Applied Learning in Boston
Recently we attended an exceptional seminar given by Leesman Index at 9OFS in downtown Boston sharing their latest research findings on Activity Based Working. The seminar was hosted by Tishman Speyer, a global real estate, design and construction consultancy. Facility managers, workplace strategists, interior designers, real estate developers, software companies and architects like ourselves attended.
Rising Augmentation, need for trust and self-direction
Moving further into the 21st Century finds us veering away from mere knowledge based work alone so crucial to productivity and success in the mid to late 20th Century. Today we increasingly work with processes and systems augmenting our own knowledge and abilities with artificial intelligence (AI) hybridizing how and why we work, how we write and more. Today we already have begun to learn to work in tandem with these smart tools as they begin to auto-prompt us with predictive intelligence and suggestions helping us (if we are willing and able) to work smarter and at greater capacity than ever before.
With this increasing augmentation of how we work, employers, depending on industry and type of work processes, are finding the need to shift towards more trust based work cultures relying more on self-directed workers. More than ever before, critical thinking, curatorship, creativity in complex problem solving play an ever increasing importance requiring more autonomous trust based management styles. This strongly contrasts with work processes relying on traditionally managed knowledge workers working within more traditional 9-5 work settings rooted in late 20th century work styles.
Those older management strategies relying on more hierarchical and fixed in place work, worker and workplace design mindsets may no longer suffice. Hence the recognition of the value and rise of alternative business transformation strategies like Activity Based Working and Workplace Design where choice, variety and integrated operational and soft systems reign; All working together to empower employees to behave and work differently because they have to. We think competitiveness and value differentiation demands a shift in mindset transforming how, why and where we work along these lines.
Thus Activity Base Working and ecosystem workplace design offer a clear alternative pathway to help transform business processes and fuel innovation. But we have to be careful to be thoughtful and ensure as Tim Oldman, the Leesman Index CEO said, "Define fit to purpose when considering shifting towards such transformative business model." But it is surely not the only answer. We know one thing to be true, these principle, and others like them, must be tailor fit to each organization's business processes, workforce, brand promise and culture.
There is no cookie cutter approach to workplace design.
Why did we attend this event?
We went to learn more about this design framework and gain a clearer sense of its value to the mission driven companies and organizations we like to work with. We wanted to know if ABW might be valuable and adaptable to our clients needs and helping them thrive over the long term.
A year or so ago Leesman released its first version of this survey detailing the rise of Activity Based Working. This work established the context and promise of measuring ABW as a business transformation strategy. Leesman had the goal to revisit research progress with the participants and companies 12 months later to assess and report back on ABW's continuing effectiveness and rising use. Last week, they were in New York City and Boston where we saw them. They were reporting back their findings over the last twelve months with updated information.
You might wonder what Activity Based Working means and how best to cultivate its value for your organization?
So first, what is Activity Based Working?