Workplace Trends

Futures Wall at Workplace Trends London 2019

This is a guest post by our friends at Logovisual, who very kindly installed, hosted and curated our Futures Wall at Workplace Trends London earlier this month.

This year many of the speakers at the Workplace Trends London conference referenced the theme of making the workplace a human centric environment. Whether that’s through physical design; encouraging healthy and sustainable behaviours; engaging employees for change; or recognising the importance of mental as well as physical wellbeing, it all comes back to embracing the basic human trait of being a social animal.

Part of that is the desire and ability to communicate, and this year as a break from convention the conference embraced this by introducing an ‘ideas wall’

Ideas wall

We were delighted to have the opportunity to run what we decided to call a Futures Wall. We invited delegates to post their insights about the future of the workplace, as a basis for a sense making exercise. This was a valuable way of gathering diverse intuitions of what the future holds, picking up “signals from the future” as a counter and complement to the more data and research-based format that the main conference provides. What emerged from the futures wall perhaps signals less of a trend, and more a rapid, dramatic change as a consequence of the present environmental, digital and political emergencies.

Generating the ideas

We invited people attending the conference to drop by and post their ideas about the future of work, in response to the question: what does the workplace look like in 2035?

The idea of collecting input at the conference took some time to get going. Perhaps people were wary of being judged for their contributions. Or perhaps the idea of using magnetic rather than sticky notes on a whiteboard took a little getting used to. The wall certainly generated interest and discussion, and towards the end of the day some of these ideas had made it onto the wall itself. We might have to speak toSimone Leenders at WorkWire for some tips on nudging people into participating!

Insights from the Futures Wall

This was a real time look at what insights people have about their future, stimulated by being at the conference and hearing some lively presentations from people whose job it is to design for the future.

The output gives us intimations of what people want and expect. We could think of us all as being amplifiers of weak signals from the future.

The results are available to download as a pdf file if you’d like to see more detail.

Broadly though, we can see the response to current concerns around climate change, work life balance, remote working and technological change. If we string together the headings of the clusters to form a story, we can interpret it like this:

By 2035, as humanity finally responds to the shattering impact of climate change, our definition of work changes and new possibilities emerge.

Those changed expectations drive structural changes in corporations. As people exercise their freedom to make personal choices, the balance between real and virtual contacts shifts to make work more wholesome.

Workplaces embrace life-long needs and technology is serving people – not the other way around. As people increasingly work in networked co-creative groups, we begin to re-discover the joys of being human.

Making your own interpretation

Our interpretation of the contributions is an optimistic one, to reflect the positive intentions of the conference. If seeing the results has sparked more ideas, just because the event is over doesn’t mean you can’t still add to the discussion.

You can download a free trial copy of the Logovisual Capture Software we used to recreate the Future Wall along with the data file. We’d be delighted if you have a go at adding more ideas and manipulating the clusters, or feel free to use this exercise as a basis for your own ideas session.

About Logovisual

Logovisual are the creators of the ThinkingWall range of whiteboards for thinking, planning and collaboration. We used one of our ThinkingWall Dividers as the wall surface, a double sided magnetic whiteboard on wheels. The magnetic sticky notes are Magnotes, available in a range of shapes, sizes and colours. The methodology we used is called LogoVisual Thinking.