BEAM – Daring to Shine a Light on the Future of Work

Stephanie Feeney · 6 minutes · 10 months ago

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What comes into your mind when you think about the future of work? If innovation is the future then you – the entrepreneurs, the self-employeds, the innovators – are the pioneers who will make the future work and shape the work of the future.

 

We are witnessing significant changes in the ways in which we work and organise ourselves. Traditional organisational structures and career paths are giving way to various forms of project-based, entrepreneurial-style, self-employment. Entrepreneurship is being hailed as the magic bullet for boosting the economy, generating innovation, creating jobs, and so on.

 

The startup world has it’s own unique set of characteristics. It has its own language. We speak of unicorns, sweat equity, angel investors and iterative prototyping. And its sexy, glossy image is built on a strong media bias towards underdog success stories, mostly the startups with unlikely beginnings that eventually float on the stock exchange for billions of dollars. This is the Entrepreneur as Hero. The everyday challenge of negotiating the tension between the freedom and the isolation of being one’s own boss gets less attention. As does the high rate of start up failures, the endless pitching, the sacrifices, the financial instability and burnout.

 

Co-working, as a new work format, goes some way towards reconciling the insecurities of self-employment with the benefits of a collaborative work setting. And Impact Hub Zürich goes beyond that by making efforts to nurture a community with a strong, shared sense of purpose – that of creating positive impact in business. After the merger with Colab and rapid growth over the past year, is that shared sense of purpose is still there? What do we care about?  Do we even know what we care about? Do we still dare to imagine that we can change the world? The community is asking. That our community cares at all about the focus and depth of its impact, is testament to the power of our community.    

 

This is where the impetus for BEAM emerged. BEAM is an experimental initiative from Impact Hub Zürich & Friends, driven by Nicola Blum, Stephanie Feeney, Björn Müller and Johanna Muther. As a lean and agile “think-tank”-meets-artful-production-studio, BEAM is daring to shine its light on the What and Why of the future of work, organization and business. We will be focusing on rich content, rather than the processes and programs of the startup world. We will be playful, yet prickly, asking pointed questions about the issues that matter most to the Impact Hub Community and, by being a proxy for a more general transformation of the world of work, for a wider audience. We will make space for self-reflection and affirmative critique. Looking both behind, inside and ahead of things, we will be collaborative, creative and performative. We will be re-imagining agency, asking “what makes us act?” And we will be an agency for re-imagining key notions within the future of work, organization and business. How dare we?!

 

Or, perhaps better to ask, how dare you? Because How Dare You? is the title of BEAM’s debut project that aims to unmask the future of entrepreneurialism by giving you, the brave new future worker, a stage, to voice concerns, vent frustrations, express hopes, confess secrets and break taboos. The currency of the project is personal stories and asking questions. Some of the stories and answers from Impact Hub Zürich community that we captured so far are revealed in this video blog. They contain accounts of personal failure and struggle, of determination driven by a strong sense of duty, of strong conviction in the power of co-working, and of doubt and frustration about the real extent of our impact. And there’s more to come. Click “Follow” in the bottom right corner of the blog to receive a new video story in your inbox about every two weeks.

 

Being a global network, last month we took How Dare You? to London as part of Zürich meets London: a Festival of Two Cities 2016 where we shared the video blog with the audience at Impact Hub Kings Cross London and asked audience members to share personal stories about moments when they dared to care. There were no shortage of meaningful stories and they resonated strongly with that which we see and hear in the video blog.

 

How Dare You? is the result of a first collaboration between BEAM and Neue Dringlichkeit (nD), a Zurich-based performance and arts collective, and it is supported by Impact Hub Zürich.

 

This is just the beginning. BEAM will continue to work on How Dare You? and other exciting and experimental initiatives are being dreamed up. Notably, the upcoming Arbeit 4.5 project, a performative audio walk through Zurich’s Kreis 4 and 5, led by performance artist Diana Rojas and BEAM’s Björn Müller. Arbeit 4.5 is a sensory, performative and discursive intervention around the themes of self-employment and entrepreneurship, in partnership with Impact Hub Zürich. Look forward to a content-rich program of discussion, visual presentations, performances, and general pointed playfulness, around the Premiere of Arbeit 4.5, at the end of September.

 

Why do we do all this? Because we care about the future of work and we invite you to have a share in that business! Start re-imagining.

 

With a background in business operations, and a lean towards anything with a creative twist, Stephanie keeps busy, on a freelance basis, managing projects / events / cultural productions for interesting social and cultural businesses. Her superpower is figuring out what needs to get done and then doing it, brilliantly. She is missing one letter ey on her lapto...

Stephanie Feeney, Culture, Arts

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