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In February we hosted ReframeWork – a national gathering of innovators and thought leaders focused on exploring how Canada can lead in forming new systems for ‘good work’.

Hosted with our partners at RADIUS and the Banff Centre, ReframeWork brought together 51 leaders over two days in Vancouver to share their expertise on Future of Work challenges and frame opportunities for innovation. Participants included government officials, technologists, community leaders, educators, researchers, industry leaders and entrepreneurs.

This event will inform future innovation initiatives to design, test and grow models to generate better outcomes for working people, and to bridge these insights to influence broader political and institutional innovation in Canada. ReframeWork builds on the success of our 2016 Alt/Now program on Economic Inequality.

Download the starting themes here

Read the event report here

Three themes stood out from the conversation overall:

  • There is both appetite for big universal ideas, and need for mass self-organistion at a local level. Universal platforms can be the basis for diversity: ideas like a public data trust; a national toolkit for all workers that cuts across employment status; citizen wealth funds and learning accounts could underpin diverse forms of localised activity to organise, upskill, and enable mutual support.
  • Mass democratisation of the power to shape this future of work is needed. That means investing in innovative new ways to ensure that voices from diverse communities define what ‘good work’ is and could be; that access to the tools that are shaping work are in the hands of small businesses as well as large, that technology decentralizes knowledge and generates greater active participation. We need innovations that put as many hands on the levers as possible so that people themselves determine what work is desirable, and inequalities in the present of work are not reproduced in its future.
  • Human potential can be furthered through the future of work – but we need a shared story that helps people and organisations see themselves in it in new ways. The group saw many opportunities for the future of work to be better than the present: to set new goals for technology to increase autonomy, meaning, and relationships in human work; to enable people across all strata of society to learn and grow their capabilities; to release energy for the contributions people themselves want to make and measure them differently. We need shared stories of how organisations can become more valuable by enhancing rather than replacing human work. A new narrative could help society embrace the ways human potential could be met through the future of work.

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