRESS MAP”was created. Again, the idea was to convert a complex stress model into something simpler yet effective, using colorful cards and a process based on gamification. ZINQUO and other partners around the world are training and certifying wellness and resilience coaches. Many who attend our training and certification are not only coaches but also medical doctors, psychiatrists, and clinical psychologists.   So far, the results are outstanding, and the feedback is just flattering. These days, I am completing the online APP called “STRESS2RESILIENCE,” which will be added to the toolbox of professionals who wish to help people move from stress to resilience.

Final thoughts about the future

As a final thought about the future, I wish to take risks and engage in answering typical doubts/questions that people have about the future of work. I realize the answers will be short and far from comprehensive, but I hope to introduce some curiosity for those who wish to explore it further.
• Will technology and AI replace me/replace my work?All in all, in my opinion, robots and AI will replace most manual workers. After all, robots can work nonstop, they are not unionized, and productivity will be higher. By contrast, I don’t think Robots and AI will replace intellectual work.
While it is true that artificial intelligence (AI) has made significant advancements in recent years, the notion that it will completely replace intellectual work is a flawed and oversimplified perspective. The complexity and nuance of intellectual tasks, especially those that require critical thinking, creativity, and emotional intelligence, make it unlikely that AI will be able to fully replicate or surpass human capabilities in these areas. However, we will need to learn how to collaborate with AI-based entities in the future.
• Will the way/method ofperforming work change?Yes, it is already happening. Work will not be only a physical place. Some jobs (if not the majority) will use a hybrid form (blending virtual and physical). The fusion of virtual and physical presence in jobs can be seen as a positive development, offering greater flexibility and accessibility for workers. Remote work has become more prevalent in recent years, allowing individuals to work from anywhere in the world and enabling companies to tap into a global talent pool. This shift has the potential to break down geographic barriers, promote diversity, and enhance work-life balance for employees.
• Will my job competenciesbecomeobsolete?Faced with the need to deliver short to medium-term results, companies’ needs will be based on new skills. Job upskilling will become a necessary condition to remain relevant and competitive in people’s careers. The traditional notion of obtaining a degree or certification and coasting on that qualification for the entirety of one’s professional life has become obsolete. In today’s cutthroat job market, where technology is advancing at an unprecedented pace, and global competition is fierce, the ability to adapt and upskill is no longer a luxury but a survival imperative.
• What is the probability that people will retire from the same organization they have been workingfor? Obviously, if you have limited skills and lack mobility then the answer is yes, but only if you add value to the employer. At the same time, the global war for skilled talent will lead to massive opportunities for some workers to move across jobs, industries, and countries. Research predicts that today’s youngest workers will hold twelve to fifteen jobs in their lifetime.
• Will the phenomenon of the rise of work and decline of employment continue? The gig economy has opened opportunities for individuals and companies to access a diverse and global pool of talents to get tasks done on demand, as well as undermining many of the structures that have underpinned employment security. Companies such as Uber have created work opportunities for around 5 million drivers worldwide without signing a single driver employment contract.
• Will work in the future be meaningful to workers?This is a pressing and complex issue that demands critical examination. In an age of rapid technological advancement, automation, and globalization, the nature of work is undergoing profound transformations. Traditional notions of job security, stability, and fulfillment are being upended, leaving many workers grappling with uncertainty and existential questions about the purpose and value of their labor. One of the key challenges facing workers in the future is the threat of job displacement due to automation. The rise of the gig economy and precarious forms of employment has raised doubts about the meaningfulness of work in the future. With the proliferation of temporary, contract, and freelance work, many workers are deprived of the stability, benefits, and sense of belonging that come with traditional full-time employment. This precariousness can lead to feelings of alienation, insecurity, and disconnection from one’s work, undermining its potential for meaning and fulfillment. As we navigate the challenges of automation, precarious employment, and economic exploitation, it is essential that we prioritize the well-being, dignity, and fulfillment of workers in our evolving labor landscape. By advocating for policies that promote job security, fair wages, and meaningful work, we can strive to create a future where work is not just a means of survival but a source of pride, purpose, and fulfillment for all workers. We have a long way to go in creating this culture in organizations.
What will be the basis for paying people in the future?Today, we pay people for their time, their loyalty, their talent, and their productivity and, in general, for their economic value added to the company. Perhaps, in the future, all that will change. Perhaps we will change the existing paradigms based on utility, costs, and economic contribution by other metrics to pay people. With all the terrible challenges that society is facing (including our survival), perhaps we will develop an algorithm that measures the positive value added to societyas the basis for pay.
How will society promote equity of pay in the future?Are we at the dawnof a new economic order? Today, the capitalist society we know adopts a market-driven system in determining who and how much someone will be paid. Some young sports athletes or movie stars have weekly paychecks that exceed a normal worker’s paycheck accumulated over their entire life. This is not normal. The current system creates not only a huge sense of inequity but also provides incentives for corruption and abuse of the system. We know that the alternative system of communism failed. The current economic system, characterized by the stark divide between the haves and the have-nots, stands as a testament to the failure of both capitalism and communism to truly address the issue of equitable resource distribution. The relentless pursuit of profit under capitalism has led to the exploitation of labor and the concentration of wealth in the hands of a few. At the same time, the rigid central planning of communism has stifled individual initiative and innovation. In this bleak landscape, emerges a vision of an economic system that
transcends the limitations of both capitalism and communism, aiming to achieve a more equitable distribution of resources while still fostering creativity and entrepreneurship. This visionary system recognizes the inherent value of every individual and seeks to empower them to contribute to the collective good. At its core, this alternative economic system values community over competition, cooperation over exploitation, and sustainability over short-term profits. It rejects the notion that wealth and success are synonymous, emphasizing the importance of social well-being and environmental stewardship. In this system, resources are allocated based on need rather than profit, ensuring that everyone has access to the necessities of life while still allowing for individual aspirations and ambitions to flourish. Decisions are made democratically, with input from all members of society, to ensure that the interests of the many are prioritized over the interests of the few. While this vision may seem utopian, it is grounded in the reality of our current economic and social challenges. The growing wealth gap, environmental degradation, and social unrest are all symptoms of a system that prioritizes greed and individualism over cooperation and solidarity.


