Lecture to focus on rise of the robots and the role of employee ownership

The rise of the robots and which types of businesses are best able to benefit from emerging technology will be the focus of the Robert Oakeshott Lecture 2020.

Engineer and technologist Naomi Climer CBE, Co-chair of the Institute for the Future of Work, will deliver the lecture with a focus on the Rise of the Robots and yet unpublished research that illustrates how a focus on the employees in a business can support it to make the most of technology.

Naomi, whose main message will be about taking a human centred approach to technology, is the eighth person to give the Robert Oakeshott Lecture. The lecture commemorates and celebrates the life, legacy, and work of the EOA’s founder, and employee ownership pioneer, Robert Oakeshott.

After the lecture there will be a discussion in conversation with Naomi and the EOA’s Chief Executive Deb Oxley, they will discuss the role of employee ownership in the 2030 economy in the context of increased automation.

Naomi Climer CBE, Co-Chair, Institute for the Future of Work, said: “Socially responsible automation is critical to spread the benefits of tech. We must craft the future of work, so it works for us all.”

The 2020 lecture is sponsored by EOA member Postlethwaite, an employee-owned law firm whose purpose is to help businesses become employee-owned as a route to growth, improved performance, greater resilience and sharing of rewards with all who play a role.

Robert Postlethwaite, Managing Director, Postlethwaite, said: “There is growing consensus that employee ownership brings benefits for business, employees and society alike.  But as automation and artificial intelligence and the need to combat climate change ushers in a new industrial revolution, we need to ask what kinds of future organisation will employees own and what jobs will they have?  I look forward to hearing Naomi’s ideas and thoughts and to what I trust will be a stimulating and challenging conversation around them.”

Deb Oxley OBE, Chief Executive of the EOA said: “This year’s lecture will explore the impact of future work on society, productivity and the economy.  It will look at the role human centred technology adoption, including employee ownership, will have for employees and business owners alike.

“I believe this will help more people to better understand the relevance of employee ownership for a future economy linked to automation – alongside EO’s better known attributes of contributing to more inclusive, resilient and productive regional economies. If we do not plan now to make the most of what automation can offer to the individual, the business and the economy then we risk a resilience emergency in the UK.”

The Robert Oakeshott Lecture is delivered by the Employee Ownership Association with the support of the Oakeshott family. Robert Oakeshott, journalist, economist and social reformer, founded Job Ownership Ltd (JOL) in 1979 with the support of companies such as the John Lewis Partnership and international polymers manufacturer Scott Bader. His book ‘Jobs and Fairness’ is acknowledged as the definitive study on employee ownership in the UK and overseas.

The lecture will take place the 27th February 2020. For  more information or to book, visit the Robert Oakeshott Lecture webpage.