Dash Marshall

As part of their investment in local communities across the country, the Knight Foundation asked us to help them understand the needs of today’s independent workers.

We spent a month and a half conducting research and getting to know independent workers (mostly freelancers but also some small business owners) working in Charlotte, Detroit, Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco.


This qualitative research was focused on synthesizing the experiences of independents into a framework that would be useful for understanding and designing the future of work, independent or not.

Our framework is organized around nine key questions:

Effort, Flexibility, Responsibilities, Pay, Security, Identity, Community, Development & Scale


This project culminated in a design brief for the foundation’s Civic Innovation In Action Studio, with gathered 100+ leaders from around the country to explore ways to harness talent, advance opportunity and promote robust engagement.

You can read a version of it on on Medium, as a series of four essays: