Start where you are.
I was invited to speak at a recently launched ‘ideas exchange’ hosted for the strategy people of the STW group of agencies (think IKON, Designworks, Tongue, The White Agency, Ogilvy).
Wittily named ‘Binge Thinking’, this short, sharp session brings trends that are emerging externally into STW to encourage knowledge sharing and the flow of ideas internally. Last night’s think-fest discussed the forces that are redefining how and where we work.
Alongside Debbie Spence of Designworks and James Moore of Zest Desk, we talked with an engaged audience about the demise of the traditional work place and the emergence of a new work culture and what this might mean for agency life as STW knows it.
The increasing popularity of collaborative working spaces and hot-desking were recurring themes, with debate centred around whether these would be the format for offices in the future.
At a conceptual level, most people can understand the potential benefits of working in an environment that’s orientated to a particular task. However, the group cited the difficulties encountered on a practical level by some of these initiatives (they don’t seem to take into account that a company tends to be comprised of introverts, extroverts, process-driven workers and creative expressionists) and that future work spaces needs to embrace the needs of these individuals as well as maintain a sense of community.
But there were first hand accounts of how process and outcomes could be influenced by using differently themed spaces in the aesthetically pleasing STW building. High stools in an open plan area seemed to have the ability for quick, creative, unconstrained thinking – ideal for a brainstorm – where as a cosy room with low seats turned the dial down on true collaboration and extracting ideas from the team felt laborious.
Beyond functional space
What exists beyond the idea of functional space is the more exciting opportunity that the large and diverse STW network offers. And that’s the most powerful thing that different businesses under one roof can harness. By curating an unusual mix of brains to generate big ideas, the potential to supercharge outcomes, as well as redefine the process is significant.
Like minded people
Creating an event series like Binge Thinking helps to bring together bright minds throughout the STW network; people who’s paths would not ordinarily cross, but who, with a fresh perspective from a different agency, have the ability to cross-pollinate and create genuinely innovative ideas for client and the group’s culture.
I genuinely hope that this collective will grow, with more people contributing to the discussion and creating a sense of community that develops from collaboration, both within these monthly think sessions and beyond.