Four remarkable and unique voices on the future we all share.
If you’ve never heard of Ignite talks, you’re in for a treat, as they’ve spread to hundreds of cities around the world and range across a heady set of topics. They’ve been called “TED talks on speed,” and feature a unique creative box: each presenter gets 20 slides, which automatically advance every 15 seconds. The result is a fast and impactful experience. At this years Shift Forum, as we did the year before, we partnered with the founder of Ignite, Brady Forrest, who curated four of the best Ignite talks around the theme of “the future of work.” We’ve now published each one, and curated them here as well. Each is worth your time and attention. Special thanks to Ignite founder Brady Forrest for curating these extraordinary talks.
Instead of attempting an introduction, we’re just going to ask you to watch this five minute video. Brandon Santiago’s presentation earned the first standing ovation ever at the annual Shift Forum. (The full overview of Shift Forum’s Ignite series is here).
Brandon Santiago: When I say love, you say love. Love.
The impact of digital and social technologies on business, media, culture and society.
Jen McClure is founder of Consultants Collective and a speaker, board member, and program manager at the Conference Board. In this Ignite session at Shift Forum, McClure urges employers to rethink how they manage their most precious asset — their employees. (The full overview of Shift Forum’s Ignite series is here).
Jen McClure: Hi, I’m Jen McClure. I’m going to be talking about the complex relationship between digital and social technologies and humans at work. This is actually a topic I’ve been thinking about for 14 years when I helped to organize the first Congress on the Future of Work back in 2004.
Blacks and Latinos will soon be 40% of the US population. Why are they only 5% of the tech workforce?
Karla Monterroso, CEO of CODE2040, is committed to closing the opportunity gap for Blacks and Latinos in the United States. Monterroso spoke at the annual Shift Forum earlier this year, in the Shift Ignite series (full overview is here).
Karla Monterroso: Hello. I was visiting my family in Guatemala this last year. My uncle was able to recall the most salacious details of our very embarrassing American election. I said to him, “Tío, how do you know all of this stuff?” He says to me, “Mija, what happens to you all over there impacts what happens to us over here.”
The gap between skills and opportunity is widening beyond resolution. Susan Mernit at Hack The Hood has a new plan to fix that.
Susan Mernit is co-founder and CEO of Hack the Hood, a Bay-area non-profit organization that works to address the needs of low-income young people of color disconnected from the economic mainstream of tech-informed jobs in the Bay Area and across the region. Mernit spoke at the annual Shift Forum earlier this year, in the Shift Ignite series (full overview is here).
Susan Mernit: Hey, everybody. It’s a pleasure to be here. I’m Susan Mernit. I’m the co-founder and CEO of an organization called Hack the Hood. We work with low-income 18 to 25 year olds of color in the Bay Area. We introduce young people to careers in tech, the skills they need, and how to get on a pathway for that training.
Bill Anderson, CEO of Genetech, on the role of the corporation in the competitive, cutthroat business of drug discovery
While much of this year’s Shift Forum focused on the ever-expanding intersection of technology and politics, investigating the shifting role of business in society also requires we talk about established businesses, in particular those who might teach us lessons we can apply to today’s most pressing issues. In the interview below, the New York Times’ Corner Office columnist David Gelles speaks with Bill Anderson, CEO of life sciences giant Genentech.
John Battelle: We’re here. We’re in San Francisco. We’re in the Valley. We’re in the center of technology. Yes, we’ve heard from a lot of people in tech.
One year after the Shift Forum convened one of the very first conversations around the role of Russia in disrupting the US electoral process in 2016, moderator John Heilemann once again convenes a panel of experts to plumb what we know about the story. What was revealed is both fascinating and deeply disturbing.
John Heilemann: All right, guys. We have the third in our series of political policy-related panels this morning. This is the one that I have been most looking forward to, because I think it gets to one of the issues that everybody in this room has been thinking about. Everyone in the country’s been thinking about, and the one that no one in the country was thinking about.
Startups with big missions are all the rage, but here’s what it takes to build mission into a 140-year old financial giant.
Lata N. Reddy is Senior Vice President of Diversity, Inclusion & Impact at Prudential Financial, and Chair and President of The Prudential Foundation. In this concise Shift Forum talk, Reddy outlines how a 140+ year old company has hewed to its original mission by incorporating “corporate social responsibility” directly into its business practices.
Lata Reddy: It’s great to be here. I’m going to talk about how it is that a legacy company makes the shift to this new vision of capitalism that we’ve been talking about. For us at Prudential, the new vision is really rooted in the past and in the belief that everybody should have the opportunity to be financially secure.
A spirited conversation on the future of work debates the best policies for a world in significant transition.
There are many “future of work” panels, but none that have featured wealthy capitalist turned activist Nick Hanauer, author, entrepreneur and tech leader Tim O’Reilly, and policy expert and economics professor Laura Tyson. Moderated by Alexandra Suich Bass, U.S. technology editor, The Economist, this panel debates everything from universal basic income to the role of unions in modern corporations. Not to be missed. Full video and edited transcript below.
Alexandra Suich Bass: I would like to start our panel on the Future of Work in an unconventional place. Talking about the future of work can sometimes feel like watching the most depressing movie imaginable in slow motion. I’d like to ask you guys to give me some positive news. What’s something that we can be excited about as it relates to work in the future? Nick, I’ll start with you.
Jana Eggers on why AI shouldn’t be feared, and must be understood.
Jana Eggers, CEO of AI startup Nara Logics, wants everyone to understand AI. In her five minute Signal P&G talk at Shift Forum, she explains that in the end, it’s just math and a lot of data — and that data increasingly will be coming from businesses of all stripes, not just the big tech platforms.
Jana Eggers: Wow! What a day it has been. I’m nervous to stand up here in front of you all because of all the greatness that has been shared on the stage. Thank you for taking a few minutes with me.