The Future of Work Needs Inner Work

Interested in learning new fluid and decentralised ways to lead and collaborate? Joana Breidenbach may have a solution for you.

von Joana Breidenbach, April 15, 2020

This article first appeared on Joana's blog.

This online course will help you design your future of work. Discover which organisational models suit you and your team, as you learn the inner competencies necessary to be more innovative, effective and authentic at work. Sign up for the course here at a significantly reduced rate, or by using the code TBDCOMMUNITY.

In the midst of the many threats and uncertainties of the Corona pandemic, we once again see much more clearly how important inner clarity, transparent communication, empathy and intuition are — especially in our working lives. That is why Bettina and I are excited to launch our new project: an Online Course on The Future of Work needs Inner Work.

The idea to the develop an online curriculum grew with every talk, conversation and workshop we have been holding since the publication of New Work needs Inner Work (German version). We got amazing feedback about our approach — putting inner competencies at the center of organisational transformation. But we also noticed that a book or a stand-alone workshop were not enough. Many in our audience, as well as our peers and friends wanted to deepen the topic.

While shooting the videos for the online course, physical proximity was still allowed

For this reason, we developed an extensive Online Course with 36 videos and additional material for self-reflection and exercises in the (virtual) team. For the personal exchange of course participants we have opened a Facebook group.


We believe that especially in these challenging times of upheaval, fear and uncertainty, it is more important than ever to make the world of work more holistic and effective. Suddenly more people than ever are in touch with their inner North Star — they deeply feel that many companies and professions are not creating real value and that their organisational culture could be much more authentic. That’s why we clap for care workers from our balconies and cherish those (mostly badly paid) people who uphold the infrastructure of our daily lives.

When outside structures dissolve, inner structures keep us stable and responsive

Facing an uncertain future, inner skills become all the more important. One of our central principles has been:

If we reduce external structures e.g. by flattening or completely abolishing fixed hierarchies, we lose important orientations for our own behaviour. This leads to fear and insecurity and accordingly we have to build up security elsewhere: inside ourselves.

In the corona crisis, this principle is fundamental: within a few weeks external structures have dissolved, not intentionally as part of an orchestrated change process, but completely beyond our control. In this situation a clear inner orientation is all the more important. We have to get to know ourselves better; know what is important to us, where we can find stability and comfort, which parts of our normal working lives are healthy and which are in need of an update.

Building up resilience for the crisis and developing the skills to re-build the world afterwards

Never before in my life has the world been as much in disarray and flux. This is overwhelming (and remember: today, in March 2020 we are very likely only scratching the surface of the pandemic), but it also offers an amazing opportunity: to explore who you are, how you want to live your life, what is important to you and what your contribution could be.

If used intentionally and courageously, this time can be an amazing transformational period for you and your organisation. We can use it to explore and develop those inner skills adequate for the global age. Only if we grow and mature personally, will we be able to build a fairer and healthier world after the pandemic.

We've secured a special deal for our readers! As a member of the tbd* community, you can get the course for a special rate of 299€. Just enter the code TBDCOMMUNITY when checking out.


Joana Breidenbach holds a PhD in cultural anthropology and is a well-known social entrepreneur and author. She is co-founder of, Germany's largest donation platform. In 2010, she founded the betterplace lab, a think tank researching the use of digital technologies for the common good. The betterplace lab has evolved from a hierarchical organisation to one which is radically self-managed. In line with her interest in digital-social innovations, she supports initiatives such as the ReDI School, CRCLR House and TEDx Berlin. Joana invests in impact-oriented startups such as Clue, DeepL, and The Next We. As a European thought leader she is a highly sought after speaker and advises ministries, foundations and companies.