What The Midwich Cuckoos can teach us about Millennials

What The Midwich Cuckoos can teach us about Millennials

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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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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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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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 to be 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 […]

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Future Shock: a message from the past that defines the present

Future Shock: a message from the past that defines the present

We are all futurologists now. We all have our 2020 visions, at least for a little while. But there was a time, not so long ago, when the title was reserved for a few people who would be able to shake and shape the world with a single idea and a book. Yes, a book. […]

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What Baloo can teach us about our suspicion of tall buildings

What Baloo can teach us about our suspicion of tall buildings

“What Baloo had said about the monkeys was perfectly true. They belonged to the tree-tops, and as beasts very seldom look up, there was no occasion for the monkeys and the Jungle-People to cross each other’s path.” Now of course, Rudyard Kipling meant this figuratively but there is a clear link between ‘up’ in the […]

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Shakespeare, steampunk and our immersion in tech soup

Shakespeare, steampunk and our immersion in tech soup

Technology is always remarkable in its own time, indistinguishable from magic for an increasingly fleeting moment before the stardust fades and it becomes mundane, subverted by our unintended uses, its own unintended consequences and the very way it inveigles itself into the background of our existence, blurring identities, changing the way we view ourselves and […]

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The golden age of procrastination and the tyranny of time keeping

The golden age of procrastination and the tyranny of time keeping

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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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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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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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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How Charles Eames came to have mixed feelings for his most famous chair

How Charles Eames came to have mixed feelings for his most famous chair

As any honest smartphone user would attest, the things we own sometimes end up owning us. Equally, the things we create can end up owning us. The most famous item designed by Charles Eames is a moulded plywood, leather upholstered lounge chair and matching ottoman that are timelessly iconic, have spawned thousands of rip-off versions, […]

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