As we progress rapidly with new technologies, people urgently call for new concepts of work. It is a call for a new paradigm of rethinking fundamental human needs regarding work, rethinking what work means for us beyond making a living and rethinking what we value as work in our society. Next to all technological innovations we need to speed up with economic, social, legal and occupational innovations.
My approach to address this complex topic, is in a first step to connect with experts and non-experts with the aim to come up with ideas for such innovations.
Last year (2018) I went on a 5-month world tour to have a series of conversations with entrepreneurs, employees, creatives, students and professors about the future of work. I interviewed around 40 individuals in Germany, USA, Mexico, Argentina, South Korea and Japan.
The reason why I chose a diverse group of people in terms of age, profession and cultural background was to collect as many different views as possible. Like in any innovation process, it was important for me to widen the field before narrowing down to key points, or “acupuncture points”, as one interviewee said.
Every conversation had its own flow, but I was particularly interested in answers on:
- What needs to fundamentally change in our society to create value not only in economic but also human and social terms?
- What is your vision on the future of work?
- Which skills and personality traits make you best prepared for the future?
- What do you wish for the new generation entering the workforce in 20-25 years?
- How, do you think, will the new generation relate to work and define progress for itself?
It was fascinating to see how similarly people responded, in essence, despite all their diversity. I believe that this is because our basic human needs for a contribution in life and participation in society are everywhere the same.
Photo: Asli Toksal
With every conversation bringing new aspects and approaches to light, I am realizing that my actual journey in this area has just begun. The picture above was taken last August at Frankfurt Airport where my world trip had started.