27 July 2016

ILO: ASEAN in Transformation

In the future, where will taxi drivers go when we have self-driving cabs? When a smartphone’s camera can gather body measurements, how much business will tailors lose? How skilled do radiologists need to be when computer vision becomes so advanced that it can perform medical image analysis – identifying tumours, blood clots and other maladies?

In the wake of unprecedented innovations in technology, these are the kinds of questions the International Labour Organization (ILO) and research institutions around the world want to answer. After 6,800+ surveys, 330+ interviews, 13 company site visits and six expert consultations, the ILO recently published a series of papers representing one of the organisation’s most ambitious studies to date, collectively titled ASEAN in transformation. These studies identify which ASEAN occupations and sectors are at the highest and lowest risks of automation, what perspectives ASEAN students and enterprises hold regarding the future of work, and the challenges and opportunities facing five prominent sectors in ASEAN. Overall, the ILO asserts:

"Technologies – both current and forthcoming – will increase productivity, render some occupations obsolete and create new ones. The real question lies in whether ASEAN can take advantage of the benefits technology offers … A lack of action by ASEAN actors at all levels …  could lead to missed opportunities to expand markets and boost competitiveness, bringing negative consequences for the economy."

Because of the project’s rigour and breadth, the ILO asked QUO to take on design and editorial responsibilities that would establish a unique visual identity to help the study stand out among peer publications; meticulously refine visual and textual elements such that the six documents clearly communicate a sense of urgency to non-specialised readers; create a series of relevant infographics; and compose, design and layout a high-impact summary presentation for use in workshops, symposiums and conferences.

QUO is proud to have collaborated so closely with the ILO to craft a design that is both futuristic and grounded in the current ASEAN context. The illustrations rely on crisp, thin lines that suggest the ambiguous nature of how technology could affect ASEAN. The editorial partnering between QUO and ILO allowed the vast amount of research and analysis to be distilled into key findings for a broader audience.

On 7 July 2016, the ILO officially launched ASEAN in transformation at a media briefing conference in Singapore, which received considerable attention from media outlets throughout Asia and the Pacific. Current events channels such as The Philippine Star, The Borneo Bulletin, The Gulf Today, India-based Financial Chronicle, Shanghai-based Collective Responsibility and Yahoo! Singapore reported the ILO’s findings. The reports are officially housed at the ILO website here.

The ILO is a specialised agency of the United Nations working on labour issues, particularly international labour standards, social protection, and work opportunities for all. It is unique in that it strives to provide an equal voice to workers, employers and governments. In 1969, the ILO received the Nobel Peace Prize for improving peace among classes, pursuing decent work and justice for workers, and providing assistance to developing nations.

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