What Aldous Huxley can teach us about acoustics at work

What Aldous Huxley can teach us about acoustics at work

Over the last few years there has been something of a widespread backlash to the idea that we need to have constant access to information and our colleagues to work effectively. The touchstone for this movement is of course the open plan office but it has become something of a scapegoat given the universality of […]

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Is this the missing piece of the facilities management puzzle?

Is this the missing piece of the facilities management puzzle?

The IFMA Foundation Workplace Summit of summer 2014 felt like an optimistic time for facilities management and the workspace industry. Heavyweights from the sector were asking searching questions about our organisational contribution, with thankfully less of the internally focused, debate-free hubris typical of much of the industry narrative. The newly announced (and now evidently historical) […]

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A new age of reason for workplace design and management

A new age of reason for workplace design and management

The enduring struggle to improve the working conditions and performance of people through the design and management of their workplaces has more than a whiff of the Enlightenment of the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries about it. The Enlightenment marked a new era in which the old superstitions and dogmas were to be overthrown by pure reason. This […]

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How adversity and chaos can often help to foster personal creativity

How adversity and chaos can often help to foster personal creativity

We may live in a knowledge economy in a world, where the most highly prized people as far as employers are concerned are knowledge workers, but the thing that sets us apart from the machines is not knowledge at all, but creativity. Acquiring managing and sharing knowledge is essential, but it’s what we do with […]

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Putting the responsibility into personal and corporate social responsibility

Putting the responsibility into personal and corporate social responsibility

You’re probably aware of the experiment performed by Stanley Milgram in which volunteers were asked by men in white coats to administer what they believed were electric shocks to another person, who they could not see, but could hear, from behind a screen. Around two-thirds of the volunteers agreed to deliver what they were told […]

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The Internet and a pile of turtles that goes all the way down

The Internet and a pile of turtles that goes all the way down

In his 1998 book A Brief History of Time Stephen Hawking relates the following: “A well-known scientist (some say it was Bertrand Russell) once gave a public lecture on astronomy. He described how the earth orbits around the sun and how the sun, in turn, orbits around the centre of a vast collection of stars […]

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Breaking eggs and a two thousand year quest to make the most of each day

Breaking eggs and a two thousand year quest to make the most of each day

The fracturing of time and place underlies every one of the great workplace issues of our time. Everything that springs from this – the where, when, how, what and why of work – is defined by the shattering of any fixed idea we may once have had of a time and a place to work. […]

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Magic, psychogeography and the limits of workplace design

Magic, psychogeography and the limits of workplace design

Derren Brown is clearly on to something. And if you’ve read his books you’ll know that what he’s on to is finding ways to tap in to our fascination with how our thoughts and actions can be manipulated using some well-defined and researched techniques and principles. Add in some showmanship and what you have is something […]

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What The Midwich Cuckoos can teach us about Generation Y

What The Midwich Cuckoos can teach us about Generation Y

John Wyndham’s 1957 novel The Midwich Cuckoos is the story of a fictional English village in which, following an unexplained event that causes everybody within Midwich to fall unconscious, all of the women in the village fall pregnant and 61 children are subsequently born all at the same time. The children bear absolutely no physical […]

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What Lewis Carroll can teach us about the office of the future

What Lewis Carroll can teach us about the office of the future

Lewis Carroll’s second best known work The Hunting of the Snark is a long nonsense poem that describes the pursuit by a group of adventurers of an elusive creature called a Snark. This turns out to be a much more dangerous Boojum when it is finally seen, causing one of the crew members to vanish. […]

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How Thomas Jefferson came to invent the swivel chair and laptop

How Thomas Jefferson came to invent the swivel chair and laptop

In 1775, Thomas Jefferson was a busy man. As part of the Committee of Five men and at the tender age of 33, he had been charged with drafting the Declaration of Independence that was to be presented to Congress the following Summer. By all accounts, Jefferson was a self-contained and self-sufficient man and, like […]

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What Carl Sagan could teach us about knowledge management

What Carl Sagan could teach us about knowledge management

Unbelievably for those of us who saw him as a personal hero, it’s getting on for 20 years since the astronomer and author Carl Sagan died. At the time of his death in 1996, the Internet was very much in its infancy but Sagan could see what was coming, including how we need to filter […]

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