[This post is linked to another post Trend Time: The rise of the employee activist]

The mid 2020’s were a tipping point for social inequality, the climate and the displacement of workers caused by Ai and robot deployment. In response, a wave of new peer-based worker collectives were born - ‘pop-up’ movements both within organisations and across industries.


As more of these worker collectives emerged, so too was a common agenda – ecological sustainability, social inequality and the right to access meaningful work.

Here's an upcoming agenda for the 'pop-up' Worker Collective operating inside one of Australia's biggest tech start-ups...

So what? Now what?

  • What if new worker collectives emerged inside your organisation? (See also Rise of the Employee Activist)
  • What if employees began to push back against organisational automation agendas?
  • What if new protections against role automation became part of employee contracts? Could this be an opportunity for your org to lead the way?
  • Could automation become a core consideration in workforce planning decisions? Who might fill this role? (Human only? Machine only? Human + machine augmentation?).
  • How can we start to have richer debates about technological impacts, and what it might mean for workers? Could these conversations become a normalised consideration when diffusing new technologies?
  • What would happen if employees started to draft and advocate their own internal policies? (Policies focused on social equality and ecological sustainability, e.g. a policy that advocates a maximum salary, or mandated climate actions within the organisation)
  • What new skill pathways might you and your team need to understand emerging tech, and the social and ecological challenges that impact your people and people practices?
  • How can you leverage some of these tech/social/ecological changes? What if your org was the first to ensure climate change was a baseline skill for everyone, or that your org was adept at disaster management, or your employee remuneration and benefits were geared towards social equality etc....

What small bets can you make in the present to ensure you and your organisation are equipped for the changing landscape in which we work?

Artefacts from the future are fictional stories, provocations and ideas that are designed to explore the intersection of emerging trends in creative and interesting ways. These artefacts aren't intended to predict what will be, nor are they necessarily serious suggestions or projections. They are speculations intended to help expand our range of possibilities, challenge our assumptions and provoke critical discussions around the future of work. Maybe they will even nudge us to act differently in the present.