The idea of an unstructured event of some form that brings together work, workplace, social business and people-centred thinking emerged from the amazing connetctinghr, and is probably at least a couple of years old. Its logo owes much to conversation with (its creator) Simon Heath and Mark Eltringham, and the most recent atempts to make something happen with Doug Shaw and Perry Timms (to name a few) centred on the idea of a sort of open-mic session occurring simultaneously in London and Manchester.

But it was in a chance e-mail exchange with Perry about an event coming up next year that the idea of what workstock is finally landed: a pop-up event, a plug-in if you will, that happens at other events.

The closest metaphor I can think of is the Barbarians. All of those playing will for a fleeting moment don the luminescence of the shirt, but get to wear their own socks.

And so workstock makes its first appearance as an hour-long pecha kucha session at Workplace Trends on 15 October in London, featuring seven (yep) exceptional thinkers on work, workplace and social business. There may even be a few more to add, if they can make it. I will leave it to the organisers to tell you more, but for now here is a little more on workstock:

What it is

  • An ever-evolving idea – it has no form or structure, no organisation of any form – not even one of those altogether-modern fauxcracies that dig up old ideas and re-badge them
  • A trojan mouse – this post best describes what I mean
  • An invitation for anyone with an idea to get involved and take part – but please bear in mind it wont come chasing you, its up to you to get involved
  • Irregular – no programme, no timetable, no pressing need to exist at all – it just has to be right
  • Ephemeral – with an indeterminate life – either we’ll know when its done, or it just won’t interest anyone anymore (If it even does now, that may just be a little presumptuous)

What its not

  • A movement – the market for movements is more saturated than otter’s cravat, the planet really doesn’t need another one
  • A hashtag – the tag is the host conference or event that it supports, promotes and respects by using its hashtag
  • An industry-specific or multi-industry idea – because many of those taking part or who will take part don’t belong to anything or any specific industry, so that’s all irrelevant
  • A competitor – its not intended to replace or upstage anything or anyone, only to complement others
  • Disruptive – because that’s just such an over-used, lank term for safe, middle class rebellion
  • A vehicle for anything or anyone – the minute it threatens to become so, its over
  • A receptacle for an idea – the ideas are those of the participants, it has no “shell” phiolosophy of its own, and won’t be lobbying parliament anytime soon

So there it is. Or, rather, here it comes.


One thought on “Workstock

  1. Neil, it strikes me that this is a people-centred model of how many individuals (esp knowledge workers) are now interacting with organisations and professions in the contemporary world.
    i.e., they dip in, and dip out, to suit their own purposes; they think for themselves, not necessarily an organisation to which they fleetingly belong
    Some points made above don’t work so well….
    – if you don’t have a twitter hashtag, how will people get to hear about it and join in?
    – or will you just have an old-fashioned mailing list?

    As a ‘trainee academic’ it is also the antithesis of the very structured way in which academia continuously reviews what has been written, and builds on the existing body of knowledge…..I may just be compelled to write things down 🙂

    Great idea…I’m in….and I hope to be at Workstock#1 at Nigel’s event.
    cheers, @paulcarder

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