• The changing paradigm – the world of the future

    Why should you take part in SIA workshops? Yet another opportunity for free knowledge, great insights and networking… But why should you do it now – you don’t have an exact business idea, maybe exams are coming up and what about your part-time job? Very simple, because the time is now – our world is CHANGING at an unprecedented pace!

    Existing order starts to crack under demands of young people like you for purpose, cooperation and social justice. People around the world are disillusioned from the conventional lifestyles and seeking alternative ways for discovering the existential purpose of what surrounds us – from the way economy serves us to the principles on which our cities are built. The last thirty years have been about the creation of the technical infrastructure that provides an interconnected world, which is now in place. Technology progress and innovation are breaking existing patterns, serving a world driven by communication and exchange of information. Let’s take a look at some of the developments that are gaining momentum globally and actively re-shaping the way we live:

    Collective Work – The future of work is without a doubt what of main mysteries in front of us. Everybody nowadays is talking about the ethics behind AI and its potential effects on the job markets. To what extent, however, will AI flourishing affect traditional professions and which sectors are going to be the most vulnerable is yet still hard to assess. Nevertheless, one thing is for sure – the landscape of work will be one of the fastest changing aspects of our life and we have to remain flexible and resilient. High specialization and individualism free space for diversification in skills and utilization of collectivity. The first results we are observing are a general flattening of organizational structures and strong focus on developing and implementing teamwork. Individuals become more and more disconnected from structures to become more connected between each other. Until 2020 50% of the US workforce will switch to freelancing and European trends although at a slower pace demonstrate similar development. Newspapers and magazines like Forbes, the Guardian, Medium are already changing their business model to so called “contributions” to cut on costs (rent, maintenance, etc.) and adapt to behavioral changes (travelling, freelancing, “working on three projects simultaneously” schedules). So it is just a matter of (short) time until a large part of industries switch entirely or at least integrate a “collective effort model” in their structures.

    The landscape of work will be one of the fastest changing aspects of our life and we have to remain flexible and resilient.

    Education for You – The nature of education is also changing and reforms are needed more than ever. The rigid post-industrialist world of public education proves to be inappropriate to attract the attention of the digital young population and to prepare them for the jobs of the future. The World Economic Forum suggests that around 65%of the children entering primary school today will have jobs that have still not been invented and which their education will fail to prepare them for. What does this mean? First, it emphasizes the immense need to look beyond the typical production lines and strategically utilize the “Internet of Things” to prepare the coming workforce for the challenges ahead. It also points out the greater need of motivating life-long learning related to the rapidly changing work nature and substitution of the old-fashioned model of “one job until the rest of your life”. Education is no longer limited to knowledge but extended to skills acquisition (project-based learning) and innovative teaching models as adopted by Alternative University in Romania, Schule im Aufbruch (Austria) or La Scuola Open Source (Italy). What these have in common is the focus on freedom of choice and co-design learning experience to address students’ curiosity and individual needs. The predominantly 2D nature of education is addressed by the increasing penetration of massive online courses (MOOC) – a potentially disruptive innovation, making learning more accessible to all people. Moreover, higher education institutions are embracing data mining in order to gain better understanding of student performance and deliver “Education for you” that is tailored to meet the demand of the job markets while considering the students’ needs.

    Sharing Economy – The fact why business models like Airbnb, Skillshare or Blablacar are so successful lays mainly in the fact that such platforms make use of the high level of redundancy in modern society – unutilized personal assets are all around us. Although sharing is not a new concept in the context of common goods and state formation, we now live in a time where we have a whole new phenomenon – peer-to-peer sharing on a large scale. Thanks to “wirearchy” we can easily match aggregated supply and demand in the most efficient way that does not leave room for wasted excess. In the age of fast consumerism we are paradoxically (or maybe exactly therefore) surrounded by platforms for shared food, shared knowledge, and even shared passions. As an interesting response to the “new” value system of sharing emerges also the concept of platform co-ops, currently gaining supporters in North America and Western Europe. The platform co-op eco system is comprised of online platforms that support production and sociality, digital labour brokerages, web-based marketplaces that are collectively owned and democratically governed. Collaborative communities such as OuiShare also showcase best practices of the power of “collective intelligence“ and the horizontal participatory power of the individual. Such platforms allow easy and efficient online and offline (in FabLabs, coworking spaces) interaction to integrate ideas like access over ownership, open knowledge, DIY and holocracy in governance.

    Participatory Cities & Active Citizenship – Our cities are changing as well – there are smart cities, social cities, circular cities. Circular economy models for example, brought the revolutionary idea to look at the waste as a resource. Reusing or regenerating raw materials serves not only the benefit of nature but creates added value for the whole value chain – from creating jobs for the trash collectors in emerging markets to saving money to businesses that are incentivized to re-think their business models. Amsterdam is one of the first cities to initiate this transition by supporting local social entrepreneurs to engage in the topic and establish an innovative hub for an energy transition and a circular and bio-based economy experiments in an abandoned harbour area. Another urban concept called FabCity is a similar initiative to create locally productive and globally connected cities that are self-sufficient (minimum inputs and outputs/ waste based on circularity of resources). The model relies to a large extent also on the idea of citizen empowerment and collective effort through shared decision-making processes. Ultimately, civic-public collaborations like the Bologna regulation are changing the face of urban challenges and are the first big step towards “cities of commons” – cities where all stakeholders from activists to policymakers and from citizens to businesses work together for a better future.

    All of these initiatives are already gaining on support and magnitude and are largely driven by groups of social entrepreneurs (!) And all of these were first ideas that were further developed by committed individuals. Take part in various SIA workshops around the world over the course of next two months and work on your idea to drive the change…

    Because if not now, when and if not you, who?

    Get informed about near Social Impact Award Workshops on our Website or on Facebook


    Author: Emiliya Angelova

    Proof-Reader: Hermes Arriaga

    Global-Editor: Tizian Müllritter

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