Big ideas on Technology

Technology & Making Work better

Elzet Blaauw image

Leader Speak with Elzet Blaauw

Our Head of Partnerships & Marketing, Victoria Perez de Agreda, sat down with Elzet Blaauw, thought leadership consultant and Managing Editor at, to talk about her career journey, the future of work and the role of technology in making work better. We were so inspired by her global forward looking outlook, and the optimism she brings to what lies ahead.

Elzet Blaauw image

Leader Speak with Elzet Blaauw

Our Head of Partnerships & Marketing, Victoria Perez de Agreda, sat down with Elzet Blaauw, thought leadership consultant and Managing Editor at, to talk about her career journey, the future of work and the role of technology in making work better. We were so inspired by her global forward looking outlook, and the optimism she brings to what lies ahead.

Exciting changes are coming, like shifting demographics and new tech, and they will enable new and better ways of working.

I’d love to start broad, tell us a little bit about who you are and how you came to be where you are now.

I'm South African living in Cape Town. I'm also the Managing Editor at, which is a technical content company, and we work asynchronously with a team of 200+ writers from all over the world, with all kinds of personalities. So I'm very much interested in how do we get diverse people to work together. I also have my own consulting practice where I work with people and companies who are making work better, reimagining what work could be like. I help them spread the message of what they do and how they can help make work better for all of us. And then I'm also a mom and a wife, with a two and five year old.

When did you first get interested in making work better?

It started when I was 19. I wasn't even officially working, but I was leading a team of people, and I started thinking: How do we achieve a goal? How do we work together? And so, right from the start of my career that has been something that I care about: how do we get people to come together and do work that's good? Because I think work is kind of part of our DNA. Deep down, we all have it in us, that we want to work, we want to do something that matters. But unfortunately, for the large majority of people, I don't think they really feel as if they do good work. If you look at the statistics of levels of disengagement in the workplace, I think there is a lot to improve on.

But I'm actually an optimist! In the past few decades, we have gotten so much more insight into what motivates people, how our minds work, how our brains work. With the knowledge economy, we're not working with our hands, building things, anymore or doing physical labour; we're thinking. And so what does the work environment need to look like for people to actually transmit their knowledge and do good work? 

Why do we not all want to be sitting in the office from 9 to 5? How do we get people from different cultures, of all different kinds of orientations and backgrounds, to actually work together?  I've seen a few examples of where that happens, and it's so powerful! That is what drives me. It kind of touches on everything: leadership, management, diversity and inclusion. I think there's a movement happening of more and more people who are figuring out little bits of the puzzle and putting it together. I can see in 30 years time, the world of work could be very different, and I want to do my little part and contribute towards putting that puzzle together.

Using AI to solve real problems is exciting.

What is the role of technology and AI now in making work better?

Technology has revolutionized work already. If you think about the internet, in the 90s, internet was the AI of the time and people were excited about sending an "email". And now it's like, when I work, I log on and if I don't have internet, I don't work. The internet has become a critical part of how we work.

So I see technology as a brick. You can use a brick to build a house or you can use a brick to break a window. So how are you going to use it? And I think technology can be very powerful—and it has already been. But we as humans need to think about how we're using this technology and make sure that we stay in control. It's not like technology is coming and controlling us and dictating how we live. We have control: we can get alerts on our phones wherever we go, so you can constantly plug into work and get all those alerts. And at times it's very useful, but at times you also need to switch off and take a vacation. So just because the technology is there doesn't mean you have to use it.

We should take more control of how we use technology and use it to solve problems that we have and enable our work. And this is true for AI, which has been around for a while. But this past year ChatGPT launched and suddenly everyone knows about AI. Now it's like AI this, AI that, but I often feel frustrated because it feels like people are just talking about AI as the new flavor of the month. But, actually, it's a disruptive technology and it can be an enabler, so how are we using it?

