"The Future of Work" Launches in Mankato

On July 12, Connect the Grey and facilitator Katie Boone hosted "The Future of Work: Creativity & Business" in Mankato. This creative community conversation marked the launch of a new series of events, inviting people from across sectors to consider changing job and workplace structures and what skills and mindsets will be needed to meet new challenges.

The Mankato event was held in Profinium Bank's downtown space. It included participants from Greater Mankato Growth, Independent School District 77, and South Central College, making for a discussion that spanned K-12 and higher education, business, and agriculture.

Click through below to see a few photos from the event:

The context:

  • From The State of Independence in America 2017, report by MBO Partners:
    • Independent sector is now 41 million people strong, representing about 31% of the private U.S. workforce
    • “Strong job markets mean that independents are increasingly able to compete in the War for Talent on their own terms.”
  • Independent work crosses demographic boundaries
  • "For the first time in history, the core logic of our economy states that development should be based on growth and the use of human creative abilities."
  • Workforce development is a multi-sector challenge; currently being discussed by business, government, and healthcare, but focus is on STEM
    • What if we added Arts to STEM to make it STEAM?

Participants were invited to consider: If we were to utilize every human creative ability to support the future of work, what would that look like for people and our planet?

They were then asked to consider, in small groups before sharing out to the full gathering:

  • The changes they're noticing right now in their work and workplaces
  • The future of work they want to create
  • The elegant next steps we can take to create opportunities for the future of work

As the participants talked, key themes emerged:

  • Human capacity
  • Learning
  • Communicating
  • Critical thinking
  • Teaching the teachers
  • Opportunity and possibility

And some additional observations and ideas:

  • Artificial intelligence is opening up new possibilities
  • Follow the money; market forces driving sustainability and renewable energy
  • Inclusivity; being open to learning from others
  • Shift from mechanical process to critical, creative, divergent thinking
  • Some professions do need the letters behind your name, but most need soft skills and adaptability
  • Culture of learning; give people permission to try, practice, and learn
  • We put limitations on ourselves that may not be real; need to be able to see potential
  • How can we recreate the creativity we once had, after years of checking boxes?
  • How can we creatively remove barriers to get to creativity and change?

Watch for more Future of Work: Creativity & Business conversations soon in communities around Minnesota!

We will also be talking about one key idea — moving from STEM to STEAM at a local, cross-sector level — in follow-up conversations. Join us for From STEM to STEAM: Building Creativity in Our City in Mankato on September 13 and in St. Paul on September 25.

For one more taste of our conversation, watch host Katie Boone's slam poem, created and performed using the words that participants used to describe their takeaways from the day: