Future of Work 2016: A Conversation Starting Reading List

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It feels akin to cleaning the house for the cleaner, or whitening your teeth for the dentist, but I for one love to read-up before a conference.

Reading up has a few benefits including:

  • Allowing you to nod your head enthusiastically in agreement with everything the speaker says, and even perhaps pre-empting what they might say under your breath. Making you appear very clever to other audience members.
  • Allowing you to prep your questions which are designed to trip up the speaker.
  • Allowing you to get the most and the deepest from the conversation.

One of the above is a serious benefit and the others are actually anti-social micro-aggressions.

Prior reading can get your mind on topic, in the zone. It can also help you contribute to the conversation better. It can also feel a bit like homework- so like everything in life only proceed if it feels right to you.

Future of Work 2016 is going to be a great conversation, and I for one want to get the most out of it, so to enable that for both you and I, I have compiled this first (of two) reading list of great and/or provocative speakers who will be shaping the conference. I hope you enjoy my compilation – by all means send through anything you are reading on the future of work (topics) or by future of work presenters, and I will write them up in another list (tweet them at us, we love being tweeted at with the hashtags #FOW2016 #readthis).

As with all of my lists, this is in no order of anything – there is no hidden codes, so don’t try reading this list backwards.

  • Professor Hugh Durrant White will shake things and say the things he thinks you need to hear, not the things he thinks you might want to hear. Here you can hear him talking on Radio National’s Big Ideas about Australia’s ‘ripeness’ to be automated.
  • Zynep Ton is the author of the incredible “Good Jobs Strategy” (you can find a pdf of the book’s introduction on her website). If you haven’t, then you must read it – a reminder for all of us that when you spend on good employees and you provide good jobs, you get good outcomes (put much more eloquently).  For me, and perhaps I am going too deep, but any writing on American jobs and having employment strategies harkens Roosevelt and the New Deal, so reading this was like reading a Steinbeck. You can also find Ton’s blog here or watch her in this great video.
  • Millenials, youth, jobs for our kids. For every sparkle on the horizon of the Future of Work is concern for millennials and their work future. Dan Woodman is a sociologist at the University of Melbourne who focuses on youth and you can read part of his research in this co-authored article for the University’s Pursuit, “Gen Y’s long road to security”. Included in the article are links to the Life Patterns studies that inform the article and are well worth the click.
  • Genevieve Bell – an anthropologist, you can read about her here in the New York Times in “Intel’s Sharp-Eyed Social Scientist”. Be warned that reading will turn you into a fan and more than likely make you regret not doing an Anthropology degree.
  • Fred Kofman is the Vice President of Leadership and Organisational Development at LinkedIn. And so here is his LinkedIn page for your reading pleasure and perhaps emulation. At #FOW2016 Kofman will be talking about conscious business and the future of organizations, make your way to this video for a taste of what to expect.

Hopefully this gets you started, your mind involved and perhaps even, like us, counting down the days until Future of Work 2016. Perhaps you are going to be like this kid, reading on the job.

Future of Work 2016: A Conversation Starting Reading List
By: thejbird


Ok, so there is your homework for the week. Report back with all you learn, and if you are yet to obtain Future of Work tickets you can find all you need to know here at the Future of Work 2016 website.  We are more than a little bit excited; the program is shaping up to be truly informative, innovative and interactive.


Future of Work 2016: A Conversation Starting Reading List



One Response to “Future of Work 2016: A Conversation Starting Reading List”

  1. WhaleSongServices (@WhaleSongAus)

    I think this looks like an excellent programme, congratulations.

    For what it is worth, I think the work of David Autor [MIT] is worthy of close attention [ Polanyi’s Paradox and the Shape of Employment Growth ].

    Also, the “The Hamilton Project” convened academic experts and business leaders in Feb 2015 to discuss the “future of work in the machine age”. Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee, of the Center for Digital Business at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Sloan School of Management and authors of “The Second Machine Age: Work, Progress, and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies” provided some great insights. The panel discussions at this were excellent.

    I agree with your thoughts on the work of Dan Woodman et al at UniMelb. Good stuff.



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