Now, when landlords are desperate for your business

Now, when landlords are desperate for your business, an opportunity for you to negotiate a better deal on your office lease can, post-Facebook, also enable you to occupy a COVID-safer working environment, that both grabs attention and strengthens the design of your whole business and its connected intellect, to generate proven, digitally measurable, space and configuration-driven ROI-productivity gains

Like everything else connected by the internet, the workplace is now also being driven to become an information business, making this a time when a greater choice of new, more advanced and responsive property products should become available.

Through such innovations, the coming workplace could offer accountability, data, new reports and the possibility of endless, fine-tuned remodelling in its closer integration with the processes, people and spaces required to improve your business’s performance in its pursuit of improved ROI.

When they become aware of this possibility, it is likely that every tenant business will want to understand the intellectual potential of applying the minds in its own connected workplace to that configuration, so that it can make appropriate and agile adjustments in its use of that space.

So, as no-one has yet invented this, we invite you to join us in a no-cost, risk-minimising exercise to bring such innovation forward, and to co-create for your business a smarter, COVID-safer, knowledge and ROI-focused “office of the connected intellect.”

Having been paid professionally to publish in the media about it (links beneath), I can demonstrate a proven, particular and unique interest in the nature of this workplace’s social, insight and experience-driven form.

And, because this exercise will give you a new tool, with real data, you can use the information it generates to negotiate a better deal on your workplace, or to find another one entirely. 

As we are describing a digital entity, our project will use an established “MVP” (minimum viable product) methodology, commonly associated with technology and software testing.

This is one designed to help your business, as its tenant, to become a public exemplar as an occupier of one of the coming generation of better-fitting, evolving, digitally measurable and accountable working spaces of the future.

It may be ironic that COVID should prove the unexpected trigger every employer needs to make its workplace both safer and smarter, and to deliver better value.

But, in this, in their own self-protection in the post-COVID workplace, we have no doubt that your people, when they are empowered to understand and uphold their own health interests in this world, are certainly their own best ambassadors in this mission.

Because the decline in demand for workplace property is so pronounced, our project will purposefully engage early media attention, in which, based on my previously published writing, we already have expressions of interest.  

And through this, we will demonstrate how, post-Facebook, the insights, experience and connected, socially intelligent minds of those who now work at every desk within your own, and every other, company can be engaged to brief the design of their own new, smarter and more ROI-productive workplace.

Further, the data and reports it can generate will allow your managers to make better-informed decisions and adjustments, related to that space’s fit to the specific nature and needs of your work, and the intelligence and processes your business must accommodate.

At the earliest briefing stages, we will aim to dig far deeper than we’ve articulated here, but as a guide, some of the outline questions we will ask, along with other background information concerning this exercise, are included beneath, in the footer.

And as this is an opportune moment to reduce the property overheads for your business, please contact me, Graham Lauren, (0416 171724) if you would be interested to know more, and I will look forward to the prospect of that conversation.

Shiro Architects’ design briefing for more reliable workplace wealth creation

Through Shiro Architects and Connected Intellect’s unique design recipe, our briefing exercise focuses, in summary, to understand:

  • Employees’ perceptions of COVID-safety and what about their own business’s current workspaces and ways of working, and experiences of using the common spaces in the building outside their offices, makes them uneasy about the possibility of contracting the coronavirus, and what actions they and the landlord could take to make them feel safer in this environment.
  • What about the design of the spaces in which they work could remove obstacles to improve the daily productivity and creative workflow of their office and enhance its ability to stimulate business growth through the generation of new wealth-creating knowledge.
  • What about the workplace they work in, and the ways in which they work could improve their current employee experience (EX).
  • What about the workplace they work in they believe could grow the collective intelligence of their organisation to make its business smarter, more competitive and more prosperous.
  • What about the design of their workplace could be amended to future-proof it to aid new thinking and adaptability in managing change in business process, culture and strategy.

What is the post-Facebook connected intellect?

In any earlier time, it would have been impossible to reach into the collective consciousness of those across any organisation to gather and synchronise its answers to the question of what a COVID-safe workplace looks like.

Now, however, within any business, we can get a much better idea of how this might appear by interrogating the connected corporate intellect that at every desktop is the result of our increasing use of and familiarity with the social internet.

Although it is still a force unrecognised, unexamined and therefore unorganised in most organisations, through near-ubiquitous familiarity with Facebook and others, we’ve now arrived at “peak social internet literacy.”

This entirely naturally occurring capacity’s practical applications are also easily demonstrated, as we have reached the point at which every employee in every business knows how to use social media to write online, upload and share material and to make comments about those items uploaded by others.

We can amplify this capability through the use of any of a range of mirroring, private, internal, networked, document-sharing and/or Facebook-like technologies now available within every workplace. And through this, we now have an unprecedented way of listening and digging in detail into a workplace’s collective intelligence to understand the pandemic-related health and safety concerns and interests of those who will occupy it.

As the reach of the tools no longer limits us, the professional challenge lies instead in inquiring, making sense of and feeding back to any group with diverse opinions what its members know and can contribute to understanding and solving its challenges.

