WARNING: This post is long and a bit idealistic. If you are impatient or excessively cynical, this may not be the post for you.
Over the past few years, I have been studying professionals, institutions, and communities as they deal with the emerging realities of significant changes to the nature of work. The world has not seen such significant changes to the structure and nature of work since the mass migration from the fields to the factories which occurred over 100 years ago.
Transitions of this magnitude can be disruptive. In the current transition, these disruptions manifest in underemployment and economic depression leading to a multitude of individual, social, and civic challenges. But the purpose of this post is not to bemoan the state of the world of work, nor to offer some Pollyannish platitudes about simple solutions to a complex and enduring challenge.
This post is an honest attempt to begin an approach to addressing the transitions to the realities of the emerging economy. In short, we need to change the way the world works, and I have developed one framework for making that change a bit less traumatic.
In my travels and conversations, I have seen the impact of the changing nature of work on professionals, institutions, and communities. I have seen un- and underemployment and the erosion of civic pride. I have also seen a number of valiant efforts to address specific elements of these emerging challenges. The rise of the coworking and maker space communities is truly remarkable. The tech community has come together to create an atmosphere of entrepreneurialism and new ventures that just keeps getting more impressive.
Technology and the high-stakes investment that goes with it are important components in the new world of work. So is placemaking and quality of place. Regional economies are important, civic identity is important. These come about when we create great places to work in towns, cities, and neighborhoods that are great places to live. The “framework” is designed to promote an inclusive approach to entrepreneurialism in which billion-dollar tech unicorns and bootstrapped local restaurants and electrical contractors can not only co-incubate, but can support each other as they start, sustain, and scale their businesses.
My goal is to provide the framework that connects these point solutions to make our communities vibrant and exciting again. So, I’m seeking to form a team of people who want to change the way the world works. People who see the possibilities that lie before us and want to be a part of turning the untapped potential that lives in small towns and big cities into the next generation of satisfying, meaningful work.
In short, I’m trying to “put the band together”. In my mind, the players look something like this:
- Someone who LOVES to write: everything from 120 character social media messages to long-form journalism and books. I’m looking for someone who wants to turn the ramblings of my research and thoughts into coherent and compelling prose – as well as make their own contributions to the emerging framework.
- Product managers – someone who can turn ideas into products and services. This is a special and rare talent that makes good ideas understandable and consumable by those who need them. As the noise increases in the marketplace, good product management is an increasingly important skill.
- Media experts – The world has become an increasingly noisy place – breaking through that noise with a clear and consistent signal is a special talent. I believe the most successful person in this role will be someone who understands the spectrum of media and uses multiple channels to send and reinforce a clear message.
- Media producers – There is more to storytelling than the written word. We’re attempting to launch a movement here – engagement is critical and GREAT media production (across all media) is the key.
- Learning specialists. The framework needs to be translated into training and support materials. Adult learning is challenging as people have an increasing array of elements competing for their time and attention.
- Business developers – Making all of this work depends on creating productive relationships with clients, sponsors, grant makers, and other economic entities.
Pros: This is an opportunity to have a major impact on the future of work, to be part of the solution to an increasing set of challenges, and to enter into a collaborative relationship with others committed to changing the way the world works – for the better.
If you want to develop and/or showcase your skills while changing the world for the better, this might be the opportunity for you. If you’re a college student or recent graduate looking to have an impact and showcase your capabilities, this could be the opportunity you’ve been looking for. If you’re retired, under-employed, or “between jobs” and you want to be an architect of the future, not a victim of the past, this is an opportunity worth considering.
Challenges: This effort is completely bootstrapped and unfunded. It will only be sustainable if we work together to make it so.
If you have made it this far, you have probably figured out this post is the product of wide-eyed optimism. But isn’t that what social media is for?
I truly believe this work is important and satisfying. The list above is just a starter list. There are many other roles like community organizers, lawyers, accounts and other professionals … If you want to be part of it – if you have the skills or the willingness to acquire them – contact me.