Open Assembly was born in 2015 as a community organization. From the beginning, the community included platforms, freelancers, and enterprises using open talent. This community began to accelerate in 2018 when a handful of early adopters met at the Crowd Academy event at Harvard hosted by Karim Lakhani and LISH (the Laboratory for Innovation Sciences at Harvard). Proceeding the event a handful of people began to meet on a regular basis to discuss the future of open talent and create a common language and common processes so that we could help scale the movement.
Throughout 2019, the group blossomed with many organizations joining to support the effort. Our goal was to host an event in 2020 to bring this burgeoning group together in person. Unfortunately, the pandemic happened. As many of us struggled to pivot our businesses to make them more digital during the pandemic, the community ballooned as we all needed support in making this transition. We decided to make the monthly Open Assembly meetings into weekly meet-ups. And with that, more people found the community and joined.
In the summer of 2020, Sajiv Nair, from Zurich Insurance, asked, “It’s great that we are having these conversations, but what are we going to do about it?” The Open Assembly community, came together and collectively decided to start The Center for the Transformation of Work with the dedication to becoming the community arm of Open Assembly to establish standards and share insights while Open Assembly focused on creating momentum for the movement by creating a process, with LISH, to help establish an organizational adoption process that has been memorialized in the upcoming Harvard Business Press book Open Talent.
While Open Assembly has been focused on creating this methodology and helping companies adopt it, the community continued the monthly calls under the banner of the Center for the Transformation of Work. The goal of the CTW has been to create a platform where not only community discussions can happen, but also a place where ideas can be exchanged and members can build their own businesses.
As this community has continued to thrive, Open Assembly has been aligned with the goal of transforming work for one billion people by 2025. In our research and working with organizations, we have been convinced that the only means to achieving this objective is fostering open talent platforms’ development. These platforms serve as a nexus for freelancers and clients seeking to connect with one another.
Over the past year, we have found that maintaining two distinct brands, Open Assembly and the Center for the Transformation of Work, has been challenging. Therefore, based on valuable feedback from our community, the workstream leaders have agreed that in order to build even more momentum it is critical that all community efforts be aligned under one brand, instead of two.
Open Assembly is deeply committed to the open talent platform industry. Our aim is to facilitate the widespread adoption of these platforms by businesses of all sizes by simplifying and streamlining the process, making it easier for companies, and more effective for individuals who choose to work this way. We aim to significantly increase the volume of business demand for open talent platforms which would have a positive impact on freelancers worldwide to reach our goal of transforming work for a billion people by 2025.
The key to scaling the use of open talent is the creation of standards and consistency as well as providing a safe space for open talent platforms, freelancers, and platform customers. This has been the focus of the CTW efforts and for 2023 we wish to continue this emphasis under the Open Assembly brand using the name Open Assembly Community.
To maximize our impact we will make the following enhancement for 2023:
- We will be eliminating the paid membership option – this community is open to anyone interested in or involved in the open talent platform industry (platforms, businesses, organizations, freelancers, etc.).
- We will continue to hold community calls “by the community, for the community” that feature fresh perspectives and engaging discussions on timely topics.
- We will be reviewing existing workstreams and remain open to restructuring them to achieve greater impact.
- We will be focusing on the Trusted Talent Platform Partner program to establish standards of trust.
- We will be organizing an industry event, Transform Work, that brings together the open talent platform community in the fall of 2023.
John Healy has played an instrumental role in conceptualizing and leading the CTW. In 2023 he will step aside as CTW’s Managing Partner but will continue to play a key role in the Open Assembly Community. John will also lead various Open Assembly client projects and other strategic initiatives.
As John noted, “With a community as diverse in scope and reach as we are building, it is critical that different voices take the lead throughout our journey! I was happy to take the mantle from our Founder, John Winsor, and look forward to remaining engaged in the next chapter of this thriving community.”
The workstreams will continue to be led by Link Duarte – Advocacy, Ashley Ryall, and Mark Hannant – Communications, and Standards and Accreditation with Hannah Young and Bryan Pena. San Rahi will guide Community Strategy. Ashley Ryall will also be playing a key role in the management and curation of the community meetings. Brandon Dwight will be the main point of contact for the OA Community.
Open Assembly will be actively promoting the community and the Transform Work event with the aim of attracting at least 1,000 new members in 2023. Those who wish to support the community can do so voluntarily without any pressure or expectation. A portion of the profits generated by the Transform Work event will be distributed as grants to community initiatives such as The Brackets Club, Freelancers Union, etc.
We are optimistic that simplifying our message will aid us in our continued goal of “Transforming Work for 1 Billion People by 2025”. Our objective is to make the open talent platform industry more accessible, efficient, and impactful thereby helping more people to find fulfilling work opportunities. We are grateful for your continued support and look forward to working together to achieve this goal.
For those of you who have joined the CTW community, you will be added to the OA Community calendar invite and communication list.