In order to address the growing interest of coworking across other sectors and industries, TILT alongside the European Coworking Conference organised a new global series called ‘The Social Workplace’. The first of the series took place in London, back in October 2015, and was a solid day of keynotes, workshops and networking.
This article reflects on the day and the keynotes of the event back in October 2015 in anticipation for upcoming Social Workplace conference which will be held in London on June 10, 2016.
Following registration, breakfast and a brief networking opportunity, the day was kicked off with various keynotes. With a range of speakers that included Despina Katsikakis from Barclays Corporate Real Estate to Alex Hillman of Indyhall, a Pennsylvanian coworking space.
Oliver and Jean-Yves of the European Coworking Conference and Global Enterprise kicked off the day with an initial introduction to the day. Following this they passed the microphone along to Olly Olsen of The Office Group.
“Coming into work doesn’t feel like work.” – Olly Olsen
Edu Forte of Betahaus was up next who treated the audience to an impassioned teaching of how important the people and the community of coworking play in an overall space. This was beautifully demonstrated through the example of the freelancers of Barcelona Betahaus getting together over one weekend in order to create a city guide app of Barcelona. What could normally have been a 3-6 month process was completed within the Saturday and Sunday.
“Don’t focus on the tables & chairs – focus on the experience. We started with borrowed (stolen) chairs!” – Edu Forte
With a similar theme, Alex Hillman of Indyhall was next to lighten the mood and establish a conversation amongst the audience. Provoking the audience to turn to the person next to them and find out not only why they were at the conference for but also why they were interested in coworking. The ambience that these micro-interactions added to the room demonstrated the benefit that community and social interactions to a coworking space. The pride that Alex has in Indyhall was immense and evident by the passion and love he felt for those that he considers part of his family.
“Don’t forget to have those small meaningful conversations” – Alex Hillman
Oliver was then up to explain the importance of the people in the design process and how coworking is continuing to evolve. Bringing the audience back to where the foundations were set in the old coffee houses of London and finishing off with how Tilt implements the codesign process allowing the users to maintain control in the spaces they will ultimately use. This was demonstrated along by the four c’s; community, convergence, collaboration and codesign.
“Space is Conversation” – Oliver Marlow
Stefan Kiss of Haworth was up next talking about the shift from machine metaphor to process, people and place. By ensuring that the human process is involved, Haworth continues to have a happy that future that is fundamentally based upon connections and interactions with other people.
“How many desks in the corporate head office of the future?” – Stefan Kiss
Séverine Jazdzewski from the French branch of Orange and executive of their digital transformation program gave insight related to their digital incubator nestled within their traditional corporate structure and how Orange is gradually adapting. This has included the hiring of a “feel-good” manager in order to improve workplace morale and Villa Bonne Nouvelle, a coworking space started by Orange.
“We wanted to observe what was happening between people in their spaces, to help foster innovation.” – Séverine Jazdzewski
The final keynote of the day was a presentation from William and Florian of Kontor. Described as the Pintrest of workspace, this recently launched start-up collects photos of workspaces from around the world and by using a tagging system, categorises them. The benefit of this system is substantial in a way to create a network amongst architects, businesses, furniture manufacturers and retailers world wide. In a world where globalisation is becoming more and more prominent, this system is an exciting opportunity for future endeavours industry wide.
Informative and social, the keynotes of the day provided an exciting look to the future as collaboration potentials spark.
“The design of the workplace hasn’t caught up.” – Nathan Waterhouse
“The social workplace will eventually become the standard work environment for all of us.” – Jean-Yves Huwart
“The workplace is changing – work is something you do, not somewhere you go.” – Despina Katsikakis