Worktech West Coast this year was hosted as a RAW (Revolutions at Work) event, which is a cutting edge format where the team hold the event in a “RAW” space yet to be outfitted – a blank canvass where people can envision the future workplace. Although the neighborhood was perhaps in what you’d call an “up-and-coming” area, the concept itself proved effective and got people thinking about all of the different working environments that are possible and how future workspaces may be built and facilitated.
The sessions for the event we grouped around the following themes to prompt discussion:
- Blurring of Physical and Virtual Space – How can our digital worlds be used to enhance our physical ones? The blurring of these two boundaries comes when people can use technology to change the physical spaces they inhabit, offering a tantalizing look at what a technology based future could look like, combined with the real world that is enabling.Jacob Morgan posed (somewhat controversially) that the office may not exist at all the future! Certainly not a view that we share. Here we believe that the office of the future will continue to become one that is more open and flexible, encouraging employees to come together, collaborate, innovate and be productive. Although there is a time and a place for quiet, individual work (which may be done remotely, or at home), there is incredible power and energy that can be harnessed by bringing people together. Certainly a trend that we are seeing in Australia and across many technology companies in the Bay Area.
- User Experience (UX) and Magnet Workplaces– a look at Global Workplace case studies that focused on the User Experience and discussed how they have pushed innovation forward to create “magnet” workplaces. Microsoft shared their experiences on this topic and how it impacts and shapes their design.We hold the view that UX is incredibly important for enhancing the experience of our workplace interactions. UX can be used to inspire and facilitate enhanced levels of productivity from all stakeholders.
- The City as a Platform for Innovation – Michael Joroff from MIT, Boston explored the future of cities – troubleshooting the journey of evolution from traditional cities to innovation districts and beyond. He had some interesting publications that are available to read online. New Century City Developments and The Rise of Innovation Districts. Interestingly Ford Fish, SVP of Real Estate from Salesforce.com, spoke to their policy of building urban campuses and the conscious decision that Salesforce have made to not move to the outer suburban locations, rather to stay in the heart of the city because that’s where there customers are that is where their incredibly talented staff want to be.
- Collaboration and Community – What is the secret to successful collaboration within the workplace? Several technologies were shown on how to successfully harness technologies, space and job alignment to make the environment conducive to igniting that collaborative/creative spark to create the perfect community.
Our co-founder, Ian Morley, joined an exciting panel discussion with Martin Brooker (COO Condeco Software), Mark Gilbreath (CEO Liquidspace), Michael Housman (Chief Analytics Officer Evolov) and chaired by Peter Miscovich (MD JLL) to explore the benefits of The Quantified Workplace – specifically how technology can provide quantifiable insights into workplace utilization and help predict trends for the future.
Where are the greatest opportunities to enable the Quantified Workplace? How can it be utilized to unlock the full value of your real estate? We see that there are actually three key components:
1) The first is about analytics – what data can you collect and how can it be harvested to help make better decisions. For example, how much space do we actually need both now and in the future, what do our business units need, who are our biggest offenders in terms of space wastage, how should we focus our limited real-estate resources to make the biggest impact?
2) The second is about now having the tools to do something about it, tools to execute – scenario planning is often hard, tedious and prone to error. It should be easy and intuitive drag and drop groups around your portfolio to plan a better layout and communicate and refine those plans with your business units. Communication and collaboration with your business units and employees should be easy!
3) Your people. How can technology improve the customer experience for all your employees and stakeholders of your buildings? Especially as we move towards more modern, flexible, collaborative work environments, how can technology enable productivity and also take away the ‘fear factor’ that’s often associated with losing one’s desk?
In summary, it was a really exciting event to be a part of. We continue to be excited by the increasing uptake of our enablement technologies within North America, and look forward to sharing more client experiences in the future.