About Mark Eltringham

Mark is the publisher of Insight and has worked in the office design and management sector for over twenty five years as a journalist, marketing professional, editor and consultant.

Posts by Mark Eltringham:

How Charles Handy changed the way we speak about the workplace

How Charles Handy changed the way we speak about the workplace

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There are writers whose language pervades our discourse so extensively that even those who have never heard of them will echo not only their sentiments but also their means of expression. One of these people is Charles Handy, who has just published his latest book 21 Letters on Life and its Challenges at the age of 87. His work resonates to this day and not least because he was so far ahead of the curve in detailing many of the characteristics of modern organisations and the challenges created for everybody by the changing nature of work and business. More →

Offices still failing to support collaborative work

Offices still failing to support collaborative work

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collaborative workTeam-based collaborative work is increasing as people in the UK now spend 55 percent of their time working with others, according to new Steelcase research. This global trend toward collaboration is critical for organisations which need to quickly generate new ideas and solve complex problems; yet, the new study suggests many workplaces do not support this team-based work. More →

Stranger than we can imagine: the future of work and place in the 21st Century

Stranger than we can imagine: the future of work and place in the 21st Century 0

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future of work and placeHowever much we know about the forces we expect to come into play in our time and however much we understand the various social, commercial, legislative, cultural and economic parameters we expect to direct them, most predictions of the future tend to come out as refractions or extrapolations of the present. This is a fact tacitly acknowledged by George Orwell’s title for 1984, written in 1948, and is always the pinch of salt we can apply to science fiction and most of the predictions we come across. More →

Family firms focus more on corporate social responsibility

Family firms focus more on corporate social responsibility

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corporate social responsibilityCompanies owned by families pay more attention to issues of corporate social responsibility (CSR), such as sustainability and environmental issues, according to research from Vlerick Business School, but the research also found that attention to CSR decreases as the company is handed down to the next generations. Dr. Kerstin Fehre, Professor of Strategy at Vlerick Business School, alongside Dr. Florian Weber from the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology in Germany, studied family firms and the attention they gave to CSR compared to non-family firms. The study, published in the journal Business Ethics: A European Review, used over a hundred of the largest HDAX listed companies in Germany and analysed messages to shareholders published in annual reports. More →

Firms can overplay the war for talent, researchers find

Firms can overplay the war for talent, researchers find

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the war for talentFirms often put great effort in retaining good employees because they fear the loss of talent and knowledge spillover to rival companies. However, new research published in the Academy of Management journal by Stefan Wagner, Professor of Strategy at ESMT Berlin, and Martin Goossen from Tilburg University suggests that losing key employees to a competitor can actually be a benefit to companies and so the war for talent may be futile or even counterproductive. To assess the impact of mobile employees the researchers focused on R&D alliances in the pharmaceutical industry, where partnerships are a common mode of innovation as they diffuse the burden of costly drug development. They collected data on alliance formation amongst the 55 largest pharmaceutical firms over a 16-year period, identifying all scientists that moved between these firms. Of the 130,000 scientists the researchers tracked, more than 8,200 moved from one firm to another. More →

The scale of the problem for workplace design

The scale of the problem for workplace design 0

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There is a typically telling and intelligent Pixar moment in the film A Bug’s Life in which an already well-lubricated mosquito goes up to a bar and orders a ‘Bloody Mary, O Positive’. The barman plonks a droplet of blood down on the bar. The mosquito sinks his proboscis into it, sucks it down in one go and promptly falls over. The mosquito doesn’t need a glass because that is for animals who have a problem with gravity. For insects, the major force in their lives isn’t gravity, but surface tension. More →

Lack of workplace trust associated with heart disease

Lack of workplace trust associated with heart disease

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An abstract painting of a heart to show the link between lack of workplace trust and heart diseaseA study published in International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, based on data drawn from a Gallup index of more than 412,000 full-time workers, suggests that lack of workplace trust could be a significant contributory factor to heart disease. More →

The theme park of modern office design

The theme park of modern office design

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office design is moving into a new phaseHere’s an interesting exercise you may want to try. Off the top of your head and without thinking about it too much, write down the names of five iconic office furniture designs. The kind that your Aunt Sheila might recognise if she saw them but wouldn’t necessarily be able to name. When I did this recently while writing a piece about design trends, the products I came up with automatically were things like Frank Lloyd Wright’s desks for the Larkin building, Action Office, the 3107 chair (pictured), and Marcel Breuer’s Wassily Chair. More →

World Economic Forum sets out top tech trends for 2019

World Economic Forum sets out top tech trends for 2019

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tech trends for the workplaceThe World Economic Forum has announced its annual list of breakthrough technologies with the greatest potential to make a positive impact on our world. The technologies on the list, which is curated by members of the Forum’s Expert Network, are selected against a number of criteria. In addition to promising major benefits to societies and economies, they must also be disruptive, attractive to investors and researchers, and expected to have achieved considerable scale within five years. This year’s list features several technologies and tech trends directly relevant to the workplace and building design, including telepresence, automation and systems for plastics management.

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Isaac Asimov’s remarkable 1964 predictions about life and work in the 21st Century

Isaac Asimov’s remarkable 1964 predictions about life and work in the 21st Century

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Making predictions about the future can leave people hostages to fortune. Just ask the Decca record executive Dick Rowe who in 1962 rejected a contract with The Beatles confidently asserting that “guitar groups are on their way out, Mr Epstein” or even multi-billionaire Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer who declared in 2007 that “there’s no chance that the iPhone is going to get any significant market share.” Some people buck the trend however. More →

A Turing Test for the workplace

A Turing Test for the workplace 0

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Are we seeing the creation of a new type of workplace professional?One of the ideas we’re going to hear about a lot over the next few years is the Turing Test. It describes the point at which a machine’s behaviour becomes indistinguishable from a human’s, so that a typical person is unable to work out if he or she is interacting with a machine or an individual. This matters for lots of reasons; functional, philosophical and ethical. More →

Office taxonomy and an increasingly diverse workplace ecosystem

Office taxonomy and an increasingly diverse workplace ecosystem 0

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A very modern workplaceIt is perhaps the most common misconception of evolutionary theory that all animals are somehow evolving towards some end point – meaning us. This notion is perhaps best summed up when a sceptic asks: “If we have evolved from monkeys, why are there still monkeys?” The lesser of the two problems with this is its solipsistic assumption that humans are the pinnacles of life and that, if evolution were true, all species would eventually evolve into people. More →

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