I frame my major pillar introductions around expanding the voices and seats at the table, ways to reset (and upset) the table to ensure those new voices are in a position to contribute, lead and not be tokenized, but the real reality is, do we even need a table?
I think if anything, this book together with the societal upheaval of the coronavirus pandemic, black lives matter movement and the 2020 presidential election has made the case that the formal approaches to our work, how our communities function and the potential for them to rise out of this civic malaise, is in our hands, not in those that we have long accepted.
The formal symbolism of ‘a table’ has always been that of the boardroom, where the big decisions are made, and a place our careers aspire to belong in. But that’s just part of the out of date narrative of a meritocracy, one that overlooks the real issues of our communities and rewards capability not ability, regardless of what the true definition reads.
Tech has the potential to level the playing field and to level up its participants. It gives the tools and capacity for folks to build solutions that just weren’t possible a decade ago and gives people, groups and governments the chance to create a new future if they are not currently excited about the one they are seeing unfold.
People should be taking an interest in how tech works and how it can improve the world, moving from consumer to producer, understanding that we need to not squander the opportunity and see tech for good become tech for the few.
We are already seeing what the consequences might be if we are not creating ‘lanes’ for the successful integration of tech into our daily lives. A consolidation of wealth and power, a loss of freedom in the form of data monitoring and manipulation, and all the damage it has caused our democracy.
The social sector has a big role to play here and that’s why we outline the need to look at the ethics of technological advances from both a policy and psychological standpoint before we turn to the potential impact of technology, and that’s where things get really interesting.
The tech pillar was by far my most favorite part of the book to write. It was the process of seeing what was out there and what was on the horizon and imagining what could be. Purely looking at the impact rather than the monetary benefits, envisioning the future of work not as an option but because these shifts will become a necessity. Those emerging leaders we chose to highlight for this final pillar have been in the engine rooms of this change, building the policy landscape, building the tech and fast tracking new approaches and solutions through big philanthropic investments. You’ll be glad to learn more about Efrem Bycer, Laura Tomasko and Ruby Bolaria-Shifirn, their work and what values drive them, and most of all know that they are in your corner fighting for a better tomorrow.
Efrem Bycer – Efrem is a cross-sector leader focused on making our economy and society more equitable. He’s currently a member of LinkedIn’s Public Policy and Economic Graph team where he leads a set of partnerships with government agencies and civic organizations to help connect workers to economic opportunity, particularly through job training and reemployment services. Prior to joining LinkedIn, Efrem led Code for America’s efforts to help governments better leverage agile software development and user-centered design to support their economic and workforce development efforts. Efrem has more than a decade of experience working at the intersection of economic development, workforce development, civic engagement, digital government, and public sector innovation. Efrem has a Bachelor’s of Science in Urban and Regional Studies from Cornell University and a Master’s in Public Administration from the Maxwell School of Syracuse University.
Laura Tomasko – Laura is a policy program manager for the Center on Nonprofits and Philanthropy at the Urban Institute. She oversees work on charitable giving and impact investing and ensures Urban’s research is widely used by practitioners, advocates, and policymakers. Before joining Urban, Laura was an associate program officer at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, where she managed a portfolio of grants focused on building policy and data capacity for the philanthropic sector. During the Obama administration, she served as a senior policy advisor for social innovation in the White House Domestic Policy Council and deputy associate director for public engagement at the Council on Environmental Quality. Laura previously held positions at national philanthropy associations, the Council on Foundations and Grantmakers for Effective Organizations, as well as community-based organizations, the Central New York Community Foundation and the Children’s Aid Society.
Ruby Bolaria-Shifrin – Ruby manages the housing affordability program at the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI). Prior to CZI, she worked in real estate development managing multifamily mixed-income development projects in San Francisco for Fivepoint (formerly Lennar Urban) and has experience in commercial real estate at JLL. Ruby also worked internationally at the Housing Department in Johannesburg, South Africa where she managed an in-situ upgrading pilot project.
She started her career in environmental, public health, and social justice nonprofits as an organizer. She holds a BA in Politics from the University of California, Santa Cruz and a Master of Urban and Regional Planning from the University of California, Los Angeles.
The decade of disruption as I say is based in a real reality, not just a virtual one with much of what is highlighted and ideated will become mainstream by 2030 including smart contracts, 3d printing and machine learning. While we stop short of talking about flying cars to become the new fleet vehicles for Meals on Wheels, we also threw a few wildcards in there that might catch fire in their first iteration.
Change is coming, so rather than have it forced upon us, we should begin making the necessary moves and adjustments to let it help our work take flight.