May 25, 2023
The current issue of IN Magazine plus a special edition of Works
We learned recently that our website is one of the many that has been used to train Google’s AI, the very thing that would supplant us. We’re not alone in that of course, but we are flattered and appalled to discover we are fairly high up the list, so obviously doing something right as far as Google is concerned. Advertisers and sponsors, please contact us in the usual way. Anyway, never mind that bollocks, here’s the new digital edition of IN, a printed magazine written, illustrated and designed by humans (and one AI).
In this issue, Monica Parker invites us to experience the wonder of our surroundings; Esme Banks-Marr argues for a rethink of the way we talk about obsolescence; Jo Knight asks whether modish design and new materials are genuinely sustainable; Dave Cook looks at the local backlash to digital nomads; I round up some of the latest thinking on AI; Chris Kane and Simone Fenton-Jarvis share some thoughts; Anna King pays tribute to Tony Brown who died recently; and we explore the ways in which English words often fail to capture some important ideas about life the universe and everything. And of course there’s much more.
That includes a bonus issue of Works Magazine, bound-in, focussing on Clerkenwell Design Week.
Please subscribe here. Check out back issues here. And show some love for Works magazine here.
There’s nowhere near enough talk about our base instincts in the Great Workplace Conversation. Objectively speaking, we remain relatively highly evolved, communal and intelligent primates. And so we are driven by things we like to admit to – love, empathy and the Golden Rule. But also things we don’t care to admit to in quite the same way – status, jealousy and self-interest.
Often these two facets of our nature get tangled up. We will act out empathy to heighten our status amongst peers. And often we ascribe to others noble motives that may be rooted in something ignoble. As La Rochefoucald wrote:
“Great and brilliant deeds that dazzle the onlooker are depicted by strategists as the result of great plans, whereas they are usually the result of temperament and passion. So, the war between Augustus and Antony, which is ascribed to their ambition to gain mastery of the world, may merely have been due to jealousy.”
We’re going to have to account for this kind of thing at some point in all of the talk of hybrid working, and not just to acknowledge the resentment amongst those majority of people for whom all of the chatter about it, four day weeks and whatever isn’t even relevant.
Status will perhaps be the most important of the shady motivators of human behaviour. It is possible to display status remotely, but I suspect we are about to discover new ways of making it clear just where we stand in the pecking order.
Just as executives became more creative when it became clear that mahogany desks, high back leather chairs and private offices were likely to be interpreted as a sign of inadequacy (often on good grounds), so too will we see the emergence of new status symbols in the new ways of working.
The way we talk about work and workplace should acknowledge that not all of our motivations are logical or noble
The Ellinikon in Attica, Greece and a new AI innovation centre in Germany
We’ll make you scream and jump for joy
Without a paddle
Esme Banks-Marr argues that we need to rethink the very idea of obsolescence in the way we talk about buildings
Moments of wonder
The idea of wonder is linked to our curiosity and openness to experience and we should seek it everywhere, says Monica Parker
Digital nomads are starting to price out local communities around the world writes Dave Cook
Modish materials and designs do not always improve the green credentials of products, finds Jo Knight
We pay tribute to a titan of the office furniture world who died recently
Scale and architecture
When the size of a creature changes, so does its form and so nature has some lessons for designers, architects and managers
Words of love
Sometimes English isn’t the best language to describe important ideas about life, the universe and everything
Artificial intelligence is about to change the world, but there are too many people convinced they know how
Our podcast series in partnership with the Workplace Geeks
Up to date news about events, products, services and projects
Final word on … wellbeing
We seem to have reverted to obsessing about productivity