The ideas presented in this selection of op-ed articles by researchers within the Workable Futures Initiative are provocations meant to inspire insights to help you navigate the new landscape of labor economics and non-traditional livelihoods.

Making the Gig Economy Work for Everyone: Ideas and Prototypes at IFTF’s Positive Platform Design Jam

Mark Frauenfelder | December 15, 2016


The platform economy can have something for everyone. People needing goods or services get what they want, people who have the time and skills to provide the goods and services get paid, and people who built and invested in the platforms that connect customers with providers get a cut of the action. Win-win-win, right?

Read more on Medium


Why There’s No Such Thing As A Skills Gap

Marina Gorbis | September 30, 2016


Paul Krugman has called our widespread belief in the existence of a severe “skills gap” a zombie idea—an idea that should have been killed by evidence but refuses to die. Hardly a day goes by when a candidate for a political office does not propose investments in training and re-training as a panacea for stagnating wages and growing income inequality.

Read more on GE Reports

Prosperity by Design

Marina GorbisSeptember 19, 2016


Automation has tremendous potential to create prosperity. With sufficient demand, automation facilitates the increases in productivity and efficiency that are fundamental to driving economic growth. But it also increases the risk of human dislocation. This is a familiar historical pattern.

Read more on Democracy Journal

Design It Like Our Livelihoods Depend on It: 8 Principles for Creating On-Demand Platforms for Better Work Futures

Marina Gorbis and Devin Fidler | April 4, 2016

The design of “Positive Platforms” — platforms that not only maximize profits for their owners but also provide dignified and sustainable livelihoods for those who work on them, plus enrich society as a whole — is one of the most urgent tasks we are facing today.

Read more on Medium

Designing a New Operating System for Work

Marina Gorbis | December 9, 2015

Today’s emerging platforms and ways of working may seem new and alien, but let’s remember that the way we work, the way we organize ourselves to create value, has gone through equally radical transformation in the past.

Read more on Medium

Here’s how management can be replaced by software

Devin Fidler | April 21, 2015

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Fortune 500 executives spend a fair amount of time thinking about how automation and the Internet are changing the nature of employment, but they rarely wonder how technology will have an impact much closer to home: on their own jobs.

Read more on HBR