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press release: Discussion led by Dylan Best, come and join in a interesting conversation in this event of the Marxist Student Association and the International Marxist Tendency.



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The secret to faster innovation: white-collar gig workers




According to a recent FT article, the speed and depth of COVID into a companies P&L has been so cataclysmic, that 20% of all European companies will exhaust all of their working capital, severely hampering their ability to contribute back to renewed growth.

It is having an impact on corporate innovation teams. When we interviewed 300+ C-suite executives for our recent white paper, an overwhelming majority said they were cutting innovation budgets. They also said lack of funding was stopping effective innovation inside the business.

But there is a way of keeping innovation going — even with these limited budgets. The answer lies in the growing gig economy. Increasingly, this is not just about delivery drivers and taxis, but people who are offering professional skills.


If companies can harness the trend to create a marketplace for talent, they can run innovation projects even in more straightened times.

Being able to access a talent pool at a faster, more cost-effective way than recruiting employees, can help drive faster innovation. It enables companies to go from only being able to run 3-4 experiments to running 30-40, building diverse teams across the world at speed and overcome many of the normal internal challenges when trying to release employees onto these ventures.

There are a number of ways companies can get started:

  • Harness departing talent As we see organisations making significant cuts to their workforce, how can innovation teams help build a startup outskilling pathway, that provides those who are leaving that want to build their own startup the ability to access existing IP or challenge areas and offer support and a potential chance for future investment or partnership opportunities?A great example of this in action is Nokia. Nine years ago, Nokia cut over 45% of its jobs. It formed ‘Bridge,’ an entrepreneurial stream for employees that had an idea for a startup. Since its inception, Bridge has helped over 1000 start-ups get their beginning. Out of the companies started, nearly 20% entered into commercial agreements with Nokia as they were solving key challenges facing the business and actually helped accelerate their innovation.
  • Use your alumni network Using talent that already knows the organisation can help bypass some of the difficulties that startup partners can have with corporate bureaucracy. Former employees can bring some of the new skills they have acquired since leaving the company to solve some of the challenges they already understand well.
  • Create a new marketplace The existing freelance platforms out there don’t cater for this skillset, therefore there is an opportunity to create one that helps access a global talent base that enables innovation to occur at an unprecedented scale for the organisation and respond rapidly to shifting demands by market.EY started this thinking back in 2015. Jeff Wong, Global Chief Innovation Officer at EY recognised on-demand workers as “a lever we could pull five years ago” to “a key part of our strategy.” In 2017 his team established GigNow, a platform used internally to find contract talent. It’s now live in 35 countries, with 36,000 workers registered. In his words: “there are all these projects around the world that we couldn’t take on before, but we can now — because now we have a talent base.”

However, to be clear in pursuing this type of strategy, there are some critical things to consider:

  • A new business model is required. A day rate/project fee is not a sustainable approach, it doesn’t create the attract the right type of talent needed for this to be successful, companies will need to become comfortable with equity models and potential co-investment.
  • The core innovation team moves from doing to managing. This is a significant shift, this approach means that for it to be successful, the core team needs to manage the teams and the portfolio and not be the ones creating the ventures. It will require a different skillset for the core team.
  • It’s not a binary choice, the reality is there are some markets that make this approach a lot easier to execute in, others where this could be a long term vision, so innovation leaders will need to identify the markets where to pilot this.
  • Training is required, to improve the chances of success you need to ensure that everyone has the foundational skillset, tools and — most critically — the mindset. If done correctly this training can help scaled more widely and build a continuing talent of pipeline from places such as universities and research institutes

The time is now to be pioneering such an approach, as companies face these times of rapid disruption, it requires businesses to quickly evolve. Pivoting models and developing new products or routes to market can be achieved faster, making innovation teams more agile and able to respond more quickly and at scale to a larger number of new business opportunities.


Chris Locke is chief executive of the innovation consultancy Rainmaking. 

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Is The Gig Economy Over For These Stocks?




In many respects, 2020 and the array of unprecedented circumstances that have colored it have blown the doors open for gig-economy businesses. On-demand transportation, personal shoppers, food and grocery delivery and an array of other companies that cater to personal consumer needs through a workforce of contractors and part-timers.

