What will living and working look like in 2030?

How will we live and work in 2030

We forget that the water cycle and the life cycle are one. -   Jacques Cousteau

We forget that the water cycle and the life cycle are one.
Jacques Cousteau

The Challenge

In the 1950s we were promised that in the future we would all be living lives of leisure, as new technologies started to replace labour intensive activities in the home and in the workplace.  Yet now that we are here in the 21st century, we find ourselves working longer hours, tied to our work emails 24x7 and seemingly with less, not more, free time.

What on earth went wrong? 

Where will be by 2030? Will Robotics and Intelligent Automation finally deliver on those old promises, or will we all have worked ourselves to an early grave?  Will the two worlds of “home” and “work” ultimately become so intertwined that we can’t distinguish between them?


Environmental, economic, political and technological changes will fundamentally change the way that we live and work in 2030.  How then do we prepare ourselves, and our businesses, to cope?

 Will water and energy scarcity mean that we have to change the environments in which we live, or the locations and types of buildings in which we work?

Will we need to travel to work, or will smart technology mean we can work anywhere?  If so, how do we structure our businesses to cope?

Will austerity mean that the days of growth are forever gone, and we are living in a world where living standards are declining and our ability to afford the basics getting less?

Will political change across the world make us more or less secure, both in the physical and the virtual world?

Will shifting demographics mean that there simply aren’t enough young people to provide the services that the older generation need?

-Will the continued development of technology make things better, or make them worse?

The 5 day sprint

In our Sprint, we want think about the challenges of that 2030 world, and specifically how we prepare ourselves for it.  As businesses, how do we plan and prepare for the future?


 Our task will be to understand the kinds of things that will influence the world of the home and of the workplace over the coming two decades, and then to develop some ideas for how we can best prepare. 

 Over the five days our participants will follow the design thinking process to:

1.Frame the problem area and create a shared understanding of the problem and it’s context.

2.Generate a broad range of ideas and solutions to the problem statement(s).

3.Decide what to prototype and how to test it.

4.Prototype the bare minimum to capture feedback on your ideas.

5.Evaluate our solutions by presenting and testing prototypes to key stakeholders


We are likely to focus on Northumbrian Water as a typical workplace, and to develop ideas and plans to help it be ready for the new reality, the tools, processes, technologies and strategies that it will need to have in place to make sure that it continues to deliver outstanding, work-class performance whilst continuing to retain the trust of its customers. Together, we will collaborate to answer the big question:


What will people need to thrive at work in 2030?