Workplace Trends – The First 15 Years

Our Workplace Trends Conference is in its 15th year! Nigel Oseland and I took a look back through the archives and reminded ourselves of some of the highlights.

Back in 2012 we were already running with a Wellbeing & Performance theme and were delighted to welcome TED speaker Nic Marks to talk about “How (and why) Happiness Works as a Business Model”. You can see his presentation on our YouTube channel here.

2012 also saw Mark Duddridge of Ginsters & consultant Jane Abraham take us through their project to improve heath, engagement, and productivity at the famous Cornish pasty company. Quite a challenge but they succeeded! You can re-live the presentation here, and the graphics are on our slideshare page here.

This was a memorable year, in particular with the thought-provoking Doug Shaw‘s presentation, “Dehumanising the Workplace”. See it here for some good insights, and stay til the end to witness the first and most welcome guitar on stage at a Workplace Trends conference.

In 2013 we were honoured to have Frank Duffy give the keynote speach on “Making it Work”.

Three years earlier our audience was fascinated to hear from Professor Robin Dunbar on “The Social Brain in the Work Place”. At a time when LinkedIn and Facebook were just becoming mainstream, Dunbar’s Number of 150 (the optimum number of people one can comfortably maintain a stable relationship with) and associated findings, is still as relevant today.

Over the last decade we’ve witnessed the explosion of social media. For Workplace Trends we’re most active on Twitter and LinkedIn. Our LinkedIn group is approaching 8,000 members – please do join! And our twitter following is more than 4,000. Su Butcher expertly tweet blogs at each conference, and with her help we’ve achieved a remarkable reach of 4+ million impressions on one day’s conference.

Nature and the workplace has been a recurring theme for Workplace Trends. In 2011 the audience was enthralled to hear Eden Project architect Michael Pawlyn of Exploration Architecture talk on Biomimicry. Unfortunately this was before we started recording presentations, but you can experience his TED talk from the previous year on this link.

This nature theme continued in 2015’s conference “Wellness and Heath” when we were delighted to welcome Bill Browning from Terrapin Bright Green in the US. Bill spoke on how nature and biophilic design can reduce stress, enhance creativity and clarity of thought, improve our well-being and expedite healing. If you’d like to know more there are several free reports available from the Terrapin Bright Green website.

We’ll be continuing to look at the uses of Nature in the workplace and its impact on productivity at our Spring Summit on 22 March 2017 when we’re excited to welcome Richard James MacCowan of Biomimicry UK and architect, author and TV presenter Oliver Heath. 

Regular delegates will have enjoyed Paul Morrell‘s regular contributions to Workplace Trends. Sometimes delivering a keynote but most often he took the baton of the after-lunch slot and a lively debate ensued, each year with a variety of worthy opponents – Paul Burgess, Paul Finch, Mat Oakley, and Philip Tidd among them.

Finally we can’t complete this look back without a mention of Neil Usher, (Sky and Workessence) who has been a constant supporter of Workplace Trends, sometimes speaking, live-blogging, chairing, even delivering poetry and most memorably in 2014 as Workstock, hosting a fast-paced Pecha Kucha session with guests Brian Condon, Lloyd Davis, Jon Husband, Gareth Jones, Richard Martin, Anne Marie McEwan, Janet Parkinson, Euan Semple, Andy Swann, Doug Shaw and Perry Timms. If you haven’t come across Pecha Kucha before it’s a presentation style where 20 slides are shown for 20 seconds each. The format, which keeps presentations concise and fast-paced, delivers maximum information in a measured time-frame. The pressure on the speakers was evident, but each one rose admirably to the challenge and a good time was had by all!

So that is the first 15 years! In 2014 we introduced the Spring Summit, to keep the conversation going between the regular autumn events. So right now we’re looking forward to our 2017 summit – Workplace Trends: Wellbeing and Productivity at Kings Place on 22nd March. At time of writing you can still register at the early bird rate. Check the conference page for all the details on speakers and delegates registered to date. Hope to see you there!

Maggie Procopi
Workplace Trends

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