We’re All Working on the Same Question

[Running time: 3:58, embeddable]

This is a short collage with sound bites from all panelists of the first US session on The Future of Work sponsored by Podio in New York city. With me in the interviews are fellow professionals and globetrotters Marcia Conner and Jennifer Magnolfi.

As I said in the video, my main take away from the panel is that we're all working on the same question. Which is: how do we work more efficiently? How do we leverage technology and these tools now that they are more prevalent to make it easier for people to collaborate?

Becoming more efficient for its own sake though is not enough. Collaborating on innovation, for example, is a worthy goal. People can do more with less, certainly. Most importantly though, they can get to know each other, find out what they're capable of doing.

It's not happening across the board, yet it is happening more and more. In some organizations informally — the smart phone break is the new cigarette break; e.g., people get out their phones to check Facebook or Twitter outside the company firewall.

In other organizations there are efforts under way to make the collaboration happen inside the walls — both tweaking the environment itself, or allowing people to work more independently.

Other great points made in the video by Jennifer and Marcia respectively are:

  • the meaning of workplace and work space today has changed dramatically — we're in the second decade of the 21st century and many of the work spaces as we know them were built in the 20th century
  • workspace today is not longer a place to go, it's a thing you do — and it often starts as a digital space
  • there is an entirely new idea of work space as digital space — the challenge for the physical environment is not how do you reprogram it and change it but how do you create an environment that is an extension of your digital space. It's the other way around
  • too often organizations are focused on their peripheral activities — we could be collaborating, we could be finding one another, etc.
  • we lost sight of the fact that just learning from one another, listening to one another and building on that knowledge that would make us build something better together than we could do alone is just too often left out of the conversation
  • organizations forget that they are made of people — there is a set of agreement that people have with each other, it's like a metabolism and they have to be healthy systems in order for them to function
  • it's so easy to forget about the people when we talk about the brand, the buildings, the space, the clients — it's not that any of those things are not important, but they begin with a conversation, they begin with a connection between two people, then four people, twelve people, etc. and then we can start getting some of that wisdom rise to the top

This is an important conversation to have, especially in light of the changes organizations face due also by the continuous pressure to remain competitive and innovative.


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0 responses to “We’re All Working on the Same Question”

  1. Valeria, We were having this exact discussion at work this week. The cigarette break is one of the few places where information is shared informally across departments and outside of established communication channels. Hence, those individuals seem more connected. But everyone looks for information outside of established channels–whether it is due to the need for multiple source confirmation, the need for contrasting opinions or the need for diversion. Companies with good internal social media platforms deliver this need internally, while those without send everyone outside for their “cigarette break.”

  2. This is a great conversation. It’s silly that companies continue to have employees come into boring, low energy, low collaboration work environments for no other reason, except that it’s the way it’s always been done. If we’re going to have people work in the same physical space, let’s, like you say Valeria, leverage technology in new and innovative ways to get more done, share knowledge, and coordinate action so as to make a work space worthy of the work we do.

  3. From my own experience with internal communications, I would say that official channels are often late and overly polished as well as top-down without opportunity for discussion. On top of that, people watch the gap between talk and walk…
    It’s not just about the tools, although they do help. It’s about attitude and culture.

  4. funny how I have been more productive with a combination of working remotely than I have by going into an office. It’s not enough to reconfigure a floor plan from offices to cubicles. Organizations needs to become used to working together – figuring out how to collaborate and learn from each other. It’s more of an issue of removing obstacles, understanding timing on noise/signal ratio, etc.

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