In brief

In brief

  • Last year, in response to COVID-19 and the rapid adoption of digital tech and new working arrangements, we sat down to reconsider the future of work.
  • Accenture, Vitra, external experts and 15 companies spent 10 weeks working on a preferred vision of the future, assuming everything is possible.
  • The resulting manifesto was a blueprint for a new, improved world of working and presented concrete scenarios that describe our #preferredfuture.
  • Precisely one year on, we have all regrouped to reassess, review progress, and identify challenges and enablers to make that vision a reality.

Taking action to build our preferred future

Reconceptualizing how we work, lead and design workspace for a brighter tomorrow was never intended to be a one-off event, but rather a continuous process of collaboration, co-creation, fine-tuning and constant progress. The time has therefore come to re-evaluate what we have achieved to date and to take stock of how far we have come.

Precisely one year on from the inaugural exercise and launch of the manifesto, we thus reunited the community to share, educate and inspire each other. On September 15, we brought together selected stakeholders for a workshop in Weil am Rhein with a view to discussing each other’s experiences and identifying barriers to the speedy materialization of our common vision.

What next

By critically analyzing what has been holding us back, by candidly acknowledging our limitations, and by diving deep into our unique and collective challenges, we will then strive to inform an active work movement that will accelerate our transition into the new world of work. Composed of captains of industry, scientists, academia, policy-makers and workers councils, this newly invigorated movement is to be launched in Hamburg in March 2022 as part of the New Work Conference „Schichtwechsel“ aimed at addressing all outstanding challenges.

The Roadmap to our preferred future. We are now entering a critical phase in the journey towards a new world of working. To build and experiment further, we must acknowledge our limitations and identify the areas in which we require additional support.

Recap: Why we needed to rethink work

COVID-19 has changed our working life radically, offering a unique chance to completely redefine how we want to work in the future. Which skills will be obsolete, which will be more important than ever? How should the collaboration between humans and machines work? How do we lead and how do we learn? Do we still actually need office spaces or is home office sufficient? What function will our work spaces have? And: Are next-generation talents still looking for one long-term employer at all?

New work concepts are therefore needed to redefine collaboration, office spaces, hierarchy, and our understanding of leadership. Read the most important findings from our inaugural September 2020 summit in the Executive summary.

From co-creation to the future of work

Using a co-creation approach, we have designed future scenarios for the work of tomorrow and developed concrete suggestions and concepts. To this end, experts for new work, experienced managers, business thinkers, and next-generation talents have combined their knowledge and ideas.


Companies from a range of industries


Weeks with three hybrid workshops and virtual working sessions


Futurizing Phases

The #preferredfuture was created step by step – in five phases, both virtually and on site. We used innovative, creative methods from art, therapy, and coaching. The goal: to think freely – without limits or restrictive preconceptions.

  1. Provoking: We challenge ourselves
    "What if...?" We examined the trends in our working world and considered all the possibilities of how they could be developed further.
  2. Exploring: Thinking beyond the conventional
    After an analysis, we worked out the basic principles and parameters that shape our working environment today and tomorrow.
  3. Futuring: What do we want to change, what will be brand new?
    How do the parameters change? What is coming, what do we want next? In the search for answers, we drew on the ideas of the first phase.
  4. Designing: Shaping future scenarios
    We sketched, questioned, and expanded on designs until compelling stories were created that motivated us to implement them.
  5. Building: Co-creating our future starts tomorrow
    We have selected scenarios that we want to implement ourselves and have begun the transformation. Together we are taking steps toward the future of work.

The report

We have summarized our approach and results in this report.

The Manifesto: This is our #preferredfuture

How should we work and lead in the future? What environments do we need so that people can develop their potential? We have defined common principles.

In detail: The expert view on Work. Lead. Space.

Together with proven experts, we have analyzed current trends and ventured to make tangible predictions: Which developments are realistic?

Scenarios: Stories of the new working world

We describe our #preferredfuture with four different future scenarios that inspire companies to take the next steps.

View All
"We have embarked on an exciting, futurizing adventure and are now keeping in touch to build our Preferred Future together."

— SHIRLEY SHEFFER, Managing Director, Talent & Organization/Human Potential, Lead – Austria, Switzerland, Germany & Russia

Clients*, partners and experts


A closer look

The masterkey in moving forward new work journey

Dr. Christine Solf, Helen Clarke, Raphael Gielgen, Shirley Sheffer

Ideas and trends for Work. Lead. Space

Michael Liley, Shirley Sheffer und Raphael Gielgen

The 5 Futurizing Phases

Dr. Christine Solf (Study Lead) 

Our clients' motivation and challenges

LANXESS, Henkel, and Siemens Mobility 

The future of learning

Raphael Gielgen (Vitra) and Moritz Ettl (4ED1) 

Our clients’ expectations

Henkel, LANXESS, and Siemens Mobility

Shirley Sheffer

Managing Director, Talent & Organization/Human Potential, Lead Austria, Switzerland, Germany

Sigrid Stinnes

Managing Director Innovation & Design, Lead Austria – Switzerland, Germany


Productivity in uncertain times through the elastic digital workplace
Seeking responsible leadership
The virtual workforce: Why build when you can rent?

Get the essentials

We have brought together all the results in a report that explains the background and provides orientation.

The big read

40 minute read

Work. Lead. Space. Co-creating our Preferred Future

Read our comprehensive report with all the results.


Short on time

Executive summary 

15 minute read

Would you prefer the most important findings to be short and compact? This is what the Executive Summary is for.

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