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April 30, 2020 @ 10:00 am (MST)

Meeting Agenda

This week Open Assembly founder and CEO John Winsor dove in to the question: How do we address people’s skills, get them upskilled, get them reskilled, as well as change curricula and teaching approaches accordingly?

Guests on the call include:

Chris Stanton – Harvard Business School

Steve Rader – NASA

David Messinger – Topcoder

Michael Burdick – Paro

Balaji Bondili

Simon Hill – Wazoku

Perry Aybalik- Unilever

John Healy – Kelly

Dean Bosche – Toptal

Mike Morris – Topcoder

Dyan Finkhousen

Paul Estes –

Call Chat Transcript:

00:10:01 Wyatt Nordstrom: 1976 – the year I was born
00:10:38 John Healy: whole loota yellow this week…
00:10:53 Open Assembly: You’re just a youngster Wyatt!
00:11:28 Dyan Finkhousen: Love SGN – so great!!
00:11:55 Balaji : me too!
00:11:55 perri aybalik: love the hat John!
00:15:49 Open Assembly: Thanks, Perri.
00:16:22 Open Assembly:
00:17:24 Steve Rader: Credentials based on data collection where ML/AI can start playing a part with matching is a big part of the future of this.
00:17:32 Arthur Ransier: Sorry that I am late folks!
00:17:33 Ashley Beaudoin: I think a lot of the popular online learning platforms have opened up their courses for free, recently, where they were historically fee-based. Pretty cool!
00:18:06 Chris Stanton: Precisely—there are a ton of curricular changes now as a result!
00:18:28 Open Assembly:
00:19:33 Open Assembly: Steve just referenced
00:19:51 Tom Cooke: Unemployment went over 30 million this week or around 20% of the workforce. Would be interesting to understand if 20% of the workforce doesn’t have the digital literacy required to stay employed in these type of conditions. Our platform is looking at what skills are missing since there are so many unemployed but still, in my industry of aerospace, over 10,000 well paying jobs that remain unfilled.
00:21:28 Gavin McClafferty: @Steve Rader – 100%. If companies can take a longer term view, sharing resources and mobilizing talent will breakdown existing barriers / power relationships.
00:23:36 Dyan Finkhousen: I built a w2 to 1099 education program and partnered with GE HR to host the webinar sessions during the restructure waves… was just focused on the needs of our GE employees, so just scratched the surface… but was very well received.
00:23:42 Open Assembly:
00:23:43 Open Assembly:
00:24:23 Open Assembly:
00:24:27 Michael Morris: Rader has been asking us to build universal ID for a while
00:24:46 John Healy: @Dave…happy to connect on this, big fan of the emsi team and the ways they are using data!!
00:24:58 Arthur Ransier: More than an offering of freelance management platforms, the role of services providers (MSPs. staffing agencies, delivery partners, etc.) in the ecosystem needs to evolve and include talent curation as a part of the core business services framework. This must be enabled by candidate nurturing technology. And this whole process is very similar to the shift we’ve seen in the last decade in B2B marketing… the shift to account-based marketing (i.e., the shift from blanket marketing to targeted marketing)
00:25:17 Chuck Hamilton: There is a large effort in Block Chain for Learning and Unique personal identity models. IBM is all over this with Western Governors and others
00:25:19 John Healy: Good examples from UberWorx here too….their challenge was getting companies to accept “part time” workers…4 hour shifts
00:25:47 Gavin McClafferty: @Michael Morris – Will you underpin it with blockchain? This will be the beginning of a something incredible!
00:26:03 John Healy: yes Chuck….Velocity Career Labs is another….there is also a taskforce under the World Employment Confederation looking at the role of blockchain
00:26:05 David Messinger: @gavin, yes we are looking to use block chain
00:26:17 Eugene Ivanov: Speaking of universal ID, there is a (London-based?) company, TiiQu ( that promotes blockchain-based credentials, certifications, etc.
00:26:24 Gavin McClafferty: @David – awesome!
00:26:42 Dyan Finkhousen: Great point @Arthur – portable / expert-centric benefits and professional development infrastructure are a critical next step.
00:27:07 Sheila Mahoney: blockchain credentials platform:
00:27:08 Jeff Cinadr: @Steve Rader – I love the idea and we’re working hard at Upwork to provide economic opportunity to those who have been affected by the pandemic. The issue we’re experiencing is not necessarily having the talent sign up on the platform (it has ramped up to tens of thousands per day) but rather having enough projects for all those people to work on. Our sales team is talking with as many companies as we can but we still need more and bigger organizations to get onboard with the future of work.
00:27:44 Dyan Finkhousen: Thanks @Sheila!
00:27:51 Michael Morris: Topcoder also participating in this effort to help people find opportunities:
