Future University – Edge Zones
February 5, 2013 – 6:47 pm | No Comment

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: Implementation

Submitted by on September 12, 2012 – 3:25 pmNo Comment

go-signNetWork is both the supporting platform and the interconnected infrastructure and settings in which work occurs. Its ultimate purpose is to increase the organization’s ability to carry out its program of work. To achieve this end, we recommend starting with thoughtful analysis of the purpose of the work being done and the behaviors that support that purpose. While investigating or improving business processes is typically outside the scope of designers, workplace strategists and real estate and facilities service providers, NetWork presents the opportunity to truly link business processes (and even their transformation) to the workplace.

Starting here moves us beyond oversimplified, latest‐trends‐fits‐all design to creating relevant, effective work settings. Defining the specific connections between work, its purpose and its supporting behaviors and settings should be the first step in designing the NetWork.

We  have identified six key principles  needed to plan,  design, and sustain the NetWork. They are, in brief:

  1. The range of stakeholders for workplace design must include workers themselves.
  2. The strategy must enable individuals and groups to adapt and manage the variety of circumstances in which they have to function.
  3. Provisioning of workplaces also needs to accommodate the diversity of locations and types of workplaces and the new styles of working exhibited by contemporary workers.
  4. The workplace strategy must accommodate evolution in technology and work practices.
  5. Senior management has the opportunity to truly leverage the workplace to drive closer alignment with existing and emerging business objectives, higher levels of performance, greater efficiencies, and an agile and adaptable organization – by valuing and supporting the investigation, translation, design and management of work as well as workplace.
  6. Key performance indicators for the effectiveness of NetWork are likely to include more effective collaborative work, an engaged and innovative workforce, a culture of results based productivity, reduced environmental impacts, and higher rates of facility utilization.

Work is happening in new ways and in places that are not in the direct control or influence of the host organization. So not only do we need to rethink the ways we plan, provision and manage the workplace, we need to inform and support the provisioning of the mobile worker. All this means we need to transform the way we develop places and capabilities to successfully support work.