About Mark Eltringham

Mark is the publisher of Workplace Insight, IN magazine, Works magazine and is the European Director of Work&Place journal. He has worked in the office design and management sector for over thirty years as a journalist, marketing professional, editor and consultant.

Posts by Mark Eltringham:

Some questions about AI, a world drowning in content and the human centipede of creativity

Some questions about AI, a world drowning in content and the human centipede of creativity

We still don't even know what questions to ask about AI, so the idea we can provide answers is a bit prematureOne unintended but welcome result of the new fixation with AI is that many of the people who became experts on the workplace in 2020 are now experts on AI. You’ll find them on social media and they’ll have written a book about it by May to sit on the shelf alongside the one about hybrid working and The Great Resignation. So, if you want some certainty about where generative AI taking us, go talk to one of them because people who know about the subject seem to have little or no idea. More →

Issue 13 of IN Magazine celebrates ten years of workplace insight

Issue 13 of IN Magazine celebrates ten years of workplace insight

The new issue of In Magazine has now been published. It marks ten years of Workplace Insight with a few things we think we know about work, working culture and work places.The new issue of In Magazine has now been published. It marks ten years of Workplace Insight with a few things we think we know about work, working culture and work places. Elsewhere in this issue: Stephanie Fitzgerald talks about the unspoken privilege of wellbeing; we consider the sprawl of the world’s megacities; Jo Knight argues that the office sector needs to really up its game on the environment; Rene Stevens makes the case for a strategic approach to learning environments; we weigh up the pros and cons of retrofit and new builds; Neil Usher sets out to develop a universally acceptable definition of hybrid working; Andy Brown on what we really need data for; why dead tech hangs around; and we do the maths on what it means when people say the office should be worth the commute it takes to get to it. More →

It’s hard to keep dead tech down

It’s hard to keep dead tech down

People are curiously slow to give up on dead tech, sometimes for sound practical reasons and sometimes not so muchIn 2022, Cormac McCarthy published two novels at the age of 89. An impressive feat, doubly so because he wrote them on the same old dead tech typewriter he’d bought from a pawn shop in 1963. He no longer has the original, a light blue Olivetti Lettera 32, because that was sold at a charity auction for a quarter of million dollars in 2009. A friend replaced it with an identical model for just $11. But one that lacked the cultural imprint, clearly. More →

AI presents us with a chance to rediscover what it means to be human

AI presents us with a chance to rediscover what it means to be human

We won't beat AI by relying on formulaic thinking and ideas, so we need to rethink creativity and what it means to be humanLike a lot of people right now, I am struggling to get my head around where we are going with AI. Look around and you’ll see the breathless excitement at the sheer amazingness of it all. And examples of its limitations, how it screws up, how military grade AI can be fooled by somebody hiding in a box, and its sense of humour failure. All of this is demonstrably, paradoxically true. More →

Forget all the talk of Blue Monday; work is still (largely) good for us

Forget all the talk of Blue Monday; work is still (largely) good for us

blue mondaySo here it is. Blue Monday. Today. Officially the most depressing day of the year. We say ‘officially’, but like the idea of ‘Body Odour’ its common usage hides the fact that it was originally created as part of a PR campaign, in this case one for Sky’s travel channel in 2005. The whole idea of Blue Monday is couched in a pseudo-mathematical equation which includes factors like the weather, levels of debt, time since Christmas, low levels of motivation and, apparently, an unspecified variable known simply as ‘D’. More →

How the 21st Century office was born in post war Europe

How the 21st Century office was born in post war Europe

Central Beheer Building There was a curious addition to a 2016 report on the Top 10 Technologies Driving the Digital Workplace from tech researchers Gartner. It wasn’t a technology at all but rather a slightly obscure office design concept that originated in Hamburg in the late 1950s, but which tells us a lot about how we work in the 21st Century office, according to Gartner. Its history lies with the German consulting firm Quickborner. Led by the brothers Eberhard and Wolfgang Schnelle, the firm applied the egalitarian principles of the post war world and rejection of the scientific management theories that had created the familiar factory-like rows of desks that had come to dominate open plan offices to create something more in tune with the new age.

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Ten years of Insight and a few things I think I know

Ten years of Insight and a few things I think I know

This website started in late 2012 as a way for me to explore both a new media format and a new way of thinking about work and workplaces. I’d already been active in various roles in the workplace, design and facilities sector for twenty odd years, but needed a new challenge. And this was it. I was going for a ride with an idea to see where it went. More →

Never mind the workplace predictions, here’s some bollocks

Never mind the workplace predictions, here’s some bollocks

A painting of Janus to depict the number of workplace predictions and retrospectives at the end of the yearTime of the year for looking backwards and forwards. For workplace predictions and retrospectives. The Economist announces that the word / term of the year is hybrid work. This is interesting because, although The Economist is using it as an interchangeable term for flexible working as many do, a great deal of energy is still expounded on defining exactly what it means. We may work out when the obsession with three days in the office, two at home thing started. But for now, determining where people are at any given time doesn’t seem very flexible to me. More →

The ethics of AI, liveable cities, unf*cking work and how the office needs to be more like your home…

The ethics of AI, liveable cities, unf*cking work and how the office needs to be more like your home…

The cover of IN Magazine 12 featuring a woman working in a private booth in an officeIN13 is in production but you can see the digital edition of issue 12 of IN Magazine here. It continues to explore the most up to date topics for workplace managers and executives. Including: a look at the reality of liveable cities; why offices now need to offer people more privacy, peace and quiet; how firms need to address the challenges of the circular economy; a case study from the dynamic city of Ljubljana; David Sharp on the ethics of AI; Chelsea Perino on hybrid working; a critical review of Neil Usher’s new book; Marie Puybaraud of JLL in conversation; and much more. All back issues of IN can be found here. And why not check out Works Magazine and Work&Place Journal too. More →

The Great Relearning about the Great Office Problem

The Great Relearning about the Great Office Problem

A person using computer in style of edward hopper in an office at nightOne of the latest people to invent activity-based working is sociologist Ana Andjelic, who combines it with the similarly familiar hub and spoke office model on her substack as a solution to the Great Office Problem. She’s not the first and is a less surprising pioneer of a decades old model than some other people who should really know better. That includes an architectural practice who came up with the idea earlier this year and whose name escapes me. More →

Always connected in the age of disconnection

Always connected in the age of disconnection

All of humanity’s problems,” the French scientist and philosopher Blaise Pascal wrote in 1654, “stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone.” He may have been right, but then again, sitting in a room alone isn’t necessarily a great state of permanent being either. There was a time we used to talk with dismay about the Japanese phenomenon of intense social distancing known as hikikomori. We would consider with horror the isolation, lack of engagement with society, poor mental health and loneliness of the people who had almost completely withdrawn to their rooms. Those poor bastards locked up in enclosed spaces linked to the outside world only by screens. More →

The workplace circus continues to entertain, but back in the real world…

The workplace circus continues to entertain, but back in the real world…

A painting of a clown sitting alone, waiting to enter the workplace circusThe Great Workplace Circus headlines its 322nd show of the year with everybody’s favourite distraction, Elon Musk, being driven into the ring by his own shoddily built clown car, declaring he needs everybody at Twitter to be ‘extremely hardcore’ before sacking a few people from his space programme, then setting fire to the tent himself. The swarm of stories spawned by this extraordinary behaviour include this tired and predictable rant in the Telegraph about ‘lazy Brits’. Ironically, there’s nothing lazier than a columnist on this rag with some space to fill. More →

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