Urgent Futures
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Urgent Futures

Building Workable Futures

Institute for the Future Fellows prototype Positive Platforms for tomorrow’s on-demand economy

We must remember though that on-demand apps are more than platforms for consumption.

Positive Platforms are systems for on-demand work that not only maximize profits for their owners but also provide dignified and sustainable livelihoods for those who work on them.

  • Positive Platforms Identity: Map and analysis of the Italian ecosystem” by Valeria Loreti, Daniele Bucci, Chiara Agamennone (Milan, Italy)
    Focused on defining a “positive platform” by identifying the key attributes or affordances, the team categorized and analyzed platforms within the Italian ecosystem. This analysis, explained in their white paper and this Medium post, is meant to be a proof-of-concept so that others may apply their survey, taxonomy, and glossary to other platforms.
  • Designing Positive Platforms: A Guide for a Governance-based Approach” by Ana Manzanedo and Alícia Trepat (Barcelona, Spain)
    Manzanedo and Trepat’s report examined 15 platforms through the lens of governance as an indicator of how equitable and beneficial a platform could be for those who participate as workers. They outline five key “positive design principles to build caring and inclusive organizations” as follows: Inclusion, Participation, Autonomy, and Recognition of the generated value.
  • Recruiting Worker­ Owners to Loconomics Cooperative” by Denise Cheng, Matt Schaefer, and Joshua Danielson (United States)
    This team studied an existing independent cooperative of service professionals, Loconomics, that links local service providers — massage therapists, florists, dog walkers, and others with new clients. They conducted a user research study with 1,000 service professionals to gather data on various value propositions and then used Google Analytics to analyze the success of new campaigns, marketing efforts, and outreach materials. Their study informed the development of new landing pages and marketing language for Loconomics.
  • Glide: Concept Evaluation Report” by David Pollard, Reuben Jayawardene and James Hyde (Dublin, Ireland)
    The team developed a prototype positive platform to link job seekers with disabilities to employers and support workers. Working with a large non-profit called Rehab Group, the fellows conducted user interviews (workers and employers) to identify specific needs and gaps. As part of their final report, they also produced branding and wireframes for the Glide platform.

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Dispatches from Institute for the Future, a nonprofit thinktank in Silicon Valley that helps organizations and the public think about the future to make better decisions in the present.

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Marina Gorbis

Executive Director, Institute for the Future; author, Nature of the Future. www.iftf.org