"[The future of humanity] depends upon how quickly individuals and groups committed to a sustainable future can gain sufficient strength, skill, and resolve by connecting with one another to express and achieve their hopes and dreams for a better world." — Al Gore

1. Work in the 21st century is about collaborating to solve real-world problems at scale

As a society, it has never been more important to face our shared problems with new ways of thinking, understanding, and working together.

We believe the COVID19 crisis marks a watershed moment when the economy accelerates its shift from merely producing products and services that satisfy customer needs to collaborating to solve real-world problems at scale.

2. Collaboration is happening across boundaries in networks of teams instead of organizations

Real-world problems are often complex, unique, and interconnected, and they cannot be solved by a single product, project, or organization alone.

Instead, solving real-world problems calls us to collaborate across organizations, industries, disciplines, and geographies to improve our understanding of the problems and to devise effective solutions.


To manage the complexity, we also need to work in networks of teams instead of monolith organizations: teams of individuals, teams of teams, and teams of teams of teams, up to society as a whole.

This transformation is already happening. New teams are created at a rapid pace. Many of us belong to multiple teams at the same time. The teams interact with each other. Old teams that have fulfilled their missions break up quietly.

The structures of the industrial age are gradually dissolving into local and global teams, but there are many ways to do it. Some of them are much better than others.

3. We need better ways to navigate networks of impact-driven teams

Fluid networks of teams are key to solving the grand challenges of the networked age.

However, it is still too hard to navigate these networks — to discover who is working on what on a level of detail that allows us to connect and collaborate in new, meaningful ways.

This is because most digital services are not designed for boundary-crossing networks of teams. Instead, they are designed for the boundaried units of the industrial age - for industries, product categories, companies, jobs, and CVs.

What the world now needs are leaders, storytellers, community-builders, toolmakers, and data wizards that can help us to break the boundaries and to engage with the networks of teams committed to solving real-world problems:

  1. What are the most important real-world problems to solve? (vs. industries) e.g. problems to solve before we can test for COVID19 nationwide / ****problems to solve to make California carbon neutral by 2045?
  2. Who are the teams working on these problems? (vs. organizations) e.g. startups, communities, project teams, teams inside organizations, teams between organizations, teams that coordinate teams
  3. How can we best help the teams meet their needs? (vs. jobs)

The potential for much greater impact and meaning is available for us all. We just need to unlock it.

Links & references

Real-world problems





Join us at


With ❤