The future of work is a topic often met with skepticism and apprehension, as technological advancements and automation threaten to disrupt traditional employment models. However, it is important to consider the potential positive aspects of these changes and the opportunities they may bring.
One of the key benefits of the changing landscape of work is the potential for increased efficiency and productivity. Automation and artificial intelligence have the potential to streamline processes and eliminate mundane tasks, allowing workers to focus on more complex and creative aspects of their jobs. This could lead to a more fulfilling and engaging work experience for employees, ultimately improving job satisfaction and overall well-being.
The future of work presents opportunities for greater flexibility and work-life balance. Remote work and flexible scheduling options are becoming increasingly common, allowing employees to better manage their personal and professional responsibilities. This flexibility can lead to increased productivity and job satisfaction, and attract a wider range of talent to organizations.
Additionally, the future of work may bring about new and exciting career opportunities that were reviously unimaginable. Emerging industries such as renewable energy, biotechnology, and artificial intelligence are creating new job roles requiring a diverse set of skills. This presents a chance for individuals to pursue careers that align with their interests and passions, leading to a more fulfilling and meaningful work experience.
In sum, while the future of work may bring about significant changes and challenges, it is important to recognize the potential positive aspects these changes may bring. By embracing innovation and daptability, anchoring a value-based compass, and focusing on promoting wellness and resilience, individuals and organizations can navigate the evolving landscape of work and harness the opportunities that lie ahead.
Thank you for listening and thank you again, Huelva University, for the honor of recognizing my work and bestowing on me this Doctorate Honoris Causa. I wish you all the best, health, and wealth blended with a strong dosage of love, passion, and compassion.

Simon L. Dolan
April 30, 2024