John Winsor Outthinkers Podcast

Unveiling the Potential of Open Talent

John Winsor is a prominent figure in strategic marketing and product innovation, known for his deep understanding of future work trends and open talent strategies. His expertise in collaboration, co-creation, and open innovation has made him a key influencer in innovation, disruption, and storytelling. He founded and chairs Open Assembly, an organization pioneering the adoption of open talent and freelancing.

At Harvard Business School’s Laboratory for Innovation Science (LISH), as an executive-in-residence, Winsor promotes innovation. He co-authored the national best-selling book Open Talent: Leveraging the Global Workforce to Solve Your Biggest Challenges with Laboratory for Innovation Sciences at Harvard co-founders Jin Paik, published by Harvard Business Press in January 2024. Additionally, Winsor leads the Open Assembly Community, a global network of 4000 members focused on transforming workplaces worldwide.

He recently joined the Outthinkers Podcast to discuss:

  • Open talent, a transformation in workforce culture, with the rise of micro-entrepreneurs and freelancers at the core.
  • The democratization of talent through digital platforms that provides companies a more varied, diverse workforce while providing individuals more opportunities for work.
  • A growing shift away from traditional roles and jobs, towards a focus on tasks and skills to achieve desired outcomes, with an emphasis on speed and momentum given today’s fast-paced momentum.
  • How to break through the mental and organizational barriers that impede them from embracing new workforce paradigms to fully take advantage of the modern workforce reality.

Listen to the full episode here.

Open Talent and the Shifting Landscape of Work

The traditional notion of work is undergoing a radical transformation. Gone are the days when companies dictated what a job entails and where it must be performed. We are now witnessing the rise of the “open talent” model, where people can do the work they want, where and when they want.

This shift holds immense potential. According to a talent report from Korn Ferry, there will be 85 million unfilled tech jobs by 2030, costing companies a staggering $8.5 trillion. In this new landscape, the power dynamics have flipped – workers can now choose to work where and how they prefer.

The Rise of the Micro-Entrepreneur

We’re seeing the emergence of the “micro-entrepreneur,” where creators and freelancers can earn substantial revenue. YouTube creators, for instance, generate $37 billion in revenue, empowering individuals to monetize their talents. While the gig economy has been commoditized and still tells workers where to be and when, high-end open talent workers embrace a lifestyle of flexibility and autonomy.

The COVID-19 pandemic further accelerated this trend, as people have discovered the freedom to work from anywhere, even internationally. Yet, many companies fail to recognize that work is just one part of life, not the whole.

A Pendulum Shift for Companies

To quote John, “The war for talent is over, and talent has won.” Whether this is a temporary or semi-permanent state remains to be seen. Nonetheless, we now have digital tools and technologies that connect workers to the best ideas, people, and resources, breaking down geographic barriers. There is no longer a need to be in big cities like New York and San Francisco. This has profound implications for company leaders, who can now tap into a variable cost, agile workforce to drive faster innovation.

The Future of Work: Connecting Talent

At the heart of this transformation is the power of human connection. Entrepreneurship has always been about building one-on-one relationships, and the future of work is about giving people the choice to live their lives and collaborate with others in ways that align with their aspirations. The potential of open talent is vast, and the future holds exciting possibilities for both individuals and organizations.

Listen to the full episode.

John Winsor Quote Outthinkers Podcast

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