In Chapel Hill, new normal means more emphasis on virtual world, coworking

June 8, 2020
By Jason Parker, WRAL TechWire

UNC-Chapel Hill, N.C. State, Duke University, Shaw University and other institutions have adapted to the needs of students and their startups as the economic and health impact of COVID-19 shut down on-campus classes and led to an increased need to help entrepreneurs adapt to a “new normal” both academically and economically. At UNC, virtual and coworking have taken on new prominence.

“The future of work will be driven by a movement toward convergence,” said Michelle Bolas, associate vice chancellor for innovation strategy and programs at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  “People with diverse skill sets and areas of expertise will need to converge to work together on cross-disciplinary teams to solve complex problems.”

The problems we face, both now with a global pandemic, and in the future, said Bolas, “are far too complicated to be solved by a single perspective or approach.”

The future of work thus relies on a network of people, working in concert, whether virtually or in physical locations, to find solutions, said Bolas.  Success will hinge on coworking facilities and virtual service hubs where all types of innovators will join together to solve problems, said Bolas.  “We will be doing a lot of experimentation over the next year to 18 months, and living out what we teach our future entrepreneurial leaders.”