a workable future

In the IFTF report Ten Strategies for a Workable Future, the authors highlight issues for the US labour force, which I believe are applicable to many other countries and economies. (full report PDF)

  1. Combine the best of investor-owned and commons-based platform models
  2. Solve for both transparency and privacy
  3. Integrate marginalized workers in a sustainable economy
  4. Ensure opportunities for workers to advance outside of traditional organizational hierarchies
  5. Support worker-owned identities
  6. Create ways for workers to bring their voices together
  7. Reinvent benefits to follow workers everywhere
  8. Integrate learning and work
  9. Prepare youth for “the hustle”
  10. Champion a good work code

I have discussed most of these issues on this blog, such as platform capitalism, integrating work & learning, and the limits of hierarchies. The triple operating system model for network era organizations aligns with these recommendations, particularly the need to operate as temporary, negotiated hierarchies and the requirement for safe places to work on alternatives (communities of practice). This model is based on the core principles of subsidiarity, wirearchy, and network management.


In support of the triple operating operating system, the network learning model describes how knowledge flows between connected individuals in social networks, communities of practice, and work teams. Social networks, based on loose social ties, provide a diversity of opinions and the potential to prompt innovation. In communities of practice, a trusted space is created to test out new ideas, outside the organizational hierarchy. In work teams, complex knowledge sharing requires stronger social ties in order to co-create value in a deadline-driven environment.


I have taken most (7/10) of the issues and recommendations from the IFTF report and superimposed them on the network learning model. It shows that all three work/learning spaces are required to let people learn and work. Balancing transparency and privacy will be key issues to address. With open network organizational structures, the marginalized workers of today may become the co-creators of value tomorrow.

“To design our technologies, our economies, and our policies to meet the needs of a future workforce, we must first jettison our old models of the workforce. We need to recognize that we have the means to organize for more equality and more security and to accomplish more—far more—as a society than simply bringing home a paycheck.” – IFTF

The technology that must be changed is not the software platform, but the organizing models around which we work. First we shape our structures and then our structures shape us.


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