HR Podcast

The Open Talent Report Podcast

This podcast explores all things open talent, direct sourcing, compliance and labour laws with industry experts. In each episode Connor speaks with CEO’s, founders and experts from staffing, technology and legal sectors around the world.

Below you will find all episodes of the podcast that have been released. If you want to get notified of future episodes make sure to subscribe to the podcast on Apple, Spotify, Google.

If you enjoy the podcast don’t forget to leave a review on your preferred podcasting app.

On this episode of the Open Talent Report we are delighted to welcome esteemed guest Sally Hunter, managing direct at Cielo Talent EMEA. 

Sally is a strategic, future-focused leader, passionate about high value human capital solutions that deliver to the business plan and create competitive advantage.

In the episode Connor and Sally discuss:

  • What problems or challenges is Cielo solving for
  • Labour Market Paradox – How to resolve it
  • Tools for winning the war on talent and helping organisations cope with talent scarcity
  • The Evolution of RPO
  • The impact of Covid on the workforce
  • What is in store for the Future of Work

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In this episode of the Open Talent Report, Connor Heaney is joined by CEO and Co-founder of Underpinned, Albert Azis-Clauson.

Albert is focussed on solving problems for the freelance economy through his work at UnderPinned, helping freelancers turn passion into business.

In this conversation the pair take a look at:

  • Alberts story from Ballet Dancer to CEO
  • The problems that underpinned is solving for freelancers
  • Upskilling low choice no choice workers
  • How to manage the Labour Market Paradox
  • Is education preparing people for the jobs of the future
  • Tapping into the African labour market
  • The effects of regulation on platform work

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Connor had the pleasure of chatting with Jon Younger, HR thought leader, Forbes contributor and independent consultant.

Jon Younger is a leader in all things future of work and independent work. During the podcast Connor and Jon discuss an array of topics from:

  • The Freelancer Revolution
  • The importance of putting freelancers first
  • The need for talent intelengence in business
  • The need for a focus on community and talent benefits

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On this episode of The Open Talent Report, Connor is joined by Pete A. Tiliakos.

Pete is the Global Payroll Product Strategy Leader at Alight Solutions, a leading cloud-based provider of integrated digital human capital and business solutions.

This is episode is full of some amazing insights into topics such as:

  • How  we can increase veteran’s participation in the workforce
  • What can be done to bring rehabilitated non violent criminals into the workforce?
  • How can we prepare people for the jobs of today and the jobs of the future
  • Is there a HR tech bubble?
  • Is borderless hireless hiring here to stay?
  • Can public talent marketplaces solve the talent shortages that large organisations are facing?
  • Is remote work a cure or curse?


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We are delighted to have Anita Lettink on the podcast this week. Anita is a thought leader in hr tech and hr research. Recently Anita released a research paper titled “There is no great resignation Only a great return.”

In this episode, Anita discusses her findings from the paper with Connor as well as:

  • What can be done to prepare people for the workplace of tomorrow
  • Can talent platforms help large enterprises win the war for talent
  • Is there a HR tech investment bubble
  • Is remote work good or bad?

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We are really excited to present this week’s podcast. Our guest this week is Thomas Jajeh, founder of Twago and CDO of Randstad Sourceright.

In the episode, Connor Heaney and Thomas discuss the open talent economy and Twago and Randstad Sourcerights’s role in shaping the sector’s landscape. 

They also talk about:

✅ How to tackle diversity and inclusion with an extended workforce

✅ Regulation and legal cases in the gig economy

✅ Compliance in talent marketplaces

✅ Is Direct Sourcing here to stay?


We are excited to present this episode of The Open Talent Report, where Doug Leeby joined Connor Heaney to chat about Beeline.

Connor sat down with Doug to talk about his views of the extended workforce and where the industry is headed.

They take a dive deep into direct sourcing and discuss its role in the talent sourcing ecosystem for businesses.


This week’s guest on The Open Talent Report is Jan-Willem Weijers, Global Contractor Workforce Program Manager at Adevinta.

Jan-Willem is currently Global Contingent Workforce Program Manager a.i. for Adevinta (eClassifiedsgroup) to help the business taking on the right people, with the right quality, at the right time, with the best remuneration and feasible agreement.  He creates the link between Finance, Procurement, Legal and HR in Contingent Workforce and drives the Contingent Labor Program for Adevinta (eCG).

