2020 has been a moment of multidimensional crises, a lull but also a massive upheaval begging the question of just how long we will continue to be in this crisis. Upheavals of this magnitude, though uncertain, provide us with the opportunity to reshift and reimagine. From retail businesses, tech startups, to restaurants, this pandemic has caused almost every industry to shuffle their cards to determine their best play for riding out the crisis. Even more, it revealed those who were never dealt any cards to begin with. Suddenly, it became a shift in priorities - eyes were no longer solely on growth and profitability, but on being a thriver amidst throngs of businesses looking to simply survive. The desire to thrive has also unleashed unprecedented levels of experimentation, collaboration, but most importantly - empathy. Many questions remain at the forefront for businesses: how can we remain relevant during and post pandemic? Moreover, what do we do now so we are ahead of the curve later?
And just like that, a full year has gone by at Imperative Impact. It feels like yesterday I was meeting the team and taking stock of what this new internship would have in store.
I joined Imperative Impact as an intern, for a four-month work placement required as part of my undergraduate degree in Public Relations from the University of Ottawa and Algonquin College. Looking to build on my Ottawa government experience, I took a leap of faith and moved to Toronto for my placement. Leaving behind my family and friends in a city I knew like the back of my hand was difficult, to say the least, but one of the best decisions I have made.
When I first thought about what I wanted out of my placement, an agency did not cross my mind. I did not think I was ‘agency material’, but better suited for in-house public relations and communications. As a fresh graduate, I was hoping for an internship at a larger organization, such as a bank, or a telecommunications company. Wow, was I wrong.
My internship with Imperative Impact, which grew into a permanent position, has taught me more than I’d ever learn with a standard larger organization. I can confidently say that every day I learn something new, am challenged professionally, and supported by awesome colleagues.
You were ready to host an incredible in-person event and then COVID-19 hit and now you are trying to figure out how to create a deeply human experience in a virtual world. It can feel overwhelming. We get it. We’ve explored over 40 virtual event platforms as we help clients transition from physical to virtual convening.
Don’t let physical distancing or the endless list of options keep you from holding your next event. At Imperative Impact, we believe that virtual events can be more than just connecting people on screens, as we continue to design experiences that create meaningful connections.
Once you have determined your event goals, your next step is choosing a platform. To help you get started, take a look at 10 of the best virtual event platforms we have investigated. If you’re overwhelmed and unsure of how to make the change, reach out to us. We’re here to help.
I recently read The Female Persuasion, a novel with compelling themes of power, friendship, ambition and mentorship. The novel follows characters and their searches for meaningful jobs upon graduation. At its heart, the story is about the desire to be pulled into the light, and to make an impact.
This got me thinking, as this brings us to a larger conversation - with technology transforming so many aspects of the workplace, how can one find meaning and purpose in a landscape fraught with change? Will technology help or harm that pursuit?
In today’s technologically advanced society, discussions are rampant as to whether technology is going to replace workers by outsourcing the dull, dirty, repetitive and dangerous jobs to machines, so much so that some are claiming this will be the Fourth Industrial Revolution. People are left wondering: will my job be performed by a robot?
Technology could free workers to do things they are passionate about - tasks that are fulfilling. “The real shift that has to happen for us is focusing not just on the efficiency that technology brings us,” noted futurist and CEO of futurethink Lisa Bodell. “It’s more about letting us be efficient so we can be valuable.”
Many struggle for a sense of meaning in the workplace. A recent survey discovered that the average worker would give up $21,000 a year in exchange for a role in the workplace that offered them meaning, which may equate to a clear sense of purpose or growth opportunities.
It is interesting that the concept of a job itself is changing. I like the description offered by Doris Viljoen, Senior Futurist at the Institute for Futures Research and the University of Stellenbosch, USB Executive Development (USB-ED): “The concept of a job as we know it could be altered significantly; we may have to find new words to describe what we do,” she said. “Maybe instead of a job we’ll call it something like economic activity. This is due to the fact that a person will probably be economically active in different ways, doing different things for different people simultaneously.”
What skills are necessary for the workplaces of the future? Viljoen highlighted the importance of forming connections - learning to connect people with other people, people with things, and things with things, as well as focusing on creating experiences for customers and employees.
Important skills to develop include digital fluency, communication, ethical awareness and curiosity, to “not be intimidated by new information or ways of doing things.”
So perhaps the key to navigating the future of work is a mindset shift - as Bodell advised, “you just have to be open to the possible changes that come with it.”
And so, the characters in The Female Persuasion go through various job changes on this quest to make an impact, in jobs ranging from working for a prominent feminist foundation, writing a best-selling novel, designing video games and cleaning houses. “...but you could also just say that it was work, and that work was admirable, even if it was hard or unappealing or undersung,” mused one character engaged in house cleaning work. And they all find their way, in the end.
“It's not what you know - it’s the quality of the questions you ask. Ask great questions,” Peter Diamandis urged the cohort of founders, executives, and innovators at the Singularity University Executive Program in the Valley.
The power of questions is a recurring theme when it comes to creating impactful change and leading with purpose. All it takes is one person to ask “What if…” to change the course of industry - and history.
As technologies rapidly accelerate and we face an uncertain future of work, resource scarcity, and global economic shifts, questions are more important than ever. Taking space to approach change from a skeptical and thoughtful perspective will ensure the future we build is one that we want.
Great questions are challenging but necessary to avoid repeating the mistakes of the past and anticipating the possibilities, repercussions, and outcomes of a hyperconnected, evolving, and redefined future for people, communities, and sectors.
5 Questions to Guide Your Impact
Here are five questions that we believe are critical for an ethical and truly innovative approach:
The more challenging - and bigger - the questions you ask, the more ambitious and resilient your impact will be. Always dig deeper and consider the implications of your personal and organisational actions.
Be bold. Ask great questions. Catalyse impact.