The Workplace of the Future: Employee Engagement Through Community Organizing

In an article about the future of corporations from 2001, the management thinker Peter Drucker mused about the future of the workplace in The Economist. “The management of knowledge workers should be based on the assumption that the corporation needs them more than they need the corporation,” he said. “This means they have to be treated and managed as volunteers.”

One could make the argument that Drucker’s prediction only came half true, given the economic realities many workers have faced in the past two decades, including rising wage inequality and student loan debt. But I believe he was spot-on about how most knowledge workers think about their work. I’ve recently read different job satisfaction studies that show that work is in crisis, with as few as 40% of workers and as many as 70% declaring themselves to have checked out of their work completely.

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All entrepreneurship is social entrepreneurship

Most entrepreneurs start out wanting to make their own version of a dent in the universe.That’s the appeal of entrepreneurship: take a risk to start something new, and be rewarded with category disruption, wild financial success, paid speeches, magazine covers, and the like.

Garrett Camp and Travis Kalanick, the co-founders of Uber, were no different. Having both come from successful startups, they were familiar with the sacrifices needed to be successful. Famously, Kalanick said they aimed to grow Uber “at any cost.”

Dents in the universe by definition displace one thing in favor of something else. Whose responsibility is it to consider the social costs of disruption?

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The Trouble With Transformation: Unintended Human Consequences of Progress in the Digital Age

It had to be there—listening to the buzzing discord of a 56k modem firing up in my teenage bedroom, what it took to send exactly one Juno email—that the true potential of the internet first dawned on me.

Before Facebook and Web 2.0, before the dotcom bubble and subsequent crash, before The Cluetrain Manifesto where hyperlinks subvert hierarchy, it was just me: a lonely, anxious teenager trying desperately to reach out and connect with others like me.

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Your customers want you to engage on social issues. Are you ready?

The Super Bowl has historically been the place where brands have debuted their big marketing campaigns for the next year, capturing viewers from what is still one of the most-watched events in the U.S. The past few years, those campaigns have included stark stands on social issues: from Audi on women empowerment during last year’s game to Dodge making a connection between its Ram Trucks and public service the other week.

The problem? Both of these ads came off almost immediately as inauthentic, and lead to an online backlash. Audi was immediately called out for how few women actually work at the company. And Dodge debuted its campaign with a distasteful voice overlay from Martin Luther King, Jr.

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Why social controversy is creating a massive shift in branding and leadership

Business as usual is dead.

Many once held as industry innovators and lions in their arenas are now falling like dominos, and their dismissals are finally shifting the terrain of acceptable business conduct between women and men. Prominent media figure Mark Halperin is the most recent to lose not only his latest book deal from Time but also a lucrative series with HBO based on his political writings. Laurene Powell Jobs’ Emerson Collective just cut ties with another prominent male based on news that surfaced about prior allegations of sexual misconduct. Amazon Studios’ Roy Price just had to resign under the same allegations. And the list will only continue to grow after the wide-spread news of film executive Harvey Weinstein’s decades long sexual harassment of countless women.

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A.I. isn't the existential threat. The hubris of tech leaders is.

Some short time after the 2016 election, I had a conversation with a friend about the impact of social media on Trump’s win. I was wrestling with the role of what I thought was an inherently neutral marketplace of ideas in promoting Trump, the larger issues of Russian propaganda and interference in the election, and the general problem of abuse.

“We can’t put too much faith in technology,” my friend said. “Technology is more like magic than science.”

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Forbes | How The Explosive Social Issues Of Race, Reform Are Pushing Brands Into New Digital Territory

Today, even the most casual conversations now contain a deep infusion of socio-political perspective and, often times, heated passion. People previously uninterested politics and social issues are now reading POLITICO and The Hill right alongside their favorite business, beauty and sports publications. This information flow is then wildly accelerated by the digital echo-chambers of various tech platforms that then absorbs the collective thought, mashes it up, promotes it, deconstructs it, and creates a veritable never-ending cycle of exchange between a variety of new and effervescent subcultures and voices on the current state of the United States. Diversity. Immigration. Sexual harassment. Racism. Climate Change. No one is safe, and anyone or thing can become the day’s hottest digital target in a flash.

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Dear CEOs: Your company just got political. Own it.

Dear CEOs of America,

Let’s start with a hard truth. We’re living in a dark time.

No matter your party affiliation, it’s hard to ignore the increasing social upheaval and corresponding activism, driven in part by our political moment but undergirded by the bigger trends of globalization, automation, and a historic distrust in our public institutions.

Public life is in crisis. And when public institutions fail, it affects all us, especially the most vulnerable.

So why are so many of you, many with incredible influence over our everyday lives, sitting on the sidelines?

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Inklings of Better | The story behind #StandWithAleppo

A Syrian brain surgeon and two women in Chicago unite to stop a humanitarian disaster.

This past weekend, I stood outside Terminal 5 at O'Hare, protesting along with thousands of other Chicagoans the treatment of Muslim immigrants and refugees by the current administration. As we enter a dark stretch in this country's treatment of refugees, I wanted to get a first-hand account of someone who's been an advocate of those fleeing Syria, and how she used online media to shine a spotlight on the tragedy.

Wendy Widom is a two-time Emmy-award winning social media manager at CBS 2-Chicago, and the co-founder of #StandWithAleppo, the highly visible online advocacy campaign. Wendy and I have been exchanging messages about her experience. Read more below.

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Introducing the personal impact canvas

If you’re like me, the past month has caused a bit of an existential crisis — and made you fired up and ready to do something.

But if you’ve never been involved in the kinds of fights you’re interested in, it can seem overwhelming. I’ve had many conversations over the past few weeks with well-intentioned people who see big problems and a big, intimidating white space before them in terms of where to start.

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Medium | Reconciling the internet’s role in the rise of Trump

One of the things I loved about being a history major in college was getting to step back and look at the big picture. The study of history shows you how things — people, communities, religions, leaders, ideas — interact and influence each other. It made me appreciate that everything is connected, but it also showed me that if you pay attention, patterns emerge. “History repeats itself” is a trope that has a certain truth to it.

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Forbes | Beyond Tweets: Digital Lessons From Presidential Campaigns

In mid-October, not long after Donald Trump drew attention for his 3 a.m. tweets, I received an email from Hillary Clinton’s campaign inviting me to help canvass voters in Iowa, a short drive from my home in Chicago. The message noted that “1,500 of Hillary’s best supporters” had headed to neighboring states the weekend before, and now they wanted me to do the same.

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Read more | President Obama: We should be proud of what we've achieved

It's because of people like you who have stepped up—in ways big and small—that progress over the past few years has been possible. And as we roll into the final months of President Obama's last term in office, it's going to be up to folks like you to help make sure we aren't held back by those trying to stop progress.


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Medium | The social media industry is broken—and it's our fault

I didn’t want to be the one to write a post like this. But my brain was about to explode.

I got into the social media industry shortly after getting my MBA, because I saw the incredible disconnect between what we talked about in business school and what was happening in the real world. The old ways of thinking about business, not just marketing or PR, were changing.

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