Search Results for: serendipity

HS2 is a project for today projected into an uncertain future

Barely a day passes in the media without some new battleground opening up in the debate about the UK’s plan to develop HS2, the high speed line connecting London with Birmingham, Leeds, Manchester, Sheffield and, for some reason, a place nobody’s heard of halfway between Derby and Nottingham called Toton (pop. 7,298). While the debate rages about the cost, the economic benefits, regional rebalancing, environmental impact, route and why the Scots and others are paying for a project that may leave them with worse train services,  one of the fundamental flaws with the case for HS2 goes largely disregarded. It is that this is clearly a project designed for today, but that won’t be complete for another twenty years. The world then will be very different and, unfortunately, time isn’t quite as malleable as the movies would have us believe.

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Latest issue of Insight now available to view online

2.Insight_twitter_logo smThe latest issue of our weekly newsletter is now available to view online here. This week: Ilkka Kakko argues that designing for serendipity is about more than facilitating chance meetings; Mark Eltringham looks for the missing link between offices and avocados; we report on the ongoing recovery in the construction and property markets; raise questions about what happiness at work really means; and Sara Bean argues that we should never assume that working from home is the best way for an individual to work. If you don’t already subscribe, please do by adding your email in the box on the home page and we’ll make sure you see the freshest thinking on workplace design and management each week.

Quality of the place and the pace of work is more important than money

Aol’s new West Coast HQ 395 Page Mill

O+A designed Aol’s new West Coast HQ

In a remarkable session on the future of work at Worktech 13 London this week – Charles Handy declared that organisations need passion, people and profit, in that order. Money isn’t the main motivating factor for individuals either, which is why Handy’s thoughts on the emergence of the portfolio worker should inspire anyone who dreams of quitting their corporate job to do something more interesting instead. Those who don’t have that option would have been cheered to hear the prevailing message at Worktech was that employers are waking up to the fact that the quality of the place and the pace of work (i.e. flexible working) is of equal importance to remuneration in attracting and retaining staff. More →

What the endless debate about HS2 can teach us about how we work

A man working on a train

A man working on a train

One of the most fascinating aspects of the debate about whether the UK should spend £50 billion (or whatever you think it might be) on the new HS2 rail network, is the way in which it has formed a touchstone for a discussion about how we work. But people on both sides of this debate can have things either spectacularly or misguidedly wrong. On one side, the people behind the scheme, including the Government, used the jaw-dropping assumption that nobody worked on trains as the foundation of a business case. That was the familiar sight of large organisations working their relentless way towards a number they wanted, regardless of inconvenient facts. This idea has now been so widely discredited and mocked that it has been dropped completely from the latest business case, tellingly the sixth in just three years. And yet on the other side, we have people arguing that we should travel less and use videoconferencing as an alternative to face to face meetings, which can be almost as problematic.

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