Building the Future of Work and Learning Together

Earlier this week, 20+ experts from various backgrounds, with many of them being founders of identity/reputation applications and protocols, but also experts from standards bodies and educational movements, came together to exchange on the future of work and learning.

During a two-hour workshop, we have exchanged the vision of where our ecosystem will be in about two years time, explored current and potential challenges, and ideated upon some of the solutions to those. The level of engagement and how openly thoughts were shared in this group were extremely inspiring.

We are gladly sharing here some excerpts from that workshop.

A few words about the rationale behind

In 2021 we have witnessed a massive rise of new applications, protocols, and infrastructure projects in web3. With noticeably increasing numbers of people leaving their jobs to work in web3 full-time or at least contributing to their favourite projects part-time, the importance of one’s professional web3 identity is increasing.

Professional identity will become decentralised. Instead of a handful of large platforms such as LinkedIn, we will see the rise of more niche services all built upon the shared identity protocol and standards. Already today there are 50+ reputation protocols for web3 with most of them launched within the last 6 months. A lot of valuable data will be generated by the end-customer applications and might become siloed if there’s no unifying layer in place.

Due to the decentralised nature of web3, the track record of one’s activity is becoming more fragmented and scattered. An active contributor in one DAO has no track record in a new DAO that they join. How do we enable the continuity, universality, and composability of building up one’s professional identity and reputation?

The future of work requires cross-chain user-controlled privacy-preserving decentralised professional identity that captures multiple reputation sources: on-chain, off-chain, domain-specific, offline, peer-assessed, centrally issued, and self-reported.

At Deep Skills we are building a professional reputation tool for DAOs and contributors. As the next step, we were planning to build a protocol that would be leveraged by any third-party reputation software. After talking with many of the founders in this space, we decided to directly involve them in the design process, reflecting the open source nature and shared ownership over the protocol from the start.

The workshop

Here’s a quick recap of the workshop and some key insights. Feel free to explore the Miro board to see the full version and draw your insights out of it.

A shared vision for reputation protocol

Decentralized identity will change how people view, explore and obtain skills. Quite a few people mentioned the potential gamified mechanics of exploring and forging one’s professional path through interactive skill trees.

The protocol becomes a lego block on top of which other applications will be built with each application potentially defining their reputation scoring algorithms. The underlying data will most likely be separated from the scoring algorithms to let people and applications have their own interpretations. The accessibility and openness of that data will become a major question — open data or zkp permission-based sharing?

One of the participants wrote: “There’s a sense that if we can get this right, it can change things for the better, and if we get it wrong, it could lock us into something horrible.” In the bottom right you can see a useful reminder of the alternative future.

Although we haven’t yet coined one shared vision definition that would cover all these different aspects, we can with high certainty say that most of the definitions resonate with the community.

Current and future challenges to be solved

Here are the 8 most upvoted challenges out of the 60+ (!) that were expressed and shared by the participants.

From challenges around privacy, diversity, inclusivity, questioning own biases to particular details of the implementation and guiding principles. This variety of perspectives proves even further that working collaboratively is essential to the design of the protocol.

Our first take on the solution side

Since this was a rather kick-off testing the waters kind of workshop, we could only scratch the surface this time. Nevertheless, there was no shortage of ideas for the selected challenges.

Overview of the Solution exercise

A glimpse into the most upvoted ideas.

There is a lot to unpack and follow-up upon here. We are planning to set up next session to dive deeper into some of the challenges.

What’s next?

Designing and building the unifying protocol for the future of work is no small task and true to web3 ethos we should tackle this together. Neither should this protocol be owned and run by just one party.

The intent to act collaboratively is there and could be vividly seen throughout this workshop, we should build on top of this momentum. Now we need to identify the next steps and principles of this collaboration.

Some participants suggested setting up separate working groups with a clear focus on one challenge. We will certainly do that and will follow up with a few new workshops.

To everyone who participated in the workshop: You Are Awesome!

Interested in building the future of professional identity together? Learn more or sign up here.

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Stepan Gershuni

Stepan Gershuni

SSI, Verifiable Credentials, Crypto, Bitcoin, Decentralized Web.