Rethinking the concept of work

Last week I’ve read, saw and heard several very interesting things on what work is and why we are working the way we are working. I want to share with you 4 posts that go from re-imagining work over how to redefine work and putting vision into action.

RSA Animate – Re-Imagining Work

RSA aired a new animated short last week called Re-Imagining Work. This video (embedded below) points out several reasons why the way we’re working isn’t working. Watch it, it’s (as always with RSA’s animations) worth it.

Forbes – Agility: The New Currency of Growth

Forbes wrote an interesting article on why big companies aren’t able to keep up with other, smaller organisations. An interesting quote from this article:

“When a 14-year-old kid can blow up your business in his spare time, not because he hates you but because he loves you, then you got a problem.”

Mike Maddock correctly points out three reasons why agility matters (more than money, size or marketing):

  1. The world is changing faster and faster and…
  2. Stakeholders can stall innovation
  3. We are now a “B2me” economy

In addition  to this article, I’d like to share another article on the same problem: “Why Do Startups Create Better Mobile Apps?“.

Co.EXIST – The 30-Hour Work Week Is Here (If You Want It)

The moment the place you’re working from becomes irrelevant and agility becomes the key driver for innovation, it’s time to remember professor John Maynard Keynes’ work on reduced working weeks.

Keynes predicted that within his lifetime, the future economy would be powered with a quarter of the effort. In a hundred years, he wrote, humanity would actually be confronted with the problem of too much leisure time, and what to do with it. Technological innovation meant that we could accomplish whatever needed doing in a 15-hour workweek, and we’d be endeavoring “to spread the bread thin on the butter,” distributing what little work was necessary as equally as possible.

The NEF already spent a lot of time studying and reshaping the theories of Keynes in order to get it working in our current economic context. In my opinion, the most interesting part of reduced working weeks is the fact that you can decide to work more, because you want to. Because you enjoy what you’re doing. Not because you have to.

Recently Sidney Brownstone from Co.EXIST wrote a very good article on the 30-hour work week.

Design Thinking – Why You Should Talk Less and Do More

Now, talking about being agile, changing how and how long we work is not only very interesting, it’s also very easy. It gets harder once you have to act on it. How will you implement this new way of working.

A very good book on this topic is ReWork by 37Signals. I reviewed this book on this blog earlier, you can find the post back here.

Another great tool to become agile, to get rid of creating big visionary texts, mission statements and strategic plans (and still be outrun by other companies), is this great trick called doing things.


Now, this is very hard for most people to understand. I’m not saying you’re not doing anything, but chances are you’re mainly being busy. It’s very easy to be busy, and very hard to break that pattern. The best way to get going and doing things is prototyping.

Ideo recently published a very good post on prototyping which you can read here. I’d like to end today’s post with a little introduction to MVP-prototyping. When you want to get going, but get stuck because you don’t have all the ingredients yet (whatever or whoever you’re waiting on), remember you can always create you product or service or company partially. Don’t wait for others, go out and do. Put your assumptions to practice and see which ones remain valid. Check out these great tools by on testing and prototyping, and this great youtube video on what an MVP is.


About leyssensjan

Jan Leyssens is a designer and entrepreneur who strongly believes you can’t turn sustainability into a positive story if your main focus is on negative impact. When designing, he is always looking for the overlap between activism and entrepreneurship, technology and community. His main expertise lies in strategic business model development, Circular Economy, the makermovement, and social innovation. With a background in Industrial Design, Jan quickly shifted his focus towards business design and using the design process in strategic management. Jan is the father of two kids and founder & CEO of Regenerative Design, co-founder of Full Circle, ImpactBoost, and the Circular Design map, podcaster, storyteller, and changemaker.


  1. Funnily enough, I have been thinking about the exact same topic! I often find your posts arrive at just the right moment, thank you.

  2. Pingback: Hackschooling | Keep the game, change the rules

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