MEREDITH Strategy + Design

We design the places and spaces where people come together to do great work

The M-Shaped Strategy Weekly
Linknotes for July 30

Here are some of the articles we found interesting this week. 

Is it time to rethink zoning? 

We live now in a world in which the phases and places of work and life are blending. It might be time to look at zoning with a new lens. "German ideas about urban order were combined here with distinctly American notions of the primacy and sanctity of the single-family home. German zoning rules generally allow for mixed uses such as shops in residential neighborhoods, apartments next to detached houses, etc. In the U.S., by contrast, early zoning apostles advocated strict separation of residences from businesses, and houses from apartments."

Work is changing. But why, and how do we respond? 

The workplace is changing and perhaps the biggest factor in that change has been an ideological shift. “If one wanted to look at single changes that matter a lot to work, the biggest in my view has been ideology, the shift from the idea that business had a responsibility to all stakeholders toward the idea that they have responsibility only to one – shareholders.”

There must be better problems to solve

We are overlooking some of the key problems in our society. There are two key ways to look for better problems to solve – 1) Look for root problems and 2) use the perspective of the human. 

Maybe stepping away is a good technique at the start of design

Ideo designer goes to German techno palace and is inspired. "Berghain has also set me thinking about needs we all have that we might not always perceive so clearly in the rational design process. To enjoy an absence of selfie-taking. To enjoy not being shared and socially broadcast. To keep a secret. To disengage with transparency, predictability, and the many other conveniences of our lives that maybe, when we really think about it… are kind of boring."

Digital business models require a shift from incremental to exponential.

 There is constant pressure to launch quickly, but this may not be a winning strategy. "In all of the stages, the challenge is to “unlearn” familiar ways of thinking and embrace the unfamiliar. But with a shift from the incremental to exponential mindset comes the opportunity for real innovation."

Upending the very nature of what a company is

The Dollar Shave Club was acquired for $1 Billion this week. For some this was a signal of a very real threat to the business model of many companies. "The deal anecdotally shows that no company is safe from the creative destruction brought by technological change. The very nature of a company is fundamentally changing..."

Is this how to make people happy at work? 

Sometimes, when you try to do good, the opposite happens. “The irony is, when you’re trying to get people to do something positive, you can’t do it. Once it’s required, it’s fake and forced. It feels like Big Brother.” You create a negative backlash.