During this chat Connor and Jan-Willem discuss:

The pace of labour law change in Europe
How businesses engage freelancers in a regulated market
How to protect low choice-no choice contract workers
Can the labour market paradox be solved?
The importance of Talent Demand Planning in a modern enterprise
How can Direct Sourcing help businesses today and in the future?

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This week David Ballew from Nimble Global joined Connor on the Open Talent Report Podcast.

David is a global contingent workforce & talent acquisition leader, published professional and dynamic public speaker. David and Nimble global help businesses optimise operating operations, helping MSP’s staffing firms and hr departments who are struggling to source talent.

On this podcast David discusses the importance of optimising talent sourcing for organisations to gain an advantage over competitors. David also discusses: 

  • What’s wrong with the MSP model for the needs of fast moving companies?
  • Is Direct Sourcing capable of helping businesses in the war for talent?
  • The importance of speed in sourcing and hiring talent
  • Enterprise Resource Demand Planning
  • How to effectively manage talent pools with an aim to achieve just in time hiring
  • How will automation affect job displacement
  • David’s thoughts on the future of work


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This week Connor is joined by esteemed author and founder of Ready Set Launch, Jason Levin. Jason’s work as a Career, Business Development and Outplacement has given him unique insights into the world of work.

On this episode Jason discusses the importance of relationship building for a successful career and highlights frameworks and actionable tips, to become better at keeping in touch with clients, colleagues, classmates and friends.

Connor and Jason also take a look at:

  • Finding time for yourself to ensure balance in your life
  • How to keep in touch in a more meaningful way
  • The importance of sharing connection with people
  • Great Resignation is it real?
  • Automation and it’s effect on the job market

Get Jason’s Book here: Relationships to Infinity: The Art and Science of Keeping in Touch

Visit Jason’s Website: Ready Set Launch

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Host of the Open Talent Report, Connor Heaney is joined by Mark Jones – Executive Vice President at AMS, a global total workforce solutions firm.

Mark has been at the heart of the staffing industry for 20+ years he has a wealth of experience in contingent workforce and RPO management.

In this episode, Connor and Mark discuss the contingent workforce landscape and how businesses can adapt to the changing talent environment. 

Topics Discussed:

  • The US staffing landscape
  • What is RPO and how can it help businesses?
  • Is Direct Sourcing a cure for talent scarcity?
  • Is there a bubble in HR Tech?
  • What can be done to solve the labour market paradox?

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This week Connor Heaney sat down with Bettina Schaller, President of World Employment Confederation.

The World Confederation is the voice of the private employment services industry at the global level, representing national federations as well as workforce solutions companies from across the world.

During this conversation Bettina outlines her views on:

  • Volatility Uncertainty Complexity  Ambiguity in the Global HR industry
  • The proposed EU Directive on Platform work
  • The labour market paradox and what can be done about it 
  • Can governments do more to reskill/upskill people for the jobs of tomorrow
  • The impact of Automation & Jobs Displacement on the business environment
  • The potential effects of Remote work legislation
  • The potential Africa has as a talent pool

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With the end of HMRC’s soft landing approach to IR35, this week we take a look back to episode 1 of the Open Talent Report.

In this episode Connor was joined by Gareth Walls, is partner and head of the A&L Goodbody Employment and Incentives team in Northern Ireland.

Gareth represents a number of local, national and international brands in business support, strategic workforce planning and high profile tribunal matters. He also has significant experience in corporate immigration, redundancy, re-structuring and TUPE issues.

In this podcast Connor and Gareth talk about

  • The current labour law landscape in the U.K
  • How the labour market has been impacted by the Taylor report and Brexit.
  • The supreme court decision on Uber drivers and the implementation of IR35, why it’s come in and the issues around it.

Connor and Gareth also spoke about the rise of remote work and what the future of work will look like.

If you are interested in IR35 we recently hosted a webinar titled Everything you need to know about IR35 here:


You can also read more about IR35 here:

Steve King from Emergent Research joined Connor Heaney on the podcast this week. Steve Leads Emergent Research’s ongoing research identifying, analyzing and forecasting the trends and shifts impacting the future of work and the small business sector of the global economy.

