The term New Work emerged during the USA’s third industrial revolution in the 1970s. The Austrian-American philosopher of social sciences Prof. Dr. Frithjof Bergmann and his colleagues researched new possibilities for former workers of the automobile industry, who had lost their job due to automation. In their Institute for New Work, they helped factory workers to figure out what they wanted to achieve in life. The most common answer was “to make a difference“, or in other words, to make a meaningful and significant contribution to society.
Now, 50 years after its first appearance, what makes this wish so relevant again? Artificial intelligence and automation are fundamentally changing the work structures of many people. Classic work patterns are increasingly disappearing, creating space for new, flexible work concepts. This is where the basic ideas of New Work are flourishing, such as meaningfulness, but also personal responsibility, and community.