And that's what excited me about Meytier from the beginning because it's not just about AI. You're actually solving a problem, opening the door to get more people at the table who wouldn't have had that opportunity so that they can spark new ideas, generate revenue, whatever the case is. And AI is the enabler. It solves the actual problem of opening the door that's keeping these people out. And so it uses AI to open that door. And that I find really exciting. And I’d love seeing more examples of that. How are we using AI to solve the problems that we have, to make new things possible that wouldn't have been otherwise?

With the Coronavirus pandemic, which propelled us into these remote environments, there was a massive change in the reality of work. Looking to the future, what do you think the world of work will look like? What excites you and what scares you?

So I think the scary thing would be that we don't change. If we just keep on doing things the way that we've been doing it, the way that we did it 50 years ago. That will be scary because the world is changing. There is all of this new technology that enables different things. But if you only file your files on your computer instead of a filing cabinet, like that is not all that technology can do. We can actually look at all of that data together and analyze it and do things with those insights we couldn’t before.

What excites me about what I see in the future is, for one thing, there will be shifting demographics.

So there's a super interesting New York Times article where they've visualized how demographics will change between now and 2050 and how different continents and countries will age over time. And we currently see that Europe is aging already, but it's not as much as it will be in 20 or 30 years. At the moment, the developed world, the countries where the good jobs are (where people from developing countries like South Africa want to emmigrate to), those countries will be aging. The US less than Europe, but still. So that means a smaller working population and an older retired population that needs to be supported—and that is going to create some shortages. Then you look at countries like India or Kenya or South Africa, and they're going to have a higher proportion of productive adults than retirees, similar to what countries like the US and South Korea had that propelled them into prosperity.

So if you look at the developed countries where the “good work” is, they suddenly have a smaller workforce. That means that they will become incentivized to look outside of their countries to look for workers. And they will become more incentivized to want to employ working parents who don't want to work a full-time 40-hour week. Suddenly you think, Okay, can I offer them a role in a 30-hour capacity or 20-hour capacity? Suddenly you start thinking, Should we be bringing retirees back in some capacity? You start reevaluating things that you just assumed needed to be a certain way.

So the demographic shift will be a big change, where we already have technology and solutions that enable us to work differently and better, but people are still holding back. My bet is that this demographic shift is going to be a catalyst for change, and I see it as an opportunity to bring good change.

On the Future of Work: A scary future is NOT changing and sticking to old ways.

I have one last question for you: what are your predictions on trends for the world of work in 2024?

In the USA, I see many debates about hybrid workplaces, fully remote and going back to office. I've been working remotely since 2017 so it's such a normal thing for me. I work not only remote, but at an asynchronous company and in my own practice, I work with clients all over the world. So I'm always kind of surprised by the companies who say they want to bring people back to the office, even though I know there is value in any person interactions.

There is going to be a road that diverges, and it's probably going to be according to industry, where some industries will be more conservative and they might value meeting in person and that they will kind of either go hybrid or fully to be back to the office. I'm not sure if people are going to go back though. I know of cases where full departments have resigned when forced to go back to the office and then the companies have made exceptions. It depends on how scarce that talent is in that location. And then there's going to be on the other end, the people who really commit to remote and to hiring the best talent from all across the world.

In terms of diversity and inclusion - it is now a given, it's the reality of our world. We're living in a diverse world. We should have diverse workplaces. I don't know if all companies will suddenly embrace the potential of this reality. But the tide is turning and it is going to continue for the next few decades - towards more diversity, more collaboration and more innovation.

To learn more about Elzet and follow her work, connect with her on LinkedIn.

Meytier interviews leaders of all backgrounds about their journeys, their work, and their outlook for the future. Know someone who we should interview? Reach out to us here.

Read recent leader speak interviews:

How GenAI will change the tech services model, an interview with Saurabh Gupta

Becoming a CTO and paying it forward, an interview with Kathy Carter, CTO

The future of cybersecurity and advice for aspiring security professionals, an interview with Terry Stevenson

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