Narratives for the Future of Working
Why we need radically new stories to create the planetary culture we want to live and work in... Presentation inspired by http://futureofworking.org Full Article at http://philiphorvath.com/thoughts-on-narratives-for-the-future-of-working/
Published on: Mar 3, 2016
Transcripts - Narratives for the Future of Working
Thoughts on Narratives
for the Future of WorkWHY WE NEED RADICALLY NEW STORIES TO CREATE THE
PLANETARY CULTURE WE WANT TO LIVE AND WORK IN
philip horváth • catalyst
Stories—and the archetypes
invoked in them—serve as the
foundation for how we operate.
At the beginning of the 21st century we
find ourselves at a new threshold.
Various dynamics are at play that will
drastically alter the way we live and
work in the coming years.
When the first astronauts experienced the pale blue dot that is earth
from space, they had near mystical experiences – it shifted their
Most of the people currently alive were born when there were already
pictures of earth from space. While many still live in flatland ignorance,
the meme is in the noosphere.
A growing number of people alive can no longer think in nations and
separation. They understand that we are all part of a frail ecosystem
roaming through space.
Automation of jobs
and increase in
An estimated 50 percent of
jobs will no longer require a
human within a decade.
development trends, this will
be an even higher
percentage in the quickly
arriving future — including
highly specialized work like
the practice of medicine, law
In the same year Kodak went bankrupt and Instagram
was acquired, they were valued roughly the same.
While Kodak employed 145,000 people, Instagram
had 15 employees.
Kodak fed 145,000 families, Instagram made a couple
of young people incredibly rich (at least ten of them
have a net worth ten times that of George Eastman,
the founder of Kodak).
Just like machines made production manifold times
more productive, software is allowing an exponential
increase in efficiency across the landscape of work.
Mobility and virtual access
We can all participate in global work now. Through the virtual
world we can engage with anyone around the planet.
Loss of Geo-Arbitrage
Many of our current systems
rely on ignorance of each other.
We produce in low income
countries to afford the shiny
products we consume in
“developed” parts of the world.
This is going away quickly as
more and more people get
access to the same information
New means of production and
near zero marginal costs
From 3D printing, which is still in
its infancy, to programmable
matter, which is arriving quickly,
we will soon be able to create
locally any item we require.
There are even the first
Instead of producing globally and
wasting precious resources on
shipping items across the globe,
we will share open source
software and virtual models and
will be able to create most items
locally at a fraction of the
While still in early development, it is not far fetched to assume that
we will have efficient brain interfaces in the near future. This will
allow for the acquisition of hard skills instantaneously. It will shift
focus drastically toward soft skills.
With all the exponential
increases in technology,
we are also seeing a
drastic increase in
Whether that will
indeed lead to the holy
grail of immortality is to
be seen, but in any
case, we will have more
humans being around
for much longer than in
the past — and able to
be productive into ages
well past the current
All these trends are massively
disrupting the current world of working.
We need radical new approaches to creating meaningful
activity for the quickly growing population on this planet.
If we wish to have a future where humanity thrives, we
need to imagine it first.
We need new stories and archetypes to serve as
a foundation for the culture we wish to live in:
Hyper global future
People will be able to
participate in a global
workforce through virtual
communication and new
business models will allow
for compensation in time
We will work and play
collaboratively around the
planet and beyond.
Hyper local future
At the same time, production
will to a large extent become
This will include the just-in-
time production of goods
through technologies like 3D
printing and soon
programmable matter, as well
as the collaborative
production of food in
community gardens and green
cities, as well as energy.
All will address the current
wasteful use of resources in
our distribution system,
corporate agriculture and
While we will continue to have
some form of lasting collective
agencies (primarily to ensure
infrastructures), we will see a lot
more spontaneity around
Clusters of individuals will form
around guiding missions, and
dissolve when those missions are
Longer term collectives will be
learning organizations that adjust
as new information is surfaced.
Planning inside organizations will
continue to change and adjust in
near real-time to ensure focus on
Individuals will continue to move — not just from area to area, but also from
project to project, as well as vertically and laterally within organizations.
We have plenty of
resources on this planet
to provide for the basic
inputs required by each
human, namely food,
clothing and shelter.
As we shift our value
systems, we will come
to realize that most
resource scarcity is
artificial (or based on
skewed values), and can
be overcome by
Input-process-output, metabolism, as criteria for life
Every individual has these
We need to find new ways
to provide basic input
requirements (food, clothing,
shelter), for example through
a basic income, and new
ways to account for personal
input preferences through
extra effort, to honor
We need to also focus on
learning about our unique
ways of processing and
provide opportunities for
each individual to contribute
Integration of male and female archetypes
As Artificial Intelligence takes on an increasing amount of work
that is associated with typically male archetypal traits/ “left brain”
thinking or “hard skills”, female archetypal traits or “soft skills” will
become increasingly important.
As a result, we will come into balance as individuals, honoring
both aspects in each of us, overcoming and integrating the current
With layers of
gamification we will be
able to continue to
blend the lines between
work and play.
While at the moment
most people work in
order to create time,
space and resources to
play, we will find that
the two will continue to
merge into meaningful
Instead of play as
work, our daily
activity will be
more and more
Value-add will be a
just of work, but
Already now we
blending of play
and value-add, e.g.
that are solving
Meaning and Purpose
While seen as a luxury in today’s wage slave
economy and ignored by close to 80% of
leaders in the current corporate culture,
meaning and purpose will become central to
our activities. With that will come clear and
transparent missions of organizations — or
whichever form collective action will take in
Each individual and each collective of
individuals will have narratives about how
their work is contributing to the achievement
of their stated purpose.
Transparency and new metrics will ensure that
this purpose is kept alive and aligned, and will
ensure accountability. Choice of work will be
based on values rather than necessity.
Individuals will chose loyalty to narratives that
align with their personal values. Individuals will
get acknowledgment for their uniqueness.
There is plenty to do
on this planet.
If we remember that we are
stewards of this place, and that
human life is about showing up as a
prototype for being human, we will
find plenty of things to apply
Life is not about working.
Working is meant to be an
expression of individual
contribution to a whole that we are
all part of.
Life is about fully participating and
sharing the talents and gifts each of
us have been given.
While we need those storytellers for the core
narratives, it is the responsibility of each of us to
create new personal narratives.
How would you add value in a future
where you didn’t have to work
This presentation was inspired by the Future Of Working
Summit held in San Francisco March 2015
philip horváth • catalyst
Full Article at http://philiphorvath.com/thoughts-on-narratives-for-the-future-of-working/