Seeing red about the only home we will ever know

Seeing red about the only home we will ever know

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Somewhere in the Utah desert, there is a small living pod designed to emulate conditions on Mars for a group of scientists keen to explore how we might colonise that red planet after messing this blue one up. This came as a surprise to me as did the news that Ikea has been on site recently installing some of its furniture for the occupants. Next up perhaps, an installation of Billy bookcases on the International Space Station as scientists explore the effects on people of a lost screw in zero gravity. I am Jack’s unconstrained rage. More →

Drawing back the curtain on the new workplace

Drawing back the curtain on the new workplace

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It’s a shame that Rhymer Rigby’s piece in The Times on creativity at work is behind a paywall because it says something perfectly obvious and demonstrable about workplace creativity that more people should read. The gist is that a cult has grown up around creativity that should be subject to more scrutiny and we should stop thinking about all work as the potential outlet for the creative instincts of people who may not have any, may not work in a job that involves them or who may not want to express them during their shifts in the Amazon warehouse. More →

The best smart cities focus on people rather than technology

The best smart cities focus on people rather than technology

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The best smart cities such as Buenos Aires focus on peopleCities are fast becoming “smart”, and the impact on people’s lives can be immense. Singapore’s smart traffic cameras restrict traffic depending on volume, and ease the commute of thousands of passengers every day. In Kaunas, Lithuania, the cost of parking is automatically deducted from the bank accounts of drivers when they park their cars. In many cities, the timing of public buses is announced at each stop with almost perfect accuracy. And free WiFi is now accessible across entire cities, including Buenos Aires, Argentina (pictured) and Ramallah, Palestine. More →

Escaping the gravity of the fixed times and places of work

Escaping the gravity of the fixed times and places of work

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The worst workplace related news story of 2019 is also one of the most widely reported. I’m not linking to it because I don’t want to give it any credibility, but it has been discharged into the ether by Fellowes along with a ‘behavioural futurist’ called William Higham. I will say only two things about it. Firstly, we flatly refused to publish a story about the damn thing and it’s a shame that the mainstream media couldn’t spot it for the utter drivel it is. The fact that they have picked up on it says something about the way such issues are covered in the press. That’s why you’re more likely to see a stress-related story about rats driving cars on the BBC than you are something meaningful. More →

Why some people are more creative than others

Why some people are more creative than others

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Creativity is often defined as the ability to come up with new and useful ideas. Like intelligence, it can be considered a trait that everyone – not just creative “geniuses” like Picasso and Steve Jobs – possesses in some capacity. It’s not just your ability to draw a picture or design a product. We all need to think creatively in our daily lives, whether it’s figuring out how to make dinner using leftovers or fashioning a Halloween costume out of clothes in your closet. More →

Making flippy floppy with the meaning of work

Making flippy floppy with the meaning of work

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Great news! No, not the Brexit deal but the reports that the US has replaced the floppy disks it uses to store the information about its nuclear arsenal with something a bit less Nineties. If nothing else, a useful reminder that even the people responsible for a potential Armageddon might not be quite on board for the Fourth Industrial Revolution just yet, and are still coming to terms with the Third. More →

Going with the flow in office design

Going with the flow in office design

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Sedus Smart OfficeThroughout history we’ve been aware of the state we now refer to as flow. It describes the sensation of existing purely in the moment of some activity, effortlessly achieving what we have set out to achieve and unaware of distractions. Mystics have described it as ecstasy, artists as rapture and athletes as in the zone. This state was first described as flow by the Hungarian psychologist Mihály Csíkszentmihályi in 1975 and has been developed by him and a wide range of other researchers in a number of fields since that time. More →

WeWork, false narratives and the superstate of office design

WeWork, false narratives and the superstate of office design

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WeWork New YorkSo, WeWork then. As the dust settles on whatever has happened, some lessons may be emerging. Many of them are presented in this comment in The Economist and this piece in The Intelligencer in which Scott Galloway of NYU Business School claims that the problems have been evident for a long time. He doesn’t hold back. More →

Workplace interruptions are not all bad

Workplace interruptions are not all bad

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An email pops up on your screen. It’s a client sharing a project update. A Slack message appears. It’s your boss asking a question. A text alert beeps. A colleague wants to know if you will be attending a meeting. Sound familiar? People are increasingly besieged at work by workplace interruptions through email, messaging apps, social media and in-person encounters. More →

The role of AI in creating a more human workplace

The role of AI in creating a more human workplace

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As artificial intelligence (AI) continues to infiltrate modern society, the benefits and pitfalls the technology receive almost peerless attention. The emergence of AI is of particular importance to how organisations might recruit, with clear signs that they are becoming more interested in the benefits it brings to their businesses.

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The four day week problem, WeWork delays IPO, harbingers of doom and some other stuff

The four day week problem, WeWork delays IPO, harbingers of doom and some other stuff

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It’s interesting to watch what happens when politicians – even more so than normal people – are faced with evidence they don’t like. And it’s especially interesting when they asked for the evidence in the first place. You can pick your own examples but it was interesting to note Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell’s immediate and decidedly lukewarm response to his own report into the wisdom of introducing a 4 day week, which concluded that the idea is ‘not realistic or even desirable’. More →

Life on the edge – a conversation with Sandra Gritti

Life on the edge – a conversation with Sandra Gritti

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Back in 2015 it was common to see one particular building described as the smartest, greenest and most intelligent in the world. This was the Edge in Amsterdam. There were some very good reasons why it was so well received. It achieved the highest BREEAM environmental rating ever recorded and generated all of its own energy. More →

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