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Reinventing Jobs: A 4-Step Approach for Applying Automation to Work

October 16, 2018


Ravin Jesuthasan and John Boudreau tackle the topic of applying automation and AI in our organizations, and assert that the very nature of those organizations will require rethinking.

“Simply asking which humans will be replaced by automation fails to take into account how work and automation will evolve."

"You can’t solve the ‘how to automate work’ problem by thinking only about automation replacing jobs,” declares Ravin Jesuthasan, Managing Director at Willis Towers Watson, and John Boudreau, professor and Research Director at the University of Southern California's Marshall School of Business and Center for Effective Organizations, in their book Reinventing Jobs: A 4-Step Approach for Applying Automation to Work.

Based on their decades of experience helping companies transform approaches to work and leadership, Reinventing Jobs offers a new set of tools for applying automation and artificial intelligence in today’s organizations. Jesuthasan and Boudreau reveal a practical four-step framework—deconstruct, optimize, automate, and reconfigure—through which an organization can collaborate to proactively and continuously "reconstruct" jobs and create optimal human-machine combinations.

Jesuthasan and Boudreau show leaders how to continuously re-examine what a job really is and provide the tools for identifying the pivotal performance value of tasks within jobs and how these tasks should be reconstructed into new more optimal combinationsWith numerous examples and practical advice for applying the four-step process, Reinventing Jobs gives leaders a more precise, planful and actionable way to decide how, when, and where to apply and optimize work automation.

In Reinventing Jobs, Jesuthasan and Boudreau assert that the very nature of an organization will require rethinking, which means fundamental changes in the definition and execution of leadership. They also propose that everyone approach their own careers as a constant process of deconstruction and reinvention as advances in automation continue to challenge the very essence of “human work.”



Ravin Jesuthasan is Managing Director at Willis Towers Watson and a recognized global thought leader on the future of work, human capital, and the automation of work. He is a regular participant and presenter at the World Economic Forum's annual meeting in Davos and a member of the forum's Steering Committee on Work and Employment. He has featured in leading business media including CNN, CNBC, the Financial Times, the Nikkei (Japan), Les Echos (France), Valor Economico (Brazil), and the South China Morning Post. Recognized as one of the top 25 most influential consultants in the world, he is also the author of Transformative HR: How Great Companies Use Evidence-Based Change for Sustainable Advantage and Lead the Work: Navigating a World Beyond Employment and has written more than fifty articles, including seven for Harvard Business Review.

John Boudreau is a professor and Research Director at the University of Southern California's Marshall School of Business and Center for Effective Organizations. For more than thirty years he has been recognized globally for breakthrough research on the bridge between superior human capital, talent, and sustainable success. He studies, consults, and develops executives in companies worldwide that seek to maximize work effectiveness by discovering the specific strategic bottom-line impact of superior people and human capital strategies. He has more than 200 publications, has won scholarly and professional achievement awards and is a fellow of leading research and professional associations. His work is frequently featured in Harvard Business Review, The Wall Street Journal, Fortune, Fast Company, BusinessWeek, Talent Management,, and NPR, among others.

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