Innovation Day 2020: new scenarios for augmenting work

More than 50 workplace professionals around the world participated in WORKTECH Academy’s Innovation Day 2020 on the theme of how augmented technologies will impact the future of work

The growing role of robotics and machine intelligence in the post-Covid-19 workplace was the subject of this year’s Innovation Day for Global Partners and Corporate Members of the WORKTECH Academy.

After a year like no other, Innovation Day 2020 took its interactive workshop format online with three sessions in three different time zones for our membership around the world: APAC; UK and EMEA; and North America. Over a single day, 17 November 2020, more than 50 workplace professionals contributed creative ideas to a future of work in which humans and machines will coexist and collaborate.

The subject of Innovation Day 2020 was framed around a discussion paper published by Australian property developer Mirvac in partnership with WORKTECH Academy, entitled ‘Augmented Work: how new technologies are reshaping the global workplace’. Workshop delegates were asked to work in teams to create future scenarios for organisations and individuals in a world in which robotics, AI and machine learning will have increasing influence.

Six different scenarios emerged from this global exercise:

Rightsizing the Bank

This scenario explored how a major bank might use augmented technologies to make more flexible use of its space portfolio. The team developed the concept of ‘dynamic people management’ to describe a process of supporting employees wherever they are working and managing occupancy flows inside the office.

The scenario featured a workplace app to plan the day, an automated reception experience with contactless technology and customised greetings, and digital wayfinding systems to navigate the bank building. There was also a rethink of the meeting room experience and predictive nudges around social elements of working in financial services.

The Real Estate Director

This scenario looked at a day in the life of a real estate manager/director in a law firm or pharma company. Augmented technologies were introduced to help the workplace professional not only to address the daily demands of the office building but also to manage the architectural supply chain in implementing new plans.

Features in this scenario varied from a safe entry to the building with temperature check and facial  recognition technology to live dashboards providing real-time environmental and occupancy data.  Digital twin systems were deployed to share information on and model future design scenarios in the building. Digital data also informed the post-occupancy evaluation.

The Airport Experience

This scenario looked to reimagine the business airline travel experience. Digital platforms and augmented technologies were employed to create a seamless journey from pre-arrival at the airport to arriving at the final destination. The experience was based around one single digital platform or app which is fed by real-time data to create one integrated source for information.

This scenario uses consumer intelligence to map out the journey from reserving a parking space at the airport and wayfinding in the airport to recommending food and beverage outlets based on where the departure gate is. The technology will be able to accurately predict passenger preferences the more frequently they use the platform.

The Life Science Lab

This scenario looked at a day in the life of a scientist moving between lab and general office space in a life science company on the east coast of the USA. The team explored a range of ideas including workplace apps and virtual assistants, an immersive AV experience in reception, and the use of AI to  engineer useful encounters.

There was a particular focus on maintaining health and wellbeing with fresh food delivery and a digital workout mirror. The range of augmented technologies spanned from an assigned model, in which machines complete tasks that require significant human input, to coexistent and assistive models, which shift the balance towards the independence of the machine.

Homeless Project

This scenario pivots away from the workplace, rooting augmented technology at the heart of a huge social challenge: homelessness. Augmented technologies help to identify vulnerable people and deliver real-time services to them. A form of wearable device gathers critical health and geo-positioning data which helps local councils to build a bigger picture of where concentrations of homeless people are. This data is used to raise awareness of homelessness and find solutions that can combat the issue.

As corporate responsibility expands outside the office building, investment in augmented tech to help social issues is one positive way to raise brand awareness. This scenario also uses predictive analytics to alert medical services or volunteers to reach people in need before a crisis occurs. Ultimately, augmentation is used to create a future without homelessness.

The Legal Workplace

This scenario looks at the future of the legal workplace and the impact of a distributed workforce. Building on the knowledge that the future of work for lawyers involves more autonomy, flexibility and inter-disciplinary collaboration, this scenario uses augmented technology to assist lawyers to adapt to new ways of working.

In looking at the evolving role of lawyers, the team explored how lawyers can work together in a virtual environment using augmented reality and avatars of workers to replicate the workplace. As many legal relationships are based on trust and confidentiality, lawyers from across the world can meet in a virtual workplace and collaborate. This virtual world is assisted by other technologies which recommend who and where you meet based on communication data and personal preferences.

WORKTECH Academy director Jeremy Myerson commented: ‘Innovation Day 2020 produced so many though-provoking scenarios. It was intriguing to see new thinking based on smart collaboration with robots, not competition over jobs.  Our report with Mirvac suggests that the end-game for augmented work can be higher-quality human jobs, based on imagination and intuition, while machines do the process-driven stuff.  It was good to see this angle emerge through the workshops.’

Access the Mirvac report on augmented work here.

Listen to a WORKTECH webinar featuring Paul Edwards of Mirvac discussing the report with Jeremy Myerson of WORKTECH Academy here.

More information on joining our Innovation Day 2021 workshops as a member or partner of WORKTECH Academy here.

Find exclusive content in the


Premium content for Global Partners, Corporate and Community Members.
The latest analysis and commentary on the future of work and workplace in four distinct themes: Research & Insights, Case Studies, Expert Interviews and Trend Publications.