Redesigning the Future of Work

The Unreasonable Group launches “Unreasonable FUTURE” to encourage entrepreneurs to unlock human potential worldwide.

THREE ORGANIZATIONS ARE making a bid to design a better, brighter future of work. They include the Fossil Foundation, a social venture investment firm; Pearson, a higher education products and services provider; and The Dock, a multidisciplinary research hub operated by the global consultancy firm Accenture. All three have joined the Unreasonable Group, an organization promoting a “new brand of entrepreneurship for the 21st century,” in its launch of Unreasonable FUTURE. Unreasonable FUTURE is a multiyear initiative that will invite innovators and entrepreneurs to work together “to design a future in which people and technology work side-byside to solve workplace challenges and unlock human potential everywhere,” according to a statement.

Unreasonable FUTURE coordinators have selected 175 ventures operating in 180 countries to participate in the initiative as “Unreasonable Companies,” defined as startups striving to disrupt the status quo. Each of these ventures has secured at least US$10 million in financing or has generated $10 million in revenue. These criteria, according to the website, reflect Unreasonable FUTURE’s focus “on scaling what works.” The companies involved include Aspect Biosystems, which is using 3-D bio-printing to manufacture functional human tissues; and Esoko, which is providing African farmers with detailed information about crop cultivation, crop prices, and weather forecasts so that they can increase their yields.

The initiative is particularly interested in startups focused on training underserved youth and upskilling people to fill the jobs of the future. Among these ventures are Workbay, which has created a portal where low-income and underskilled individuals can find jobs and training; and Boxspring, a global media company that has created short, Hollywood-style training videos.

“Addressing the global wealth gap is one of the grand challenges of our time, and ... we must find a way to ensure the workplace of tomorrow is inclusive and equitable,” says Daniel Epstein, founder and CEO of Unreasonable Group.

As part of Unreasonable FUTURE, representatives from the 175 startups will attend two-week workshops where they can interact with mentors, specialists, and each other. The workshops are intended to provide participants with greater access to resources, as well as “induct the entrepreneurs into a lifetime of support.” The objective, say the initiative’s founders, is to help each startup maximize its impact on the world.

By supporting young founders and startups that aim to train the next generation, Unreasonable FUTURE aims to empower underserved youths and help them thrive in the new economy, says Janiece Evans-Page, vice president of Fossil Group Global Philanthropy and Sustainability. “Unreasonable FUTURE,” she adds, “will help reshape the pathways whereby youth learn, work, and succeed, with a goal of impacting one million young lives by 2021.”

Unreasonable FUTURE’s first program took place this spring in San Jose, California. Visit the organization's website to see a list of participants.