00:28:16 David Messinger: Gavin, ASU, SFDC, WGU others are looking at shared blockchain as well
00:30:36 Dyan Finkhousen: Odem has been building a blockchain-based credentialing framework for students and looking for opportunities to extend those frameworks into the enterprise space.
00:30:48 Open Assembly:
00:31:23 Open Assembly:
00:31:27 Steve Rader: @Jeff Cinadr… totally get the demand issue. This is where I was hoping we could use the recent events as incentives for having HR departments sign their folks up (maybe with special account) so that they could be engaged if needed…. Also on the demand side.. .engaging those like Dominos and grocery stores to engage the platforms to pre-train/certify or identify workers that could step in as demand needed.
00:32:22 Steve Rader: So get folks signed up and engaged now… and hopefully as a side result, also start to use the platforms in other ways outside of emergency events.
00:33:23 Andy Barnes: Echoing @simon hill we are looking to utilise GC Index to assess the impact of leaders on a business and therefore planning what shape you want the business to have post covid.
00:33:40 Gavin McClafferty: @Simon Hill – my concern is that many business leaders are now focused on improving efficiency not resiliency! There is a cost to standing still.
00:34:45 Dyan Finkhousen: @Gavin – Growth mindset and resiliency are the most important characteristics for post-COVID business
00:35:07 Tom Cooke: @Steve – in the military we had additional duties where we were on lists for jobs other than your primary one depending on what scenario you were training for. I.e. Program manager by day, security forces augmentee. After 9/11 many military folks were not necessarily doing their “day job” or what they were experts at
00:35:16 Gavin McClafferty: @Dyan – 100% agree. Unfortunately not what I’m seeing in a lot of industries.
00:35:18 Balaji : @Jeff Cinadr – Upwork is also a part of the Marriott initiative. totally agree that we can’t stuff supply without promoting demand. I am working with Marc Hosein and Eric Gilpin from.
00:35:37 Simon Hill:
00:35:44 Simon Hill: Welcome any thoughts
00:36:03 Arthur Ransier: Great points! I had a similar conversation recently around incremental improvement of things that don’t work… you can double 0 50 times, and it’s still 0
00:37:04 Open Assembly:
00:37:43 Jeff Cinadr: @Balaji – Great to hear you’re working with Eric and Marc
00:37:50 Gavin McClafferty: @Arthur Ransier – exactly! My question is ‘in’ or ‘all in.’ Be ruthless with your priorities but take an approach based on strategic agility.
00:38:25 Chuck Hamilton: It seems obvious that leaders are going to need to know how to lead in a virtual world. The tools, the best practices and models of virtual work.
00:38:38 John Healy: also people want “human agility”
00:39:00 Open Assembly:
00:39:19 Open Assembly:
00:40:44 Theresa Marquis: Rigid job descriptions are driven by efficiency prioritization.
00:41:13 Gavin McClafferty: @John Healy – it will be interesting to see this evolve. Empathy, upskilling and a world where our primary needs are met will come more into focus. Courtney E Martin delivered an incredible talk on TED a few years back on the New American Dream.
00:41:20 Open Assembly:
00:45:01 Chuck Hamilton: 8 out of 10 people I have spoke to in the last month told me they are taking a course during COVID
00:45:15 Arthur Ransier: @John — great points! I am exploring opportunities for apprenticeships to provide cost-effective training to entry-level employees, while simultaneously building career tracks and ensure we have the most qualified talent
00:46:47 Open Assembly:
00:46:48 Open Assembly:
00:47:10 Carin-Isabel Knoop: schools and academic institutions provide other important societal services besides teaching (hard) skills. resiliency requires soft skills and self-awareness. what are tools that we can use there? for some the social aspect is so strong that they will postpone return to campus @john on human agility and @chuck on leading (yourself and others) virtually
00:48:16 Open Assembly:
00:48:34 Open Assembly:
00:50:30 Balaji : on the next call, let’s all talk about the new skills that we are learning.
00:50:48 David Papp: @John, re call centers, over time we plan to train our home-based call center agents to ‘superhumans’. We are preparing them get ready for automation and get to the point where they are managing the AI feedback.
00:50:50 Tom Cooke: Love it Michael! That’s why Subway had so much success. Up until they came around you pretty much had to eat the burger or sandwich someone else told you to eat
00:51:10 John Healy: fully aligned @Carin….if anything, the societal services are becoming the more important point of value as the “hard/technical skills” will always require re-skilling
00:51:17 Chuck Hamilton: Beenova is using it’s AI to recomend best of curated content targeting 21st century skills. The idea is to help learners sort through the mess and drive self selection through every learning moment.
