Submitted on Jan 16, 2014
Author : Marco Susani, partner at Koz Susani Design, Chicago, IL, U.S.A.
The work environment seems to have lost its ability to innovate. Most of the innovation introduced in work practices in the last 10 years were actually developed, launched and tested in the consumer environment. Mobile devices, operating systems, and interaction paradigms were born in the consumer space and only later have invaded the work place. New social practices like grassroot collaboration and social networking also developed in the everyday life and are now pervading the work environment.
The work environment, the tools used, even the architectural space of the office, didn t change as much as it was expected, in spite of the large amount of ethnographic analysis, and of qualitative and quantitative research that revealed major transformations in the work practices. It may be worth questioning why the circle of seduction , the virtuous cycle that links new desires with new solutions to fulfill them, has worked so well in the consumer space and struggles to show results in the work market.
An answer can come from better understanding some of the most effective models of innovation, and recognizing the importance of developing future visions and scenarios to anticipate solutions, prototype them, and test them. I will present examples of potential opportunities of innovation related to the collaborative work-place, in three different domains: 1. The space of collaboration, a hybrid physical/digital space that catalyses collaboration; 2. Tools for collaboration, a multiplicity of interactions to manage both artifacts and relationships; 3. Experiences, high level ecosystems to support the collaborative organism in all its aspects, from memory to knowledge sharing to future planning.