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.
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.
Responsible for driving Dell’s global brand and purpose, Liz Matthews kicks off the Future of Work dialog at Forum last month.
The Shift Forum is driven by “Pillars,” core themes that we explore over three days of conversation, debate, and provocative presentations. Our partner in our Pillar on “the Future of Work” is Dell Technologies, who presented the findings not only of its own research in the space, but also of five table moderators who reported out their conversations about the topic during lunch at the event. In this video and transcript below, meet Liz Matthews, who runs Dell’s brand globally, and the five moderators, who are all extraordinary in their own right.
Liz Matthews: I am Liz Matthews. I run Brand and Advertising for Dell Technologies. We are thrilled to be here with all of you. We’re actually very, very excited to support the Future of Work conversation here at the Shift Forum.
Launching at Shift Forum, JFF Labs partners with innovators to scale economic advancement solutions for the 99 percent
As many of you know, this year’s Shift Forum is the second annual gathering of leaders convening to address big issues we won’t have a second chance to solve. If last year’s event symbolized a collective recognition of the problems we face, this year marks a shared commitment to move the needle in addressing them. Key pillars include business transformation, politics and policy, and the future of work. All of us are concerned with how we will pull off the moonshot of our time — establishing social contracts for the 99 percent. Specifically, how will we sustain families and opportunity for dignified work in the face of automation and rapid change?
To that end, I’m heartened to spotlight a unique effort — the launch of JFFLabs — and I am equally thrilled to say it was created as a result of last year’s Shift Forum.
I caught up recently with Maria Flynn, CEO of JFF, a leading national nonprofit that drives transformational change in the American labor and training markets. Maria was a powerful star at the Department of Labor before spending 10 years leading JFF’s Workforce team. Last year she became CEO at JFF and is casting a vision for a future in which economic mobility, dignified work, and automation are equal partners in the American dream.
Earning a living at America’s most famous men’s media company
Our latest Medium Premium series includes a compilation of life and work lessons learned by Hugh Garvey while he worked at America’s most famous men’s media company. Harvey’s experience as the top editor at Playboy wasn’t just a job as one would imagine it, unless your work requires you to attend sex parties, write sex columns or enjoy a drink at work.
Harvey’s life lessons, although out of the ordinary, can help understand the importance of mentally showing up, being pushed beyond your comfort zone, improvising within the challenges, and being able to comeback intact the next day. These experiences apply to pretty much every job out there, whether that is thinking on your feet, your relationship with your boss, or how to deal with the unexpected. This series is not just fun read, but an essay about life and work.
About 6 months after I was promoted to Director of Marketing at FarmLogs, my team was going through some serious growing pains. We were coming off the completion of two huge marketing efforts — the launch our new website and our second annual User Conference. And, I was spending every free moment available analyzing the previous year and working with our Sales Team to create our goals 2017. Everyone was burnt out and stressed out, and on top of that, we terminated a position on my team. This was the first real personnel shake-up for Marketing and the effect was palpable, bringing team morale to an all-time low. We needed a reset, and I knew that in order to be successful we needed to be a well-oiled machine. So, I cleared our plates and re-prioritized our workload so we could focus on one thing — team-building.
Role Clarity and Expectations
My team was craving transparency and clear expectations, so I wanted to start our team-building week with an all-day role clarity and expectations meeting. We needed to address individual tasks, establish a hierarchy, and define the rules of how we work together. It honestly would have been easier for me to write job expectations, create an organization chart, and outline expectations, but I wanted their buy-in.
So it was Tech Week for the Trump administration this week! What ended up happening?
(1) We got to see lots of photos of tech executives looking unhappy or perplexed or biting their tongues as they sat next to the president on Monday. Tony Romm in Recode has a good roundup of the discussions about modernizing government tech, federal procurement, and healthcare.
The term “emotional labor” was invented by sociologist Arlie Hochschild to describe the ways workers, particularly women, are expected to put on a happy face in the workplace and for customers. In the future, though, expect to see the phrase “emotional labor” repurposed to describe all the socially skilled, interpersonally intensive jobs that will thrive in an AI-driven world, where anything that can be automated will be (Livia Gershon in Aeon).
Today’s job market is already seeing “growing real-world demand for workers with empathy and a talent for making other people feel at ease.” Salaries haven’t caught up yet — we still underpay people whose jobs involve caring for others — but they will. Meanwhile, we need to rethink how we measure productivity, because right now it fails to account for any kind of “emotional labor.”
Automattic, the company that has built WordPress into the Web’s most popular publishing tool, is shutting down its office. The company itself, which is known for its far-flung, remote-work culture, is doing just fine. It’s only the physical office that Automattic has decided to ditch (Oliver Staley in Quartz).
As founder Matt Mullenweg explains it, the company leased the converted warehouse on San Francisco’s Hawthorne Street six or seven years ago as a hub for Bay Area-based workers to use as they wished. Not enough did. Automattic’s 550 employees are scattered around the globe and free to work where they choose. (The company’s novel practices are documented in Scott Berkun’s book The Year Without Pants.) The S.F. office looked lovely, but freedom is even more attractive.