In this episode Connor and Steve discuss:

  • Should more be done to protect freelancers?
  • What can be done to solve the labour market paradox?
  • Is the great resignation real?
  • What will the impact of inflation be on jobs?
  • Are we in the midst of a HR tech bubble?

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This week Connor was in conversation with the brilliant Marleen Deleu co-founder and director of trends & insights.

Nextconomy aims to freelancers and organisation and stimulate the debate between all parties involved. NextConomy facilitates the debate about the future of freelance work with government, trade unions, academia and other interested parties.

During the pod Connor and Marleen discuss:

  • The rise of freelancing in Europe and Belgium
  • Access to banking for freelancers
  • Labour market paradox and labour shortages
  • Enabling technology to improve recruitment processes
  • The EU directive on platform work
  • The future of work

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This week Connor Heaney is joined by Stephen Holliday, Founder & CEO at Level Financial Technology.

Level is the financial wellness platform for the enterprise. Level empower employers to help their workers improve their financial health by offering salary-linked services that address both short and long-term financial needs. Level provide on-demand pay, salary-linked savings, Open Banking-powered budgeting tools and financial education.

During the podcast Connor and Stephen discuss:

How level close the gap between work and pay
Is there an opportunity for fintech to help freelancers access banking services
How to bank unbanked workers
Is salary inflation a problem that is here to stay?
Is the Hr Tech bubble going to burst?
The impact of automation on job displacement
Is remote work creating a two tier society?

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Recently Connor Heaney, MD at CXC EMEA was joined by legal experts Lucas Stuurop (Lexence) and Julie Van Kerckhoven (Van Havermaet) to discuss the recent proposed directive that aims to improve the working conditions of those working in the platform economy.

During the webinar Julie and Lucas gave their opinion on:

  • What the goal of the directive is?
  • What impact it will have on workers?
  • What impact it will have on platforms?
  • What it will mean for the future of the platform economy?

Disclaimer – While Lucas and Julie are legal professionals what they discuss on this webinar is their opinion and should not be taken as legal advice.

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Recently Connor Heaney was joined by Saleem Khaja and Christopher Dwyer to discuss Direct Sourcing 2.0 and whether businesses can use it to help overcome the war for talent and the great resignation.

Direct Sourcing 2.0 is the next generation of direct sourcing strategies and is rooted in a renewed focus on the candidate experience, a seamless connection between talent pools and the projects and roles, and a retooled “hiring manager experience” that takes into account Future of Work-era innovation.

During the podcast Saleem and Chris discuss:

  • What Direct sourcing 2.0 is
  • Talent pool creation  – How to build and engage effectively?
  • Why now for direct sourcing?
  • How do you build a business case for direct sourcing 2.0?

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Connor Heaney, Managing Director at CXC is joined by David Bloxham CEO at GCS Recruitment Specialists to discuss the current recruitment landscape and what the future holds for talent providers.

David shares insights from his 25 years experience in the recruitment sector, working with the leaders of innovative technology customers and connecting them with the expert talent.

In this episode Connor and David discuss:

The challenges in the current labour landscape
The role that talent platforms have to play in recruitment
The impact of technology on recruitment
The great resignation
The future of technology recruitment

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This week’s episode features an important conversation with Gigged.Ai CEO Rich Wilson about burnout and the importance of wellbeing and mental health in business.

Rich tells Connor his story about entrepreneurship, struggle, and the significance of wellbeing in the workplace for all businesses.

Rich also discusses the challenges that Gigged.Ai is looking to solve in the talent marketplace in addition to the future of RPO and the disintermediation of talent platforms in the recruitment and staffing sector.

If you are affected by any of the topics talked about in this podcast you can access support at:


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This week Connor is joined by Arco Elsman, Managing Director for Randstad RiseSmart Europe.

Arco  is responsible for ensuring the successful and consistent delivery of Randstad RiseSmart’s services in Europe.

In this episode, Arco and Connor discuss:

  • What challenges Randstad RiseSmart solves for its clients?
  • Why has the labour paradox occurred, and what can be done to solve it?
  • Is the current education system geared towards the old economy?
  • Can organisations do more to upskill their talent?
  • What does outplacement work?
  • The great resignation is it myth or fact?
  • Do public talent marketplaces have a role in helping organisations win the war for talent?
  • The impact of automation on job displacement
  • Remote working – should it be legislated for
  • Is there a HR technology bubble?

