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The Radically Changing Nature of Work, Workers and Workplaces (Using Space as a Starting Point of Innovation)

The Radically Changing Nature of Work, Workers and Workplaces (Using Space as a Starting Point of Innovation)
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Item Code: NAT351
Author: Parthajeet Sarma
Publisher: BecomeShakespeare
Language: ENGLISH
Edition: 2018
ISBN: 9789387649972
Pages: 108
Other Details: 8.00 X 5.00 inch
weight of the book: 0.13 kg
About the Book

Humans are wired to follow the path of least resistance. If one doesn't have to do something, he or she will not do it. Technology has enabled humans to work from coffee shops and from home, reducing the need to go to work. The very meaning of work has changed for modern day workers where the workplace is no more a physical space. The new workplace is a blended space of the physical and the digital.

The subconscious mind is like cruise control for humans and shapes behaviour. The environment that one is in, conditions the mind. At work, the workplace environment conditions quality of thinking. For organizations in a collaboration economy today, productivity depends on the quality of thinking, and not so much on efficiency. The blended workplace is the starting point of innovation for organizations that believe in being distinctly different.

Parthajeet Sarma delves into psychology, human evolution and science to draw connections with greatly changed expectations from work. In his third book, Parthajeet espouses the need for management to get out of codified theories. This facilitates a macro view, leading to a radical new meaning of work, worked workplaces that is aligned with the organization's vision for the future.

About the Author

Parthajeet Sarma is a Chevening scholar (University of Oxford), award-winning innovator and entrepreneur. With over two decades of professional experience in design and management, he has been running a strategic consulting practice called iDream since 2003.

He is a winner of The Economic Times 'Power of Ideas'2012, Sankalp Awards for social innovation and others. He has been featured across various electronic and print media including CNBC TV-18's 'Young Turks


Over the last decade and half we have engaged our boutique consultancy iDream and myself in more and more collaborative work. Today, on an average, over 50% of the resources devoted on our assignments, comprise of professionals who are project specific collaborators and not on the payroll of iDream. This is a distinct shift from our beginnings in 2003 when more than 90% of project resources were sourced internally. This has allowed us to drastically reduce our costs, increase profitability and more importantly, to be able to deliver highly focused services.

This is reflective of the way we have changed over the last fifteen years from managing one part of client's business needs, i.e. office fit-outs, to becoming a niche strategic consultant where we need to immerse ourselves deeply into the heart of the client organization. With the radically changing nature of work, workers and workplaces, today we handhold organizations as they begin to use the workplace as the starting point of innovation. To do this, we need to collaborate and bring together a wider and richer network of professionals who can contribute to a holistic, collaborative approach towards solving client problems.

Secondly this is also reflective of the way the world has changed over the last 15 years, as collaborations between business houses and between entrepreneurs become more commonplace. Easy telecommunications has made it possible to access resources from any part of the world. It is not surprising to find project teams comprising of members from three different countries, servicing a client in a fourth country.

When we had refurbished our office in 2014, we built a meeting room and a nice huddle area within it. This was meant for internal meetings as well as for client meetings. Similarly the workplaces of our clients and collaborators have beautiful meeting places. However most of my meetings today happen in coffee shops, and rarely at our workplace or at the workplace of the other party that we are meeting. Coffee shops serve as neutral ground for meetings and bring about a sense of equality. Moreover, the sights and smells of a coffee shop allow human connections to be built far more easily than within the sterile confines of a boardroom. I have struck many a business deal in coffee shops.

This is true for many others. More and more business meetings among entrepreneurs and executives are happening in coffee shops and in newer forms of eateries. Walk into a Starbucks and it is not surprising to see more laptops than coffee mugs on the tables. This is akin to early signs of a paradigm shift. A paradigm shift is a fundamental change in an individual's or a society's view of how things work in the world. For example, the shift from earth to sun as the center of the solar system or heart to brain as the seat of thinking and feeling. The result of a paradigm shift, like in the case of a Starbucks visit, is people changing the meaning for which they do certain things. Not too long ago, eateries and coffee shops were places you went to for a coffee or for a meal. But today, a lot of business deals are struck in such places. The meaning of going to a coffee shop has changed.

A paradigm shift does not occur in isolation and influences society as a whole. The global economy shifted from manufacturing to services around the middle of the twentieth century. Later, as the economy began to absorb more and more researchers, engineers and designers to invent new products and improve processes, the next shift was to a knowledge economy, as organizations began to invest in research labs and the brightest of human talents. However, with a smartphone in everyone's hands today, a young twenty something worker could have far greater access to knowledge than a senior manager would have had one generation back. With a lot of the knowledge related work being automated, the one important skill, high in demand for humans today, is to be able to do things machines cannot; that is, work effectively with other humans. The ability to collaborate with humans as well as with machines is the competitive advantage, as knowledge workers become relationship workers. So, while the coffee gets cold on the side, a visit to a Starbucks is really about collaboration with humans and machines. The world has shifted from a knowledge economy to a collaboration economy.

Technology aids in the shift, sometimes unknowingly, as people adapt to new meanings behind doing things. Free wifi allow people to have business meetings in coffee shops. VR technology enables new gaming consoles to allow life-like experiential activity. However, the invention of a new technology itself does not necessarily lead to immediate commercial gain or social impact. Often it is seen that a newly discovered technology sits inside the lab for many years before someone finds an application for it, leading to a product, which changes the way we live. For example, the first 3D printers were available for commercial use in .1988; however it took nearly three decades before this invention got to the tipping point. Earlier owned mainly by research and design departments of a few large-scale product manufacturers, it is only now that core technology advancements and affordability is helping 3D printers make inroads amongst smaller organizations. We are still a few years away from it being adopted by each and every start-up and entrepreneur who needs it.

The entire eco-system required for new technology adoption needs to be ready before products and services based on the new technology can be successful. Sometimes it takes decades and sometimes it takes just months. An app based business idea like on-demand taxi service provider Uber became popular very fast as the eco-system was ready with the platform, cars, drivers and customers. Almost overnight, it shifted the ground beneath the foundation of conventional transportation businesses built around privately owned vehicles and around regular taxis.

**Contents and Sample Pages**

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