Future University – Edge Zones
February 5, 2013 – 6:47 pm | Comments Off on Future University – Edge Zones

I’ve been thinking a bit about the future of the university, and it seems to me that a new model may be emerging, one that has something of the traditional sanctuary of a place of learning, but that innovatively engages communities, both local and international. There will, of course, have to be those preserves where students and teachers can contemplate their experience and learn together, but there must also be what, for the moment, one might think of as an edge zone where interactions of many kinds might take place.

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NetWork The Future Workplace: Challenges

Submitted by on August 14, 2012 – 9:56 pmNo Comment

ObstacleIn building and maintaining the NetWork, several challenges must be addressed. They include:

Old definitions of “the workplace”. The workplace is no longer just the office. The paradigm (and its cost structure) must shift from “one seat per person” to whatever combination of settings and capacities is most efficient and effective, including settings an organization doesn’t own.

Resistance to change. The patterns and perceptions of how and where work has always been done and supported are usually deeply entrenched. A more subtle challenge is integrating new practices with those elements of the existing work culture that are the most positive and valuable.

 Primitive models for understanding work. The conventional methods of programming or describing work are usually superficial and focused on the status quo, and therefore inadequate for identifying and understanding emerging behavioral settings and changes in work practices – nor do they tell us how to design for them.

 Little to no infrastructure for continuous improvement. One of the problems of associated with change is that we cannot fully predict how workers will adapt to new assignments or new settings. Therefore we have to design and provision the workplace so that it can be adapted to new work practices that may emerge, and we have to track the process closely in order to make needed adjustments that are beyond the capacity of individuals and teams to carry out.

 Limited understanding of organizational context. The overall stage of maturity of an organization and its capabilities are dynamics that must be understood and considered, as their influence (and constraints) will be felt in almost every area of the organization’s workplace strategy, even as it continues to evolve.

No shared vocabulary for work practices and workplaces. New behaviors, activities, roles and affordances require a new vocabulary, so that we can all communicate and understand new concepts easily and efficiently. This new lexicon will continue to evolve as we catch up with the changes that have taken place, and track what’s next.

We propose the next generation of workplace making and managing is an approach we call NetWork – one that is broader and more inclusive than the traditional concepts of workplace. NetWork opens the door to new and powerful ways to support work and the people who perform it.

NetWork: The Future Workplace presents a good start on a new vocabulary for work practices and settings. it includes in its appendix a table that links in detail these key behaviors with the affordances (spatial, physical and technological) needed to enable them.

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