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Place Matters: How Cities Can Compete in the Next Future of Work Paradigm

Place Matters

How Cities Can Compete in the Next Future of Work Paradigm
On April 21, 2021, at 10am PDT, Meeting of the Minds convened a free, live webinar featuring Sean Audian, City Innovation Lead for the City of Wellington City Council (New Zealand), as well as Desmond Dickerson and Robert H. Brown of the Cognizant Center for the Future of Work.


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As we move through 2021 and emerge from the pandemic, one question continues to pop up: “Where is the next future of work?”

The Fourth Industrial Revolution was already reshaping global economics and requiring new talents, skills and attitudes when the pandemic hit. As the world takes stock of the ripple effects of everything from social distancing, remote work, layoffs, and the future of business, cities that are hotbeds of innovation and new ideas as well as affordable and livable, will be places that people gravitate to. Over time, we will see that the jobs of the future will happen in places of the future.

Several key trends will drive the future of work: cybersecurity, digital twins, fintech, virtual workplaces, and diversity and inclusion. How do localities take control of their future in this new era of work and ensure they attract, retain, support and grow jobs, talent and a successful economic engine?

To imagine that there is one formula that all 7.8 billion of us should adhere to, wherever it is we live, is clearly nonsensical. When properly constructed and locally driven, these places of the future can become epicenters of game-changing innovation and creativity, providing access to talent, ideas and attitudes. As a result, the places in which we work today matter more than ever.

Robert Brown and Desmond Dickerson from Cognizant’s Center for the Future of Work alongside Sean Audian, City Innovation Lead for the City of Wellington City Council (New Zealand) will share some of their local and global strategies and insights.


Sean Audain

Sean Audain

City Innovation Lead, Wellington City Council

Sean is City Innovation lead at Wellington City Council in New Zealand. Sean’s background is in urban planning and has worked for the past decade exploring and implementing Digital City concepts to improve Wellington’s Digital Inclusion, Resilience and deliver smarter local government. Sean has been recognised with national and International awards including Harvard Tech City Innovator for 2020 and ANZ Smart City Public Sector Leader of 2020. Sean serves on several governance bodies understanding and advancing our relationship with technology including the Open Government Partnership and World Economic Forums Global Futures Council.
Robert H. Brown

Robert H. Brown

Vice President, Cognizant Center for the Future of Work

Robert H. Brown joined Cognizant’s Center for the Future of Work in 2014. His research emphasis has been on the topics of robotics, automation, privacy and augmented reality and their impact on business processes. He is also the managing analyst for the quarterly Cognizant Jobs of the Future Index. His work has been regularly featured on Axios, Huffington Post, and Forbes.

He holds a BA in History from the University of California at Berkeley and, prior to his graduation, attended the London School of Economics as a Hansard Scholar. He resides in Marin County, California.

Desmond Dickerson

Desmond Dickerson

Senior Manager, Cognizant Center for the Future of Work

Desmond Dickerson is a Manager in Cognizant’s Center for the Future of Work. Leveraging his experience in digital transformation, Desmond consults clients on optimizing digital strategies that prioritize user experience and engagement. His research with the CFoW focuses on the human impact of business decisions related to technology development and deployment.

Jessie Feller Hahn

Jessie Feller Hahn

Executive Director, Meeting of the Minds

Jessie Feller Hahn is the Executive Director of Meeting of the Minds. Since 2010, she has built and managed the development of Meeting of the Minds into an international leadership platform for city-to-city learning. Jessie’s focus is identifying global urban sustainability, innovation, and technology best practices; developing platforms for city leaders to exchange best practices; spotlighting innovators; and building alliances and partnerships between the private sector, public sector, non-profit and philanthropic sectors.

Previously, Jessie launched and ran the Regional Energy Policy Program at Regional Plan Association in New York City. She has written numerous articles which have been featured in NPR, Urban Age Magazine, The Record, RPA’s Spotlight on the Region, The Hartford Courant, among others. Previous to RPA, Jessie worked as a cluster specialist at Economic Competitiveness Group, as a Sustainability Fellow at the Portland Development Commission, and started her career at SMWM (now Perkins + Will) in their urban design studio.

Jessie holds a BA from Vassar College in Urban Studies and Hispanic Studies (Phi Beta Kappa) and a Masters in Environment and Development Studies (honors) from the London School of Economics and Political Science.


April 21, 2021
10:00 am - 11:00 am
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