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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Heisenberg, Jabberwocky and the medicalisation of dissatisfaction

Heisenberg, Jabberwocky and the medicalisation of dissatisfaction

A survey was published a couple of years ago to coincide with ‘National Stress Awareness Day’. Conducted by Robertson Cooper, the consultancy co-founded by media friendly academic Cary Cooper, the report made some fairly modest and believable claims about the impacts of stress. Especially if you compare them to the more startling findings of other […]

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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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The golden age of procrastination and the tyranny of time

The golden age of procrastination and the tyranny of time

Many of us will have returned to work with a long to-do list, a new set of goals and a commitment not to repeat the same mistakes we have in the past. It’s likely that we will have promised ourselves to stop putting things off. On our hit list of the foibles we most want […]

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Is work important to us because we need it to be important?

Is work important to us because we need it to be important?

The ethical, practical and philosophical implications of how we live alongside robots is something we will have to address very soon. It is a point well made in this conversation between Kate Darling of MIT and the neuroscientist Sam Harris. But we’ve had parts of this conversation before. For example, while most people will not […]

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What P T Barnum can teach us about the facilities management circus

What P T Barnum can teach us about the facilities management circus

Does any of this describe you? “You have a need for other people to like and admire you, yet you tend to be critical of yourself. While you have weaknesses you are generally able to compensate for them. You have considerable yet hidden strengths that you have yet to turn to your advantage. Self-controlled on the […]

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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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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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Survival, inquiry, sophistication: what Douglas Adams can teach us about workplace design

Survival, inquiry, sophistication: what Douglas Adams can teach us about workplace design

Each day you can easily find somebody or other sharing their thoughts on ‘the office of the future’ or ‘the death of the office’. My view is that you should steer clear of taking most of this sort of stuff head-on, on the basis that hardcore deskheads have heard most of it before and already concluded that […]

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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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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 anecdote: “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 […]

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A four hundred year old guide to ergonomics that still rings true today

A four hundred year old guide to ergonomics that still rings true today

Changes to the nature of work, where it takes place and the things we use to complete it are always constrained by one particular eternally fixed element; the human being. The unchanging individual at the centre of it all is the thing that makes us return to old ideas time and again and ensures that whatever we […]

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