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Episode 38 of The Open Talent Report sees Connor Heaney in conversations with Mathias Linnemann, Co-Founder of Woksome.

Worksome is the leading flexible workforce management system used by 1000s of enterprises globally. Worrisome allows businesses to find and hire freelancers within minutes, while supporting automatic worker classification and compliant payment.

On the podcast Connor and Mathias discuss:

  • Should large enterprises look at moving from a VMS/MSP to a more fluid model?
  • Does resource demand planning or the lack of it make it difficult to manage talent on demand?
  • How to solve the banking problems that freelancers face?
  • Matthias gives his thoughts on the recent draft eu directive on digital labour platforms
  • Is Universal Basic Income a good idea for governments to explore?
  • Labour Market Paradox – what contributed to it – what can be done about it?
  • How long before 10 giant staffing recruitment giants are replaced by 10 platforms?
  • Why are staffing and recruitment companies continuing to grow?
  • Automation and job displacement
  • Remote working – is it a curse or a cure?

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This week we are delighted to have Melanie Forbes, Managing Director at APSCo Outsource.

Mel’s work at APSCo Outsource focusses on developing and leading  the trade body representing the Outsource market. Providing a comprehensive, tailored trade association service working with members to continuously raise professional standards.

We are thrilled to announce that CXC is now a trusted partner of APSCo Outsource.

In this podcast, Connor and Mel discuss:

Is there room in the market for a non-supplier funded model of recruitment
The labour market paradox
How education systems can improve to prepare people for jobs of the future
Is Direct Sourcing the be-all and end all for talent sourcing
Is remote working a curse or a cure
Mel’s prediction for the future of work

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Joining Connor on the podcast this week is Sam Smith, Vice President and Managing Direct of Kelly OCG EMEA.

In this episode Sam discusses her career to date from her time in the Royal Airforces to establishing herself as a leader in the outsourcing recruitment industry at Kelly OCG.

In the podcast Connor and Sam discuss the current talent shortages that businesses are facing across the world.

Sam also talks about the gap between people emerging from education that  and the skill that are actually needed prepares people for the workforce.

A main talking point in the podcast was the so called great resignation. Sam suggests that we are not seeing greater resignation than we have in other years in Europe – however it does depend on the geography and sector you are looking at.

To finish off the episode Sam takes a look into the future and the changes she would like to see in the labour market.

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Joining Connor on the podcast this week is Sam Smith, Vice President and Managing Direct of Kelly OCG EMEA.

In this episode Sam discusses her career to date from her time in the Royal Airforces to establishing herself as a leader in the outsourcing recruitment industry at Kelly OCG.

In the podcast Connor and Sam discuss the current talent shortages that businesses are facing across the world.

Sam also talks about the gap between people emerging from education that  and the skill that are actually needed prepares people for the workforce.

A main talking point in the podcast was the so called great resignation. Sam suggests that we are not seeing greater resignation than we have in other years in Europe – however it does depend on the geography and sector you are looking at.

To finish off the episode Sam takes a look into the future and the changes she would like to see in the labour market.

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In December the European Commission released a proposal that aims to improve the rights of platform workers.

We spoke with Julia Kermode (IWORK) and Lucas Stuurop (Lexence) to get their views on what this directive will mean for gig platforms and workers.

At CXC, we have long held the view that people who work through these digital platforms should be afforded sufficient protection. However, the EU has taken a blanket approach across all platform workers and has left little room for nuance.

You can read our thoughts on the directive here:

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This episode of the Open Talent Report features our friends and partners from Randstad Sourceright, David Vincent and Thomas Jajeh. In December Connor spoke with David and Thomas about post pandemic hiring in 2022 and beyond.

Labour Shortages & The Great Resignation
Why companies are hiring internationally
Challenges with Global Payroll
Remote work is it here to stay?

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Joining Connor on the podcast this week is Bench founder and CEO, Sukhi Bhullar.

Bench is a  modern platform revolutionising how ICT businesses win services deals by leveraging powerful real time data & market intelligence, networks of capabilities, increased capacity and market driven pricing.

