Participating in and launching both local and global initiatives to solve critical societal issues is a big part of the agenda for Impact Hub Budapest.
In support of our global mission, we recently kicked off the ‘Communities for Change’ (C4C) program, a 4-month course and incubator developed in partnership with MIT’s Presencing Institute and the BMW Foundation that will bring together stakeholders across different sectors to build collaborative solutions to local challenges. Responsive cities across the globe were selected to help solve critical issues occuring in each of their local eco-systems that challenge the social and cultural landscape at the moment.
On January 29th, the program kicked off in Budapest with 15 participants from diverse backgrounds such as digital startups, corporates, entrepreneurs and NGO representatives. The team chose the theme “Future of Work” as the topic for their journey. They discovered that a wide range of skills and work styles were represented in the team, they also realised a missing connection to the government and media. As a cohesive team, they will take on the challenge of identifying the underlying issues of why work is depleting people in Hungary, and come up with a strategy to reform the work ethic in Hungary. Work, where we spend most our awake time, should make us feel recharged and inspired to make a difference in the world and contribute to something bigger than ourselves.
Let’s set the stage with a little background information about the issues existing in the Hungarian market which could potentially be some of the challenges that the team will tackle during their journey.
- There are people working in the commercial sector who are struggling to pay their bills regardless of their full time working status. Jobs in Hungary pay barely enough to survive and offer no hope to improve this scenario. People in this sector are often very vulnerable and abused by their employers.
- There are people working in the public sector like Education, Healthcare or Safety with pay and conditions equal or worse than the previous group. In Hungary, a 2nd grade teach or a nurse make the bear minimum despite the critical duties that they fulfill in our society each and everyday.
- There are people working for multinational companies that might earn enough to live comfortable lives, but their workplace does not require them to think. Manual labour, assembly lines, even software development is done in this manner. Hungarian companies consider these people as cheap laborers to follow orders like robots and only do the non-creative tasks in the workplace. Typically, the creative jobs such as Design, Research & Development, etc… are done in the more developed country offices of Europe. As a result, this creates mistrust from the more developed countries and feeds into a never ending cycle of only transferring the un-interesting and un-inspiring work to Hungarian offices with too many restrictions and too much control involved.
- There are the Hungarian entrepreneurs working for non-governmental NGO’s that are struggling to survive. These organizations can’t earn enough to pay decent salaries to their workers and therefore can’t keep up with foreign companies. The government is also constantly trying to find ways to dismantle them and sometimes consider them a threat to national policies. These NGO’s attract creative people who do not want to work for multinational companies, but part of the pay is official and mostly under the table. This creates conditions where the work is fulfilling, but not always stable or transparent.
These challenges facing Hungary compromise the future of producing a skilled, qualified, and educated workforce. They are also resulting in dangerous subversive systems such as people selling their hours for money to be able to provide for their family. Young people and skilled professionals are leaving the country to find more suitable and better situations elsewhere. The ‘Future of Work’ project could offer solutions for companies to develop a conscious working environment that serves to create a culture where employees have the potential to develop themselves and recognize their purpose in life. The Impact Hub Budapest C4C team have their work cut out for them, but are ready to face these challenges and propose positive solutions that will impact social change and the prospect of achieving success in the Hungarian working environment.
Updates will be provided by the team throughout the program via social media and our website. For more information, please contact Melinda Varfi, [email protected].