In three weeks' time, Parliament House in Canberra will host the Jobs and Skills Summit, bringing together unions, employers, civil society groups and governments. From this summit, an Employment White Paper will be developed focusing on keeping unemployment low, boosting productivity and incomes, delivering secure, well-paid jobs and sustainable wages growth, looking to expand employment opportunities to include the most disadvantaged, addressing skills shortages, improving migration strategies, folding in climate change, the digital economy and the care economy, together with ensuring women have equal opportunities and equal pay. In two days. No pressure. I've been thinking a lot about this summit since its announcement on July 11. I would love to see a mutual approach taken to this conversation instead of the staid old tack. In the media, boardrooms and Parliament House, we talk a lot about boosting profits, boosting wages, boosting productivity, inflation, growth, and the constant drive for year-on-year profit expansion and continuous cutbacks on spending. Capitalism requires us to push for more, more, more - more profit, more savings, more productivity - so push, we do. We champion continuous improvement, we measure our career successes by metrics like building sales growth X per cent over X months, we deliver reports with quantified data that "prove" how much the workers have pushed so the company can make even more money and we celebrate "streamlining" teams to reduce wages cost and increase our reliance on automation. And the rich get richer. And the workers form committees to find cost savings and do themselves out of a job by implementing the "improved" strategies. MORE ZOE WUNDENBERG: Despite what you are probably thinking right now, I am not an idiot. I know business needs to make money to operate, to maintain a workforce and to deliver products and services. But these goals are not the only goals that should be indicators of success. We take a top-down approach to, well, everything. We insist on trickle-down economics (despite the evidence that calls the efficacy of this approach into question) and we talk primarily to businesses when it comes to labour and workforce - what do they need? How can we incentivise skill development to meet that need? How can we fit the human resources around the business needs to better push, push, push, towards those ever-moving profitability goalposts? What if we turned this on its head? What would happen if we looked at what people wanted to do and how they wanted to do it, and looked to see how this could benefit business and society? After all, businesses don't have ideas, people do. I've been thinking a lot about the community conversations that Helen Haines, and Cathy McGowan, have had over the years since they've held the seat of Indi respectively, and how this allowed them to build a grassroots approach to political representation. Such an approach would have been a genuinely engaging strategy to take in the lead up to the summit so that more voices could be heard, and more ideas shared to secure the future world of work. I loved to hear federal Treasurer Jim Chalmers say that one of the goals for this summit is "trying to find the common ground so that we can all succeed together," but the focus from there seemed to be primarily on productivity, growth and increasing profitability. While these things are important, and are certainly more easily reported on than ideas of fulfilment, innovation and creative problem solving, thinking about how you do things in a different way and tapping into the skills of others that you hadn't thought relevant to your goals before, might just hold the answer to the question you didn't even know needed asking. Afterall, if we always do what we have always done, we'll always get what we've always got. And I don't know about you, but I was kinda looking forward to the flying cars promised in Back to the Future II, but we'll never get there if we don't look at the people and what they have to offer the market and not just rely on the businesses to tell us what they think they need. No one left behind. No one held back. But this also means no one left unheard.