Laine Johnson

Synapcity & the Future of Work

How a CityMaking mindset can help our job prospects.


18 July 2018

Posted In

Have you ever met someone with all the answers?

Someone who can throw facts and figures around from memory and who can recall meetings and conversations well before your time. Someone who can leverage technology in an instant, pulling up reports and statistics that will bolster their case.

I’m sure you have.

But does that person always successfully move their case forward? Experience tells us that it’s a constellation of factors that support CityMakers as they work to advance their ideas or bring change to their communities. You’re not often charmed by someone who bombards you teachable moment after teachable moment!

Information is necessary, most certainly, to ensure you’re grounded in reality, working towards the feasible, and are taking the right steps. But there are other skills that are necessary for working with others that are essential for making a difference in the community.

The CityMaking Mindset

Synapcity calls these skills the CityMaking Mindset: the attitudes that underpin anyone’s activities as they move through the world. Without the right mindset, you can run the risk of missing out on opportunities, neat new partnerships, and integrative solutions for the task at hand. Research shows that a positive mindset can have a stronger impact on performance outcome than home environment or demographics.

We are currently working with 5 qualities of inquiry we believe make up the CityMaking mindset:

  • Treat Everyone with Respect and Dignity
  • Be Open and Listen to Others
  • Respect Confidentiality
  • Suspend Judgement
  • Be Curious in Your Conversations

This frame of mind doesn’t come naturally to many of us but has to be practiced like any other skill. And these ‘soft skills’ are starting to get the recognition they deserve for their effectiveness and value in the workplace: they make up the foundation for critical thinking, teamwork, and creativity. As we prepare for a future of work supported by artificial intelligence, these skills are what set us apart from our robot competitors.

In fact, in his recent book called Robot-Proof, Joseph Aoun calls for greater opportunities for experiential learning so that people can develop these skills alongside gaining the knowledge they need. He recommends shorter bursts of learning that can be interspersed with work so that people can apply their learning more readily in real life, and in real time.

So what does this mean?

It means that Synapcity programs offer a one-two punch. We not only make sure you walk away with a better understanding of the city system, how decisions are made, and where people can plug into the institutions that serve them — but we also make sure you walk away having met people you would never have otherwise known, and engaged in a CityMaking mindset that will serve you wherever you go.

So the next time you’re talking with a friend and promoting an idea or point of view, try taking as much time to listen well to their argument. Ask yourself how their perspective might also be true. Consider it as a thought experiment, and an investment against the impending robot revolution. And if you want to come practice with us, join a Synapcity program!