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Global Development: Reassembling our World of Work

August 3, 2021

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Kim Kucinskas

Technical Director, Organizational Transformation, US

For a long time, “reimagining our world of work” remained a catchphrase, an idea for some point in the near future. Today, that catchphrase takes on new meaning, as it becomes clear that the “change” we have been talking about is here and now. This is both exciting and daunting. There is power in the scope of possibility that comes from reimaging our world of work. The playing field of the phrase ‘world of work’ is large. We are living in a transformative movement; because everything has been disrupted in the last year and a half, many things are possible. And there is a clear call to action in what ‘reimagining’ should and could mean. It is an invitation to think beyond what might currently be possible, and to be deliberate and intentional in doing so.

For the last nine months, Humentum has walked alongside leaders and practitioners from within our membership of international development organizations as part of our year-long learning journey, OpEx365, in an attempt to navigate these unprecedented times together. We offered weekly topical webinar sessions, held three two-day retreats with practitioners at different levels, and met regularly with a small cohort of CEO’s to discuss the power shifts that can, should, and are taking place in the sector.

From this unique vantage point, a picture emerged of a landscape of complexity. We are navigating a time full of paradoxes and competing, and often conflicting, needs. We are struggling to meet current deliverables and responsibilities – to our staff, to our funders, and to those we work with and for – in a landscape that is shifting under our feet. We are working to fulfill our missions and live by our values even while we question if and how those missions and values should shift if we are to become sustainable organizations of the future. And we are doing all of this in an ecosystem that is designed to maintain the status quo.

Over the last year, we have watched many of these big ideas ripple down to the decisions of everyday project managers and HR practitioners. How will shifting power from headquarter staff to staff working locally in the communities they serve, at international affiliates, or locally-led organizations impact organizational culture, structure, recruitment practices, and benefits? How can we build upon some of the new ways of working we have built in the last year and a half, and not “snap back” to business as usual?

The end result of these talks is a visual storyboard that serves as a playbook for navigating the change we are experiencing as a sector right now. We have illustrated what is happening, why it is important, and what to do about it, offering recommendations for acting our way into the future. Watch or read below the entire story:

<View the Zine>

Is your organization having these conversations? Do you want to start? If you are dipping your toe in these waters, this playbook will help you shift your mindset. If you are just starting, it provides a rough roadmap. If you are already with us, join us in sharing this within your organization and with your peers!

Change starts at the individual level. Mindset shifts and small changes can lead to mini revolutions, which stacked on top of each other can effect real change. We are stronger acting together than we are acting alone. Many thanks to our members and participants who engaged in these conversations with us over the past year. We are creating a better future for our sector, together.

If you are interested in joining future free Humentum events where we discuss sector-wide challenges, leadership, and solutions for the future, consider membership with us.