Work Forward Summit 2020 Recap

The second Work Forward Summit drew a global audience passionate about making work better.
Thursday, October 29, 2020

On October 20–23, in the midst of a global pandemic that is disrupting the world of work, we remotely hosted our second summit to bring together thought leaders from across the globe to discuss, collaborate, and work together to imagine how we can make work better for everyone. We believe that the success of a business is inseparable from the success of its people. The last few months have demonstrated just how true and important that belief is for attain our goals.

Our work centered around four goals designed to help nurture the continued development of the Work Forward community of advocates and champions and produce tools and resources to support individuals and organizations in evolving their ways of working. Here are the fours goals:

  • Advance awareness, concepts, ideas, and work of Work Forward
  • Create new advocates and champions
  • Bring together people with diverse experiences to cross-pollinate Work Forward ideas
  • Build working groups to take on key initiatives to further Work Forward

In pursuit of these four goals, we constructed four working groups that formed the structure for the summit. Summit attendees had their choice of the following working groups:

Success Stories: Signs of Working Forward

Narrative examples of application and success stories of Work Forward concepts

Assessments: Are We Ready to Work Forward?

Means to test yourself or your company/team for Work Forward readiness and acceptance

Resources & Tools: Work Forward Applied

Activities and resources for applying Work Forward now to my own work/my company’s work

Promotion & Socialization: Evangelize Work Forward

Messaging and amplifying the Work Forward message promotion


Over the course of the 4-day summit, each group began with a set of goals in mind and worked together to construct concepts for how to advance the Work Forward movement in each of their respective areas. Following deep exploratory dives on days 2 & 3, groups came together on day 4 to share and discuss their findings from the summit and to present the ideas they discussed and the concepts they created. Some examples included a prototype assessment to gauge the Work Forward-readiness of organizations and individuals and a prototype for a Work Forward pod/vodcast designed to reach new audiences via social media.

Day-by day Overview of the 2020 Work Forward Summit

Day 1

Our work on day 1 began with an introduction to the Work Forward movement and an update on how it has evolved and grown since the first summit on October 8, 2019. We also took some time to recognize the challenges this year has brought to workers of all kinds and the added urgency that has arisen to accelerate an evolution in the ways we work.

Following the introduction, groups split off into breakout rooms and spent the rest of the session getting oriented around their intentions and desired outcomes, utilizing individual and collective workspaces to build and share ideas in preparation for deep exploration dives on days 2 and 3.

Day 2

Coming off the introduction and pre-work sessions from day 1, each group began day 2 exploring their focus areas at a high level to get clarity and consensus on how to achieve their group goals.

The Success Stories group ran a session sharing stories from the past year of Work Forward principles in action to prepare for the following day’s deep dive into one standout story. Because the group was international, there was a focus on delving into the complexities of cultural experiences affecting how, when, where, and why we work. In a world becoming more flat every day, we thought it was important to look at working forward from a variety of different lenses.

In the Assessments group, the team visited planet Zytar—a mythical planet that exemplifies working forward principles in action. The group brainstormed on the ceremonies and activities seen, the principles being applied, where and when they work, and the tools they are using at work. This exercise created a useful contrast for the group to use in describing the current state of work on Earth.

The Resources & Tools group’s discussion centered around the definition of resources vs. tools, how they are used, and how solving tech challenges with more tech isn’t always the answer—sometimes we need more of a human solution.

Promotion & Socialization used day 2 to develop frameworks for two promotional ideas: a pod/vodcast, and a Mural Template + Video package with the goal of reaching a wide audience via social media and self advertising.

Day 3

Day 3 was all about pulling together and honing some previously discussed ideas and concepts for presenting on day 4. Some fantastic information was shared and, importantly, foundational progress was made.

For the Success Stories group, day 3 was all about the following guiding principle: “The ways of work have been evolving for some time. COVID has accelerated the shift in unprecedented ways.” The group discussed what this means for the world of work and its continued evolution now that we find ourselves “ahead of schedule” in terms of putting Work Forward principles into practice.

The Assessments group spent day 3 building out a framework and prototype for a first assessment. It also had a robust discussion about how assessments are applied, who, and what could be measured with the realization of the immense possibilities assessments have to advance awareness and understanding of Work Forward principles.

In the Resources & Tools group, day three was used for distilling outputs from day 2 into key areas of focus. The group discussed and placed focus areas on the Importance/Difficulty matrix, and from there selected high impact topics and built out 4 resource/tool concepts. 

In the Promotion & Socialization group, members finished mockups for how to spread the good Work Forward word. The pod/vodcast team finalized the creative, branded and delivery approach for the podcast, while the template/video team mocked up the entire flow of the proposal from end-to-end. The end result? Two exceptional methods of advancing WF through various social media mediums.

Day 4

Day 4 was for sharing back to the entire group what each focus area had discussed and accomplished over the previous days. Groups had the opportunity to present their work and hold discussions on their discoveries and insights.

What’s Next?

The 2020 Work Forward Summit may have finished but the movement continues onward! Overwhelmingly the feedback from the summit was about the desire to meet again and dive even deeper into the progress made at the Summit. We completely agree, and have decided to start by hosting workshops monthly on the third Thursday of each month

Register now

In the meantime, here are three things you can do now to get more involved.

  1. Join our Slack channel to stay in the know. We use this platform to share new ideas, upcoming events and discoveries of Work Forward principles being applied around the world.
  2. Follow us on social media. We have a presence on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
  3. And we’d so appreciate your use of the hashtag, #workforward—you can add it to your own posts about your experience at the Summit, or when amplifying articles or research that mirror the WF principles.


Acknowledging that we had people tuned in from around the globe, we will be ensuring there are robust opportunities for asynchronous participation.

To learn more about Work Forward, visit where you can sign up for news, join groups and Slack channels, and explore tools and background information.

Work Forward, everyone!

Joey Kenney

Joey is an account manager at Territory where he works to connect companies and organizations to the tools and strategies that improve performance, enrich cultures and drive results. An avid learner with a passion for exploring new ideas and industries, he is always on the lookout to create new meaningful connections.

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