00:52:28 Jon Fredrickson: @Mike the freedom of choice in platforms to choose the work you want to do and adding skill training to that model offers an instant gig and instant ups killing capability
00:52:34 Open Assembly:
00:52:48 Andy Barnes: The UK Government offers some courses now for free Python development too….. who wanted that?
00:53:13 Jon Fredrickson: *not ups killing…up-skilling
00:53:49 Open Assembly: LOL! @jon Fredrickson
00:54:43 Ray Foote: @Balaji I agree on your topic idea. I think an opportunity for team leads will be to ‘integrate’ the experience of working remotely. ‘what are we learning during this time? how does this experience change the way you look at your job/role/business?
00:57:38 Sheila Mahoney: Demand as the problem=HR playing a zero risk game and focusing only on full time employees
00:57:50 Open Assembly:
00:58:05 Open Assembly:
00:58:09 Tom Cooke: is there also a way the marketplace can provide a relief valve for the furloughed employee…meaning if that employer wants that person back but can’t pay the full salary can they put a couple freelance type projects on the marketplace that keeps the employee going in support of the employer who wants to bring them back as soon as they can
00:58:43 Steve Rader: On the supply side: Can this be a benefit that companies provide to employees like a gym membership? HR will sign you up on a freelance platform so if our demand drops, we can quickly find you another source of income.
00:59:35 Steve Rader: On the demand side: Can this be marketed to companies as a surge or contingency plan? Sign up with us and provide some training or pre-certification and we’ll get you surge capability when you need it with minimal friction.
01:00:43 Andy Barnes: @steverader there is a conflict in terms of whether you are employed or a supplier though. My employer could find themselves responsible for tax even though I’m freelancing elsewhere
01:00:57 Chuck Hamilton: The world describes the path that Paul is speaking about is called Experiential Learning. See
01:01:34 Dyan Finkhousen: One of the key challenges on the demand side is scalability. The abundance of choice on the supply side can introduce process inefficiency on the demand side.
01:01:49 John Healy: @Steve….very viable, but it also requires enough confidence by the employers that the workers aren’t going to abandon them….essentially, too many companies are fearful that if they expose their workforce to what is available in the new market, they will join that new market full time and not return
01:01:51 Steve Rader: @Andy… undoubtedly some issues to work… but it seems that the bulk of the infrastructure needed to do this exists …. possible.. .but not yet optimized.
01:03:06 Steve Rader: @John … agree on viability… I’ve wondered about whether an HR setup account for a freelancer might be different than a personal account…. Different rules?
01:03:10 Chuck Hamilton: Upskilling my Mandolin skills
01:03:15 Jeff Cinadr: I’ve been upskilling my backyard landscaping
01:03:40 Gavin McClafferty: Upskilling my DIY and home construction skills.
01:04:07 Dyan Finkhousen: Upskilling my tech support line skills
01:04:09 Carin-Isabel Knoop: upskilling my lack of grooming
01:04:11 Paul Estes:
01:04:13 Andy Barnes: @steve reader perhaps this is something ‘outplacement’ firms should be involved with … e.g. Lee Hecht Harrison Penna
01:04:34 Michael Morris: up skilling my chess skills (almost losing to an 11 year old).
01:04:41 Paul Estes: Remote work is the next diversity frontier –
01:05:08 Shilpa Shah: upskilling my cooking skills and variety of what we are eating as a family – so many restaurants have shared their recipes – its been great to try out lots of new options
01:05:12 Chuck Hamilton:
01:05:26 Balaji : Mike, let’s play a game online! maybe we create our own ELO in Open Assembly!
01:06:08 Marcelo Costa: Great point @SteveRader
01:06:23 John Healy: @Steve…that’s how the modern Temp Staffing industry was founded in 1946!
01:06:39 Arthur Ransier: Thanks for another great dialogue. Looking forward to connecting and discussing this further!
01:07:27 Simon Chan: Great session John! Thank you hosting as always
01:07:35 Chuck Hamilton: Thanks all
01:07:38 David Messinger: thanks for the great chat!
01:07:40 Sheila Mahoney: thank you!!
01:07:41 Dyan Finkhousen: Excellent – great to see everyone – stay well!!
01:07:45 Paul Estes: Thank you!!
01:07:48 David L. Papp: Thanks everyone!
01:07:49 Pernille Simmelkiær Larsen: Wonderful inspiration thank you!!
01:07:49 Andy Barnes: Thanks @john
01:07:56 Andy Barnes: Great hosting again
01:07:56 Marcelo Costa: Thank you John! This is AWESOME
01:07:57 Ashley Beaudoin: Look forward to this call every week! “Why Not?!”
01:07:59 Gavin McClafferty: Thanks so much! Have a good weekend.


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