Meeting of minds: innovators shaping the future workplace

This WORKTECH Wednesday Briefing looks at dynamic new proposals from the next generation of designers and the ‘Great Reshuffle’ led by the newest cohorts in the workforce

Radical times call for radical solutions, so where can we find the latest cutting-edge innovations that will transform the workplace? Start-up companies are one place to look. Graduation shows of student innovators are another.

The joint Royal College of Art-Imperial College Masters programme, Innovation Design Engineering, put on its Masters graduation show in London this week and there were plenty of new ideas to ponder.

WORKTECH Academy particularly liked Stephen Devlin’s ingenious solution to combat long and inefficient face-to-face meetings now that people are returning to the office. We all know what happens when someone talks too much and dominates a meeting – everyone else loses interest and good ideas go to waste. Research suggests that groups perform better when there is more equal participation.

‘We all know what happens when someone talks too much in a meeting…’

Devlin, a former Chief Technology Officer at EMI Music, has developed a smart system called Meetpie which keeps track of group dynamics in meetings. The Meetpie device sits on the meeting table and, upon activation, builds up a picture of what is happening in that meeting. It visualises through coloured light how much people are talking, how often the speaker changes, and whether interruptions are successful or not. Data on meeting behaviour is recorded on a smartphone, allowing organisations to benchmark against similar workplaces, thus supporting diversity and inclusion.

We were also intrigued by a project called Rippling by Chinese graduate Kuangxi Cui which creates conductive panels and screen for the office environment to improve wi-fi signal efficiency. We all know about signal blind spots in the workplace. This solution, described as  ‘electromagnetic furniture for a wi-fi friendly architecture’, improves signal efficiency at a novel intervention point and has wide potential application. Clever stuff.

The Great Reshuffle

It’s not the ‘Great Resignation’ anymore. It’s the ‘Great Reshuffle’ according to LinkedIn CEO Ryan Roslansky, who recently told an advertising conference in France: ‘People are switching jobs at a higher rate than ever before as they figure out not only how and where they work, but why they work. What’s fascinating to look at is the fact that the Great Reshuffle has played out differently among generations.’

As reported in Fortune magazine, the surge in job-hopping has been driven mainly by Millennials and particularly Gen Z. Although Roslanky’s comments were aimed at the ad industry in particular, his ‘Great Reshuffle’ message to employers will resonate across all industry sectors:  ‘Motivate and inspire Gen Z, or risk being left behind.’

Copenhagen calling

Interested in the issues raised in this WORKTECH Wednesday Briefing? Then check out our 2022 WORKTECH conference calendar.

The WORKTECH Copenhagen conference returns to the Danish Architecture Centre on Tuesday 27 September 2022 with a focus on making hybrid work for your organisation. The conference will bring together senior workplace leaders from real estate, facilities, HR, technology, executive management, architecture, design and professional advisory to listen to global thought leaders, further their knowledge and share best practise and expertise. Super Early Bird Rate available here.

In our WORKTECH Wednesday Briefings, we reach out to our 10,000-plus Academy members, WORKTECH attendees, speakers, partners and sponsors while WORKTECH’s professional conference series continues through our in-person, virtual and hybrid platforms. This edition is posted 6 July 2022.
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