Beyond the personal reflection and realignment that are typical of the New Year break, we also participated in the development of “strategic marketing plans.”
Somewhat beneficially serendipitous, we had also recently received an RFQ from a wise client who asked certain, perhaps expected, questions about philosophy, vision and approach.
The RFQ informed the planning process by providing us with a platform that influenced a move from a more typical framework of “targets” – revenue we wanted to capture, clients we wanted to work with – to “offerings.”
We began to move, in other words, toward an approach that clarified, first for ourselves, what it is that we do differently in the world and what we do that has value to others, and then for the world we work in, why we exist, what we think of the world we work in, and why you might want to work with us.
For example, one of the concepts or principles that we reaffirmed for ourselves is to energize what we call the “in-between,” or the “white space” I’ve referenced in other places. That is, I think we are typically engaged by clients to plan and design for conventional descriptors of people and place. And, over the past several years, the demand for density, a key contributor to a metric of real estate performance and productivity, means that the places in between are suppressed or neglected.
I believe that we are in, or are about to be in, one of the more exciting, and threatening, periods in history. Accelerating technological momentum has the potential to rapidly create a few hugely successful winners, and a large body of lagging and declining losers. How people come to work in this period will define the success of their participation in change and advancement and, in turn, define the quality and character our society and culture.
I think that the purpose of interactions, socialization, and collaboration at work is to find the potential and capture the benefits from a combinatorial explosion of innovation and productivity. I’ve come to believe that the success of those we work with will be dependent on our ability to make places and spaces, real and virtual, that connect people to each other and in ways that they have not connected before. I believe, in other words, that the emerging purpose, value and power of the workplace is captured not in assigned spaces but in agile, adaptable and self-defined spaces for collective and combinatorial work.
This is the purpose of the principle to energize the in-between.
We’ll reflect more on this as we move to complete our thinking over the next week or two.