Tag Archives: ChangeBoard

The Spaces in Between

Just between us
I think it’s time for us to realize
The spaces in between
Leave room for you and I to grow – Neil Peart

Good architecture is often invisible, but it allows whatever is happening in that space to be the best experience possible – Pezo von Ellrichshausen

Workspace without imagination is just an empty room – Yours truly

Last week I spent a day at the ChangeBoard Future Talent Conference. In truth I’m becoming tired of ‘The Future of…(insert the things you’d like to see improved here)’. It feels too much like an excuse to me – if we could make ‘The Now of…(insert the things you’d like to see improved here)’ better, then to some extent, the future will take care of itself. Too much aspiration, not enough action. Here are a few notes and thoughts from one of the talks which I enjoyed, and which focused more on the present.

Kursty Groves. Founder – Headspace. Space Matters: How physical environment can enhance creativity & innovation in our digital world

Draw a meeting – in 30 seconds. What a great start to a talk – a chance to put pencil to paper. Here’s my response to that lovely invitation.

Draw a Meeting

We need innovation – yet we design for efficiency, and then we wonder why we don’t get innovation.

We often don’t understand the creative environment we are operating in so we borrow from others (Google, beanbags, etc) and wonder why that doesn’t work. You are you. Where you have your best ideas is not necessarily where others do.

What do we know? Nature matters – so does movement. Not a pot plant and a treadmill. Green exercise. As far as I’m concerned – an opportunity to get outside to clear your head think about work, or whatever, is usually worth taking.

When it comes to the workplace, and indeed many other things besides, we assume you have to use what you are given ‘as is’. What happens when we move stuff round? Clear desks out of the way, change the position of stuff. I know from my own experience the dynamic of a team can change purely by changing the layout of the room. If the space you are in affords you the flexibility – try it.

Some numbers – for those who like that kind of thing. Sourced from Reading University I believe. Productivity uplift of 17% when you can personalise a lean desk (hot desk, flexi desk – call it what you will) – this rises to 32% when people feel they can choose where to work and/or have an input in the design.

You can see Kursty’s slides here – which include a selection of ‘meeting drawings’ that previous audiences have come up with. What I really liked about listening to Kursty was that she offers ideas you can experiment with and adjust, now. Not tomorrow, now.

To move forward, people need to be inspired: they need buildings that enhance their creativity and push them to take the future into their own hands. Diebedo Francis Kere

Whose Talent Is It Anyway?

  • Talent: Natural aptitude
  • A qualification: A pass of an examination or an official completion of a course, especially one conferring status as a recognised practitioner of a profession or activity.
  • Skill: The ability to do something well.
  • Attitude: A way of thinking and feeling about something.

Employers say that talent, skills and attitude matter, yet the recruitment process is heavily biased towards qualifications. Does a degree in maths, science, history or English provide you with the communication, negotiation and interpersonal skills required to usefully make your way through today’s and tomorrow’s workplace? Not necessarily. Solving the puzzle of youth unemployment is a big challenge, in part because people leave formal education without the vital skills the workplace is looking for.

I recently attended London’s Skilled Future Conference – where among other things, we were updated on ‘The Learning to Work’ programme, led by the CIPD to promote the role of employers in reducing youth unemployment. The CIPD’s purpose is to champion better work and working lives, which starts with young people being able to access the labour market. I’m a big fan of Learning to Work, and even though it is working, this dilemma of requiring talent, skills and attitude, while hiring on qualifications, came up in conference, both during presentations and in conversations at break time. Can we do anything differently?

Coincidentally, a couple of days after attending the conference, I spotted this neat idea. Penguin Random House UK want to invest in, and nurture creative talent, and to this end they have created ‘The Scheme’; a possible solution to hiring based on potential not education. There’s no mention of qualifications that I can see, and as well as being a creative way to hire, the positions last 13 months, initially at least.

And that’s fine because work is becoming much more fluid – the notion of jobs for life has all but faded from view. I think that’s a good thing, and in support of this I believe continuous professional development (CPD) and learning has to become more fluid, and more devolved too. As lifelong learners, I think we need a far greater say in setting the agenda for our own development, to include acquiring and honing new skills which motivate us and may also equip us to work better. With this greater personal influence, I think we also need to take more responsibility for keeping ourselves professionally relevant, partly through engaging with our own CPD, and recording it better than I, and perhaps you, currently do.

On April 29th I will be heading to Changeboard’s Future Talent HR Conference, where the challenge of developing talent, skills and attitude will continue to be addressed. If you are going along too, I hope to see you there, maybe we can talk about this some more?

Until then, I have a few questions for you.

  • Given the increasingly fluid nature of work, what does talent management need to look like in the world of HR and Learning & Development Professionals?
  • Are the people with the budget and the influence willing to devolve more money and time to the individual, without necessarily seeing a long term return?
  • In future, who should take responsibility for encouraging and developing a well qualified, skilled and talented workforce?

Whose Talent is it Anyway?