The Future of (Nonprofit) Work

(Photo: U-M Library Digital Collections. Political Posters, Labadie Collection, University of Michigan. Accessed: July 09, 2015.)
I'm thinking a lot about what it will mean to work (at nonprofits, for social good, in social movements, for the benefit of others) as I set my mind to Blueprint 2016.

I'm also preparing for a very cool Stanford PACS Digital Civil Society Lab charrette on Greater Employee Engagement, looking at corporations as possible test beds for more informed giving, data-driven philanthropy, data philanthropy, etc. We're working with several major corporations and some foundations to pull this together. If you have thoughts or resources to share, let me know. And keep an eye out for a follow up on that via @Stanfordpacs.

Here's a random collection of what's been making me think:

All the stuff on robots:
This series in the Atlantic drawing from Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee's Race against the Machine. And this on A world Without Work.

Mitchell Kutney's piece on charity industry  + robots

Robots and wages

"Weird" working that's already happening
Volunteers at For-profits firms
Everything written about what to call the people who drive the ubers, rent out the Airbnbs, and rabbit the tasks. Especially this from James Surowiecki.

Things I've learned from the Talent Philanthropy Project, reflections on leadership of #blacklivesmatter and other social movements.

Other stuff
Constant Tinder-esque monitoring of worker happiness

Tech trend guru and conference sponsor Tim O'Reilly's new series on the WTF economy

@zeynep's terrific piece on the software (that sucks) that connects everything, and a twitter response that asked "so why do the folks who write the software make so much money?"

I've got a whole Evernote notebook/Zotero library full of other stuff related to work, work and life, work and tech, work and philanthropy....So now it's time to do the hard part, the thinking.

What is the future of doing work that helps other people? Nonprofit work? (What should we even call it?)

What do you think? What else do I need to read?

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Lucy - really interesting question(s). FWIW Kevin Drum went at the "robots are eating our jobs" thing a couple of years ago:

Maybe the right way to approach this question of the future of (nonprofit) work is the same as one would approach any workplace-related question: to view work as a contested terrain filled with contingent outcomes. The best, most current example being the dispute over the status of Uber drivers - are they independent contractors or employees (the same issue is playing out today in court decisions affecting FedEx truck drivers). It's not just about wages, hours and working conditions, but an underlying concept of how work, life, society get organized.

Will be interested ot see what comes of your thinking!