Today, when you take a job, you join a company and become part of the brand.The huge number of workers facing this personal crisis is not their fault. This massive change is not a normal business cycle. The world has changed—Americans' garages are jam-packed—we don’t need to make more and technology is doing more with less. Automation and saturation should signal the entrance to the kind of Utopia we dreamed of where supply surpasses demand, we can relax and reap the rewards. Technology can do all the work while we enjoy a leisure lifestyle. The trick is the transition. We are stumbling into a post-economic era. The economy shift from production to knowledge is shearing the fabric of our lives. We’re unable put people back in their old jobs, because robots will either be doing them or the workers don't have the skills run them. Real estate and intellectual property are worth way more than their hours. For the last 300 industrialized years, jobs have been the organizing principle of most people's lives—now we have to figure out something else to give meaning and a mechanism to share the bounty. People need to feel like contributing members of the community and we need a new way of distributing the wealth. This "wicked problem" of figuring out how to make the transition is not a job for economists or Wall Street: The innovations necessary will come from multi-disciplinary teams. Designers' skills and talents designing brands, places, products, experiences and services—sometimes contracted to "proserves" or "serducts"—have given designers practice with these kinds of opportunities. Considering how to reinvent jobs is well within the designer's expertise sphere. More good news for designers is that with or without business as usual, there will always be jobs for us. Someone always needs help. Nothing is ever good enough! There is always a problem that needs a better design. Thinking ahead is our job. Maybe that’s it: In Utopia, everyone will be a designer! Let's design a better future!
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