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On March 3rd, our own Jim Kalbach was joined by Parker Lee, managing partner at Territory, and Jim Van Over from the Chief Innovation Office at ServiceNow to discuss the #WorkForward movement they've started - and how you can be a part of it.
Work Forward is seeing work as a shared, common, yet very complex subject. And improving the business of work requires acknowledging that there is a unique context to work, at a personal, team, and enterprise level. Work Forward strives to share, explore, and experiment to help identify tools and practices that actually make work better.
Today every company and consultancy has a point of view for how to make work better or address the “future of work.” And not surprisingly, they usually suggest their singular solution or perspective as the path to success.
Work Forward recognizes the dynamic relationship between work Activities and the Who, What, When, Why, Where, and How elements of work. Applying this holistic perspective, Work Forward shares, explores, and experiments to help identify tools and practices that actually evolve and make work better. Our assumption is that providing a broader Work Forward ecosystem view will offer workers and companies the ability to see themselves in the picture and use it as a path for considering their Work Forward strategy. I want to take you through happened at the Work Forward, but first, I’d like to share what we believe are the core values we all share when working forward.
Work is socialNo one works entirely alone. We make contributions through collaboration and communication. Work is personal We find meaning in work, whether in the basic need for survival or in the pursuit of an individual passion or greater purpose. To succeed in attaining personal meaning at work requires accountability and commitment. Work is humanWork is a fundamental part of the human experience, focused on satisfying human needs. We apply empathy equally to our efforts and the product. OK - let’s move on to the Work Forward Summit.
The Work Forward Summit was held in New York City on October 8, 2019.
Our thought leader participants are shown here and were from PayPal, WeWork, Think It Done, EY, Bridgewater Associates, 1776, Trello, ServiceNow, MURAL, and Territory
You can see the Summit's visual agenda here. Summit Participants engaged in a collaborative set of group activities to identify and describe a Work Forward world. The topics we explored were: Why we work? - Ultimately, the measurement of better work is improving each of our metric for why we work How we work? - We needed to describe the common set of activities that we all undertake when working What are ways we can “work forward” which enable acceleration of the outcomes for “Why we work” What are our principles of Work Forward? - We envisioned our principles of what working forward What might a draft Work Forward manifesto look like? - We felt it was important to clearly lay out what we believe. How to we advance Work Forward? - We kicked around some ideas about what Work Forward could be and how we might promote it Now, let me give you a little glimpse of the Work Forward Summit
We created dozens of reasons why we work - it was fascinating to see the diversity of answers, from very personal to altruistic.
From that pool of ideas, we built the set of meta-categories of “Why We Work. ” Again, this was to form the basis of the elements of work we want to see made better through a Work Forward approach.
We then turned to the many activities we all share in how we work?
This obviously led to another large kaleidoscope of things we do; we then aggregated them into categories and tried to make sense of what we saw.
The result was still a large list of categories, which you see on the left. These categories were then synthesized into the broad categories at right. These were later consolidated even further.
Now, with the Why We Work aspects identified, and the types of work activities selected, the participants formed teams and selected two work type categories prioritized, and then created “How might we Work Forward?” activity scenarios.
We looked to gain a better understanding of a current state or old school way of working compared to working forward. To do so, we used the four lenses of: Time: When are we doing the activity? Place: Where are we doing the activity? Materials: What materials and resources do we need to perform the activity? Approach: How will we go about it?
As time was limited, teams of participants could only address the subset you see here of the work activity categories you saw earlier
This slide shows the detail for the “Collaborating” work activity category. You can see the traditional “work” in grey, and Work Forward scenarios in purple in each of the four lenses. Now - Jim, I want to give you the floor. As one of the leaders participating in the Summit, can you give us an example of how ServiceNow exemplifies Working Forward.
Thanks, Jim. OK everyone, think about what you would want the principles of working forward to be
We did addressed potential Work Forward principles by imagining that we had landed on the planet of Xytar, which we learned was the foremost example of working forward in the universe. We described the principles we saw exhibited on Xytar. They sorted all the ideas into nine categories of principles to describe what a Work Forward world would look like and how people would be working.
The principle categories identified were: Be Transparent Work to Live Be Diverse Communicate and Collaborate Have Integrity Seek Growth and Development Evolve Build Equity Hold Accountability After lots of ideation, the participants dot-voted on the categories they saw as priority for emphasis in the Work Forward manifesto exercise.
Using the categories of the principles as inspiration, we worked in break-out teams to draft statements to be used as input to the Work Forward Manifesto. Using a simple framework, participants broke into teams to answer these 3 questions for Work Forward: What is the value? Why is it important? What will it look like when I see it?
Here is the raw input of our draft manifesto statements. They were not intended to be the final manifesto, but rather to test the flow of the principles and find which statements most resonated with participants.
Subsequently, we have iterated the Summit’s ideas to create a Work Forward Manifesto, which you can find on the Work Forward site.
So that was the Work Forward Summit. Now, let’s show off how you can pick up the Work Forward banner and learn more about how to spark conversations and action to make make work better.