For the last couple of years I’ve participated in the annual Future Of Work 24 conference, a 24-hour, round-the-globe series of Zoom meetings. (I know, 24 hours on Zoom?! Almost nobody actually participates in all 24 hours, but a few stalwart souls do, and each year I’ve been so engaged in conversation that I typically stay up WAY past my bedtime to interact with people in far-away time zones and wake up after only a few hours’ sleep to interact even more.)
The organization’s vision is to cultivate workplace experiments and new work patterns that positively impact people and society.
FOW24 is designed using Open Space Technology/Unconference format, all nested in QiQoChat, which is a phenomenal space for such events. For those who don’t know OST, there are five core principles and one overarching law:
Whoever comes are the right people.
Wherever it happens is the right place.
Whatever happens is the only thing that could have.
Whenever it starts is the right time.
Whenever it’s over, it’s over.
And the Law of Mobility, which means that if you find yourself where you can’t learn or contribute, move yourself to a place where you can.
I’m no expert in Open Space Technology, but I am a fast convert to its value in democratizing conferences. I had SO MANY great conversations in this space and very few times felt I needed to use the Law of Mobility to get to a better space.
In my first experience with FoW24, I was a mere participant, but this year, I volunteered as part of the Sensemaking Committee. The above image was generated by my Sensemaking colleagues: Ashanti Gardner, Neha Govil, Mary Jo Neil, and Brandon Black, all great visual artists while I was in the background moving words around to help make sense in that way.
As one can imagine, there’s a whole lotta SENSE that’s created in 24 hours, each of which contains multiple simultaneous discussions! After several weeks of analyzing the artifacts on multiple QiQoChat boards, the themes pictured above stood out:
Small (vs the press for bigger, always),
considerations around Power, and
awareness of life on Earth.
Just as there are many layers and lots of imagination in this image, the conversations in the event were rather mind-blowing.
And given the other things you’ve read here on my site, you can imagine how I may have instigated some (but not all!) of the conversations around Belonging and how that affects workplaces now and might (I hope) become a major contributor to shifting The Future of Work.
I hope you’ll follow the first link above and join us next year. Who best to contemplate the Future of Work but those of us who’ll be working in it?