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The global pandemic and societal upheavals of 2020 have ushered in a new era for companies, small and large. Across industries, organizations are resetting their internal and external priorities, such as the physical and mental health of employees. In this new environment, how do we ensure that work is seen as meaningful by employees, a key prerequisite to productivity? This session will examine how leaders are rethinking purpose while maintaining organizational agility.

For questions about the Aspen Digital Roundtable on Institutional Innovation, please contact Dominique Harrison.


Vivian Schiller joined the Aspen Institute in January 2020 as Executive Director of Aspen Digital, which empowers policymakers, civic organizations, companies, and the public to be responsible stewards of technology and media in the service of an informed, just, and equitable world. A longtime executive at the intersection of journalism, media and technology, Schiller has held executive roles at some of the most respected media organizations in the world. Those include: President and CEO of NPR; Global Chair of News at Twitter; General Manager of; Chief Digital Officer of NBC News; Chief of the Discovery Times Channel, a joint venture of The New York Times and Discovery Communications; and Head of CNN documentary and long form divisions. Documentaries and series produced under her auspices earned multiple honors, including three Peabody Awards, four Alfred I. DuPont-Columbia University Awards, and dozens of Emmys. Schiller is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations; and a Director of the Scott Trust, which owns The Guardian.

Stephanie Aaronson
Vice President and Director - Economic Studies
Brookings Institution
Penny Abeywardena
Commissioner for International Affairs
City of New York
Richard Adler
Distinguished Fellow
Institute for the Future
Rosalind G. Brewer
Chief Operating Officer and Group President
John Seely Brown
Independent Co-Chairman
Deloitte Center for the Edge
Mark Cooke
Former Head-Global Operational Risk
Esther Dyson
Executive Founder
Amy C. Edmondson
Novartis Professor of Leadership and Management
Harvard Business School
Sarah Gretczko
Chief Learning & Insights Officer
John Hagel
Deloitte Center for the Edge
Sheryl Jacobson
Chief Strategy Officer
Deloitte Consulting, LLP
Jacinta M. Jiménez
The Burnout Fix
Jeff Jones
Chief Executive Officer
H&R Block
Gary Knell
National Geographic Partners
Chauncy Lennon
Vice President for the Future of Learning and Work
Lumina Foundation
Guenter Pecht
Global Vice President for the Future of Work
Alexi Robichaux
Chief Executive Officer
Stephen Scott
Founder and Chief Executive Officer
Starling Trust Sciences
Tom Steding
Founder and Chairman
Quadrix Partners
Geoffrey West
Shannan Distinguished Professor and Past President, Science Steering Committee
Santa Fe Institute

Erica Volini, Jeff Schwartz, Brad Denny, David Mallon, Yves Van Durme, Maren Hauptmann, Ramona Yan and Shannon Poynton, Returning to work in the future of work: Embracing purpose, potential, perspective, and possibility during COVID-19, May 15, 2020.

Martin Reeves and Kevin Whitaker, A Guide to Building a More Resilient Business, July 2, 2020.

Richard Adler, Redefining the Workscape: Bringing Value and Values to Machine-Human Collaboration, April, 2020.

Ann Pendleton-Jullian, Pragmatic Imagination: a New Muscle for the White Water World, July 12, 2020.

  • Session I.  Where are we today: New Approaches to How We Work 
    • How are we adjusting our organizational culture in the face of a global pandemic, a distributed workforce juggling new demands and a nation reckoning with social injustices? 
  • Session II.  Where do we need to be: Reminaging Purpose
    • How have organizations integrated purpose with business goals?
    • What are the primary drivers of meaning that must be accelerated? 
    • What are the major obstacles to creating true meaning in the workplace?
  • Session III. How do we get there: The Flourishing Enterprise 
    • How do we address long-standing mindsets and other barriers to building resilience within organizations?
    • What should leaders be doing now?

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