I’ve thoroughly enjoyed this series, Tim. I like the neutral framing of Next: Economy as a discussion of the challenges and opportunities presented by this shift.

For me, though, there’s still a big piece of this puzzle that doesn’t get enough attention: the failure of imagination. Every time I read something about this new economic world, I’m struck by how boring I find most of it. We’re telling an entire generation their career prospects are to be a part-time driver and inn-keeper. “Oh, but you’ll love the flexibility!”

I worry that we’re not spending enough time dreaming about what kind of workforce we want (and actually need) people to take part in. We’re just sleepwalking into techno-optimized efficiency. Certainly there’s no lack of challenging work that needs to be done (climate change mitigation, protecting biodiversity, improving health care, taking care of the elderly, etc). How do we work backwards to create jobs for that kind of work?

My two favorite exceptions: Kickstarter and the Maker Movement. Both invite people to dream bigger, build new, and share in an adventure. Both optimize around creativity, not efficiency. What happens if we do the same for curiosity? For empathy? For justice?

Entrepreneur and writer working at the intersection of science, conservation, and technology.

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