In this episode Sukhi discusses his career to date in recruitment and eventually his founding of Bench. He also gives his views on the current labour shortages and great resignation that is being seen in the current landscape. Connor and Sukhi also talk about remote working and how it has democratised the working world.

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We are delighted to have Christopher Dwyer, the Senior Vice President of Research at Ardent Partners and the Managing Director of the Future of Work Exchange, on the podcast.

Christopher takes us through his career that led him to his current roles in Ardent Partners and the Future of Work Exchange. He also spoke about their current research on the much hyped, Direct Sourcing. His research found that

  • Around 20% of companies today have a mature direct sourcing programme in place.
  • 27% of companies have an intermediate programme, meaning it’s younger than two years.
  • 41% of companies don’t have a direct sourcing programme, but they plan to implement one by the end of 2022.

Christopher also gave his views on the future of work and which he sees as being about people rather than technology and organisations should seriously look at diversity and inclusion, workplace culture and employee burnout if they are to succeed in the future.

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Thank you to everyone who came to our Direct Sourcing Roundtable today with our panel Connor Heaney , Thomas Jajeh, Saleem Khaja and Roland Rosevear last week. Today we are publishing the roundtable in audio form on our podcast feed.

During the conversation the panel covered:

✅ Best practices for building a direct sourcing program
✅ How do you ensure employer brand consistency?
✅ What role types work best for direct sourcing and talent marketplaces?
✅ What is the future of sourcing?


This week we are joined by CEO of HR services provider, Head First Group, Han Kolff. Han has a deep knowledge of the staffing industry having spent 15 years in the fast-moving consumer goods industry (Heineken and Danone) before moving to work for Randstad for over 8 years.

On the podcast Connor and Han tackle the pressing questions in today’s labour landscape from global labour shortages and remote working to the digitisation of recruitment and automation. They also take a look into a crystal ball at what may be in store for the future of work.

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Key Points

Labour shortage/ Labour market paradox:

There is always a paradox, there is always a balance between the supply and demand in the workforce and technology is simply giving us more data and a greater view of the mismatch making it seem like a bigger paradox than ever. 

Now that pandemic is hopefully lifting we are seeing a shift from where the demand side had previously had the power to more of a balance with the supply having more of a say. 

Companies should change their perspective when hiring. For example in the IT space, if you are looking for a Java developer companies should look at if they need somebody who already has that skill set or if they can look at training a person up as a Java developer. 

Is hiring anyone anywhere an area of growth?

In theory we can work remotely and cut jobs down into gigs so it is more concrete and easier to delegate a certain piece of work to somebody anywhere in the world. The issue comes with cooperation within companies which will slow down the adoption with global companies being able to adapt faster. 

Companies must also look at labour laws in different countries where they are engaging talent to ensure compliance.

The digitiziation of recruitment

There’s two types of companies now, which are merging into trying to solve for everything. There’s companies that come from more enterprise worlds, usually, they’re more touch than tech. They have a bit more people supporting the product, they are not only a tech platform. Then there’s companies that are more on the platform side like Upwork, maybe that’s more gig related more shorter term projects and more instant. Sometimes they are more, b2c but they miss the touch part, to really sell into large enterprise clients. So if we look at it from the client side, they don’t want only tech, they want a solution that encompass technology and a personal touch.


I think that there is a lot more to be concerned about in his world, a lot more about climate and about food and other trends, than automation threatening the labour market. On the contrary automation can be a big opportunity and these bigger trends might influence how we as humans need to act and resolve things. But as we said when we started out,  this labour market is so incredibly complex, and will need work everywhere, for a long period. So, this future where there’s no work, it’s very, very far out.

What would you do with a magic wand?

I think if I had a magic wand, I would want to have governments have a mindset of a more forward looking approach. They shouldn’t stick to the past of a unionised world and a job or a specific labour market condition that needs to stay forever. If I look at many governments and many labour markets, a lot of them are trying to contain the power and the contract of the past, instead of creating a contract of the future that is less frictionless and actually gets more people to an income or a job. So it’s all dependent on who has the power and then trying to protect what you have, instead I would appreciate if governments have a growth mindset.

