I imagined somewhere back in time that it might be easy for me to gather, and then curate, a collection of the writing I found online. Others do it very well. Egad, my rss feeds are full of the sites I track, and my inbox fills with the newsletters that others publish so faithfully on that one day of each week, full of goodness. I would follow their example, gathering my own items of interest and sharing my thoughtful indexing with other who might also appreciate some of the same. But now, I'm impressed with the discipline of those others, and their thoughtful editing. I am not sure if I'll find the workflow, audience consideration, and context awareness that the best of those others have. So this is a vain attempt at another sputtering beginning to learn that craft.
Perhaps what I need is a nudge.
In this conversation at McKinsey, Ann Gunter observes, "The general idea behind nudging as well as debiasing is that people are predictably irrational. Now, with nudges—subtle interventions based on insights from psychology and economics—we can influence people’s behavior without restricting it. With a nudge, we could get people to do whatever is best for them, without prohibiting anything or imposing fines or restricting their behaviors in any other hard way." Hmmm...whatever is best for them means, in further explanation, whatever is best for the company. There are a number of other interesting behavioral observations in the conversation, including an apparent trend to separate evaluative feedback from developmental feedback. We're so sensitive.
The "Ideal Office: – The Third place. No, the Fifth Place. No, the Eighth place!
I don't know if I've been upstaged here. I am in the process of writing a piece on what I call the Fifth Place, arguing that much of workplace planning and design has overlooked the attributes and needs of real collaboration, the durable, ongoing, slog/flow of teams of inside and outside folk working to solve complex problems. But now comes this article arguing that the workplace ought to be imposed of eight different settings. I appreciate that. I think our workplaces need multiple settings for the different kinds of activities we all engage in at different times and for different purposes. Once we start counting those settings, I am not sure that we'd stop at eight, however, but I also find that among the eight are derivatives and duplications of a type. Take a look, nonetheless. But then come back to our blog for my take on the Fifth Place. (The Ninth?)
And Davos weighs in on the subject, as well
The term "collaboration" seems to be losing value these days. For some reason, for more than a decade, the workplace consulting and design community has used the term to evoke some physical change in the office emulating, here it comes, The Third Place. I wonder how, in a conference of global CEOs, simplistic ideas like this are still iterated – "Cafes and coffee bars where employees from every department can intermingle are breeding grounds for fresh ideas." In my coming piece (now over here) on, say it again, The Fifth Place, I argue that collaboration as a form has become the goal rather than as a means of ideation and development. This summary of the Davos panel is interesting, also, in that the world's global elite are saying that hierarchy in the workplace ought to go away.
Weird or surprising ideas...Where do you get yours?
Well, perhaps not at Davos. But there's an interesting, almost current Twitter conversation going on here sparked by Stripe CEO Patrick Collison's question, "Where do you most often come across interesting ideas—especially weird or surprising ones?" Not only are there some very interesting responses here, but the people who are chiming in are a rather interesting bunch, as well.
In its continuing expansion, Airbnb has just announced a premium brand, Airbnb Plus. With a host of services for the Plus hosts, Airbnb also brings a template, of sorts. Interesting commentary at The Ringer – "Airbnb has written a platform constitution that describes its ideal listing, and that ideal listing undeniably resembles a hotel. And although Airbnb Plus has only a couple of thousand members at the moment, the program’s requirements are guaranteed to trickle down to every property interested in succeeding on the platform. Amenity-wise, that’s not a bad thing—blow dryers, fresh towels, and coffee makers are nice things to have, and I welcome them always. But the aesthetic aspects of this streamlining also negates the original point and appeal of Airbnb, for both hosts and guests. Hotels are designed to be neutral fortresses that protect you from every disagreeable part of the place you’re staying. That Airbnb is moving toward that model indicates that the company would much rather bank on reliability over personality in its attempt to scale."
A bright ding of pseudopleasure
I am encouraged by many of the large discussions occurring in our cultural agenda these days. It feels as if we are in a time in which there is a recalibration of the meaning or value of many of the things we've taken for granted, or have not fully observed, or have been gnawing at us in our own lives but have not been able to articulate what that low-grade irritation was all about. Technology is now in focus. We are anxious about its indifference to its influence on our lives and regulation is even entering the conversation. In the meantime, there were a couple of interesting pieces on the little notification devices that drive some of our behaviors with tech. This one was a nice review of a new app called the Demetricator that erases the metrics on Twitter that we continuously reference for validation of our existence, or the validation of the relevance of others. and this one explored the power of that tiny red dot, that notification bubble in our apps that so effectively pulls our attention. "New and flourishing modes of socialization amount, in the most abstract terms, to the creation and reduction of dots, and the experience of their attendant joys and anxieties. Dots are deceptively, insidiously simple: They are either there or they’re not; they contain a number, and that number has a value. But they imbue whatever they touch with a spirit of urgency, reminding us that behind each otherwise static icon is unfinished business. They don’t so much inform us or guide us as correct us: You’re looking there, but you should be looking here. They’re a lawn that must be mowed. Boils that must be lanced, or at least scabs that itch to be picked. They’re Bubble Wrap laid over your entire digital existence."
But what do you mean by "red"?
I really enjoyed and appreciated this article about the origins, influence and power of the Pantone Color System. Remember that great scene in The Devil Wears Prada? “Oh. Okay. I see. You think this has nothing to do with you. You go to your closet and you select... I don't know... that lumpy blue sweater, for instance because you're trying to tell the world that you take yourself too seriously to care about what you put on your back. But what you don't know is that that sweater is not just blue, it's not turquoise. It's not lapis. It's actually cerulean. And you're also blithely unaware of the fact that in 2002, Oscar de la Renta did a collection of cerulean gowns. And then I think it was Yves Saint Laurent... wasn't it who showed cerulean military jackets? I think we need a jacket here. And then cerulean quickly showed up in the collections of eight different designers. And then it, uh, filtered down through the department stores and then trickled on down into some tragic Casual Corner where you, no doubt, fished it out of some clearance bin. However, that blue represents millions of dollars and countless jobs and it's sort of comical how you think that you've made a choice that exempts you from the fashion industry when, in fact, you're wearing the sweater that was selected for you by the people in this room from a pile of stuff.” (It was actually selected by Pantone.)