Visions for the Future of Work

2000 visitors, 6 cities, 6 dicussion rounds and many, many insights into people’s hopes and worries regarding the digitalisation of work… this is a first tally of our “Durchblick” popup dialogue-centre on the future of work. It toured through Germany from October 2018 to February 2019. We are happy the exhibition could initiate many dicussions about tomorrow’s work trends and show people they can actively participate in designing the future they want!

Digitalisation brings many social and ecological benefits. It allows us to work from home, avoids ecologically damaging traffic, automates many standardised processes and makes work life safer – just think about robots that do hazardous maneuvers in factories. At the same time, digitalisation raises many questions, some of them concerning. What about our data? Who protects it? Does working in a home office mean that my boss can call me at any time, day and night? Could my job be automated to the point where I am no longer needed?

In February, the CSCP’s Wissenschaftsjahr 2018 project “Durchblick” ended. During the project we – together with the Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment and Energy and the Folkwang University of the Arts – designed a very special exhibition: in three scenario worlds, we presented developments, trends, and the future of different job worlds which are undergoing major changes due to digitalisation. Which technologies are going to make a  home office a true alternative for many? What is the “dementia ball”? What is a Self-Driving Monitoring Agent? How can we co-design the work life we want and use digitalisation in a way that serves not only us, but also considers social and ecological impacts?

The exhibition traveled through the six German cities of Wuppertal, Gelsenkirchen, Hamburg, Kiel, Hildesheim, and Cologne. Using pop-up stores (vacant storefronts), it invited citizens – workers, pupils, students, and retirees to experience the exhibition. At the exhibition, they could experience the future of work and dicuss it with experts and other visitors. They had the chance to give their opinion on future trends and ask the questions that were on their minds. Here are some of their hopes and worries in their own words:

Durchblick Soundbox

The project was part of the Science Year 2018: Working Life of the Future, an initiative of the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research aimed at bringing scientific research findings to the people and to invite them to share their point of view.

The tour is not over! The exhibition has found a temporary location and awaits a new challenge where the participatory formats realise their full potential. Please reach out if you are interested in the exhibition and would like to learn more about its future travels!

Contact Imke Schmidt for further information.


Photo by Charlotte Wulff