We have a different episode for our listeners this week. At CXC, we have been running a Direct Sourcing webinar series that takes an in-depth look at direct sourcing as a talent sourcing solution.

Over the coming months we will be making these webinars available as podcast episodes. This week we have a webinar with expert guests Praneeth Patlola, Jan-Willem Weijers and Katie Bussey. Host Connor Heaney  explores what direct sourcing is, the common pitfalls and best practices with our guests.

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See our upcoming events:

On this weeks podcast, Connor is joined by Joel Walker, Co-Founder and  COO of The Knowledge Group (TKG). On the podcast Joel talks about his career in outsourcing that has led him to help found TKG. Connor and Joel have a lively discussion around remote working specifically in outsourced organisation like sales and contact centres as well as the future of outsourced labour.

Joel also discusses how TKG solve complex customer needs by harnessing machine learning and technology to match  client requirements with an expert partner network and a rapidly growing international marketplace.

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Houston we have lift off!

This week, Connor spoke with Program Manager at NASA Tournament Lab and the Center of Excellence for Collaborative Innovation Steve Rader. Steve leads NASA’s efforts to leverage crowd-based platforms for open innovation and open talent to bring value to NASA’s programs and innovation efforts around the U.S. Government.

Steve discusses his fascinating career at Nasa, how open innovation is transforming the organisation and where he sees the future of labour heading in this fascinating conversation.

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Key Points

What is Resource?

We set up Resource only 18 months or so ago, recognising that there was a requirement in the industry to be a sort of definitive source of data in what’s happening in open talent and freelancing with open talent platforms. We wanted to help enterprises, typically big businesses to put in place strategies, which would help them to access open talent at scale and have the confidence that we’ve sorted out operating model design, security, compliance, tax implications, etc.

What is Open Assembly?

Open Assembly, set up way before us, three or four years prior. It had come out of Harvard University’s laboratory for innovation science, and John Windsor, had set it up, who’s their executive in residence. Their vision was to do the same thing to try and help enterprises understand and access open talent, and also to create a community of individuals and professionals interested in the world of open talent. 

Why they came together?

John Windsor, who runs Open Assembly, said, wouldn’t it be great if we could put the two businesses together we could achieve so much more together rather than apart. 

The experience of founding and running this kind of advisor and consulting business, along with what they have, which has this incredible community, fantastic intellectual property, great connections with the laboratory for innovation science at Harvard, it was super complimentary. Then alongside that, you’ve got the fact that we’re in Europe, they’re mostly predominantly in the US. And it actually starts to add up, and the fact that we’re philosophically aligned, and we talk the same language, and we all like having a bit of fun, and realise that if you don’t have a bit of fun, then work is just work. It all adds up to a natural coming together. 

What is CTW?

We also run a component of this called our centre for the transformation of work (CTW). Part of this initiative is about making sure that the supply side, the freelance side of all the all the individuals that are participating in this new movement, get a chance to succeed, and that as much effort and energy goes into all of the considerations that are required to make their lives work happen.

The members of the CTW at the moment is 2500 companies or individuals who are members and anybody can join. It’s free, and we get together twice a month to have these discussions where the members of the CTW are all of the same mind. We are all working on behalf of freelancers who earn their living through digital platforms, we want to make that a valid and viable career choice. We want to be lobbying governments to make sure that they are, considered in their plans and, and have the right tax application, we want to work with insurance companies to ensure that, freelancers who earn their living by digital platforms, let’s call them open talent professionals have the ability to pay into pensions and to pay into health and health insurance, because they’re not all fortunate of the NHS like, like we are, that they have certainty.

What is your vision for Open Assembly and the future of work?

We hope that Open Assembly opens the eyes of large enterprises to what’s possible, through an open talent and innovation models are freelancers accessing opportunity via digital platforms. We want to be seen as a standard way of getting things done. That’s our vision. We’ll do that company by company. On the the other side, we want to use the centre for the transformation of work the CTW, to ensure that all of the right constituent parts are involved in making freelancing via digital platforms a valid and viable career choice. And if we can do both of those things, get the supply and demand working, we think we’ll have the opportunity to transform work for a billion people, which is part of the mission of the centre for the transformation at work. So that’s our, our big, hairy, audacious goal.

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