I rode home from San Francisco last week beside a guy who had been at a web developer conference. He told me that one thing that has changed since he started in the field nearly twenty years ago is the approach to projects.
Twenty years ago, he would get hired to execute on a defined project. "We need you to do ..."
Now, increasingly, they ask him, "What project would you like to work on?" He gets to define the project he'll work on.
In the Fourth Economy, I argue that employees will gain more autonomy within the corporation, a dispersal of power patterned after the change made within the Western church between 1300 and 1700 and the nation-state between 1700 to 1900. This "What project would you like to work on?" is just another step in that direction. And because it's a "revolution" that will play out over decades and involve no bloodshed, it might escape notice. But it's changes like this that will change the experience of work, something that does so much to define our quality of life, our options and even who we are.