In the grips of the pandemic, share prices in stocks like GrubHub, Inc. (NYSE: GRUB), Etsy Inc. (NASDAQ: ETSY) and Uber, Inc. (NYSE: UBER) has shown strength as traders anticipate a future in which workers and consumers become unbound from conventional work and retail spaces.

However, for as much as the pandemic has done in normalizing the likes of Door Dash and Postmats, other forces have emerged in the regulatory and economic spheres that also put the future of these enterprises and those like them into question.

Given the conflicting forces at play in the currently high-growth gig-economy field, traders should look to whatever tools they can to anticipate whatever shifts the market may bear. A free upcoming webinar from trading research platform VantagePoint will look at similar high-profile industries through the lens of its predictive A.I. software.

In anticipation of the virtual demonstration, let’s take a look at some of the forces at play for and against the gig-economy now and in the future.

Of Contractors And Employees

Because momentum is seemingly on the side of these gig enterprises at the moment, it is beneficial to examine the headwinds mounting against the nascent industry.

Currently, there is really just one foreseeable threat facing the industry, but it is a big one that only promises to grow and evolve in coming months. That threat is a recently passed California bill, Bill AB5, which requires these gig-economy companies like Uber and Lyft, Inc. (NASDAQ: LYFT) to designate their contract workers as employees.

In practice, this means these workers will be entitled to basic protections, most significantly they will be guaranteed minimum wage protection and unemployment insurance. And while California is not the first state to make this distinction — New York, Oregon and Alaska have each indicated the levels of control these companies exert over their workers cross the line into some form of employment — it is the first to enforce that distinction.

Click here to reserve your complimntary spot and learn how A.I.-enabled tools could improve your accuracy

And there is every indication that more states, including those mentioned above, will follow California’s lead. Couple this with a prevalent trend toward rising minimum wage levels in an array of states across the country and the low-cost workforce many gig companies rely on to keep overhead costs low may be in jeopardy.

This may in fact be why Lyft, among all of the companies listed previously, has seen the most downward pressure in its stock price. The ride-share company is the only stock in the red for 2020, and it is the one with the most direct exposure to its fleet of drivers-come-employees.

Labor (Dis)Unions

But Lyft’s troubles are not the gig economy’s, and many of the other tech-driven companies leveraging their decentralized workforces have attempted to anticipate or circumvent the problem of treating their laborforce like employees.

Uber, for instance, has managed to keep its equity in the black through 2020, albeit by a slim margin. While the company shares a great deal of overlap with Lyft, it has also attempted to diversify outside of purely ride-sharing in its acquisition of Postmates. And while that enterprise also shares the risk of tighter revenue margins due to Bill AB5 and its potential followers, Uber has also invested heavily in autonomous vehicle and logistics technology, something that may end up removing the worker/employee distinction entirely.

And that is likely why other technology-based workforce solutions have seen their stocks rise through 2020 despite the ill omen represented by AB5. Share price in online marketplace Etsy is at an all-time high thanks to a rash of new users enriching the platform as a whole.

Discover how VantagePoint’s predictive analysis could help you avoid potential losses

That marketplace structure has also helped stocks like Upwork Inc. (NASDAQ: UPWK) and Fiverr International Ltd (NYSE: FVRR), except instead of marketing handmade goods, their inventory is the growing array of independent workers now cut off from the typical 9 to 5, either by choice or by the unfortunate circumstances of 2020. In any case, these workers and the websites they are now compelled to market themselves on have arrived at a moment when the demand for quick and cheap labor is in vogue.

Putting The Future To Work

Of course, the natural extension of AB5 to other states, or even nationally,  could throw the future of contract work at large into question, which itself would hamper the seeming success of the likes of Upwork and Fiverr.

Add to that the question of how strong a consumer economy built on the back of cheap and dirty white-collar labor can be in the long-term and the gig economy model becomes even more hazy and uncertain than it currently is.

Hence the need among traders to anticipate the unexpected and draw educated inferences from wherever possible. While drivers, deliverypeople and office drones might be a dime-a-dozen, clever implementation of technology is worth its weight in stock brokers.

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© 2020 Benzinga does not provide investment advice. All rights reserved.

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Picking a Pandemic Side Gig Takes Hustle – Scottsbluff Star Herald




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