Yet, this is core to Shiro Architects’ skill set, as I am a practising feature journalist and former sub-editor – a key editorial sense-making, fact-checking and quality control role – on the pages of The Australian Financial Review.

My job when I write up a story is to discover how the insights of informed people can guide the reader’s understanding of my subject. 

In conducting a similar exploration within the workplace, shared, collaborative social technologies now enable the necessary questions to be presented simultaneously to a wider group. Through this, we can invite comment, reveal insights, error-correct and solicit pointers to what must be explored, learned, summarised and shared next.

Hence, by using this process, I propose to assist in lifting the product-improving skills and knowledge of both the landlord and tenant’s managers. 

And by employing these tools, I will then – again in a process of double-loop learning – reflect back the insights and experience of those who will occupy it in pursuit of the best available brief for a perceived COVID-safe workplace.

In this, I will apply my experience in investigative, social and summary writing, gained both in professional media and from working subsequently, using the appropriate (Atlassian) workplace social technologies, in a similar role on a major software transformation project at the Commonwealth Bank of Australia in Sydney.

By diligently reporting and sharing what can be discovered in search of new insights and improvements, my aim will be to arrive at a document that, methodically iterated and tested, finally satisfies the minds of those employees in the workplace most in need of reassurance. 

At the same time, by attracting and keeping the minds on the job of the most valuable and talented workers, other workspace productivity-enhancing measures can be tested that may result in the institution of more optimal, wealth-generating practices within the business concerned.

How we will run this project

We aim to attract a business like your own as an early, participating, first-mover tenant organisation. This will most likely be a company wishing to understand how to reduce its property overhead, but also keen to understand how pooling its collective insight can deliver a better-fitting, better-performing, more fluid, agile and responsive workplace.

Through this project, our aim is to build a project case study that creates a story worth telling and publishing widely, as when an office can be shown to make money for business tenants, its potential audience and readership will likely be extensive. 

I am posting this description as an invitation to the Shiro and Connected Intellect web sites, and to LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Medium. Subsequently, we may share the reporting of project progress across those platforms.

Early in this process, we will contact and engage the attention of the key media most likely to want to follow this proposition and story, such that those journalists can track and report on it as we progress.

We will then begin the process of engaging those with likely commercial property interests – landlords, investors and agents – to recruit the partner provider business that can learn first from the development of this MVP as a platform to guide its future thinking.

Why us?

We have what we believe may be a unique combination of skills in being award-winning architects, with original thinking on networked organisational learning. 

Based on real-world experience, we also have first-hand knowledge of how to use the best tools ever invented for the purpose of focusing the learning and development of the connected workplace intellect.

We certainly believe that some spaces inspire better working performance. But, the process of designing the workspace collaboratively by engaging its connected intellect can teach its managers and people new ways of directing thinking collectively to address the business’s most pressing post-COVID, digital-age challenges and learning needs.

We believe the future’s high-functioning office is necessarily a product of the mind, and we aim to design for the learning and growth of that connected organisational consciousness. 

We work from the intellect up, to synchronise, from the inside out, the form, evolution and sustained well-being of the whole organisation, because our focus is equally on dimensions other architects cannot yet see.

What the benefits will be for occupiers or tenants

Based on the data it will generate, the configuration of this new workplace can evolve nimbly, in step with the changing form, individuals and needs of the organisation that occupies it, possibly across an increasingly hybrid form. 

The participating organisation will learn quicker ways of engaging its connected intellect in the design of spaces and processes that fit it better to enhance its flow of knowledge, to deliver repeatedly improved organisational performance.

By partaking in a platform exercise designed to kick-off and enable its new, connected thinking, our MVP partner will learn to acquire and process data its rivals can’t and haven’t yet created or managed in this pursuit to refine its ways of delivering its work.

It may also use this as a bridge to its likely future more distributed and reduced-footprint AI state.

MVPs: A background

Most commonly deployed to model new web software, MVPs are used by start-ups and established corporate operations to prove or refine an idea more rapidly and at lower cost and risk.

This compares highly favourably against the traditional, industrial-era effort and expenditure required to develop a more perfect, release-ready product that on launch, if insufficiently tested among its customer audience, may fail to meet the needs of its market.

Thus, post proof of concept (PoC), an MVP delivers the essence of the product in its simplest form. It is built to comprise just enough features to satisfy potential customers and to address the basics of the problem it is trying to solve.

This exercise also allows a development team to collect the maximum amount of validated learning about users’ needs in the shortest time. Through its capture, it can direct its future form, with the minimum risk, the least resources and the lowest possible expenditure. 

The result is complete enough to be sold to the earliest adopters – but not everyone. The iterative process of building, measuring and assumption-checking double-loop learning is key until the product meets its market need sufficiently to launch to its wider target audience. (Double-loop learning entails the modification of goals or decision-making rules in the light of experience.)

Based on continuing user feedback, an MVP provides informed, risk-minimising insurance to its developer at every step. It means subsequent, more complete product versions may then be developed upon an increasingly stable platform.

The MVP project to deliver the workplace of the connected intellect

Using a parallel process in its briefing, we aim in its design to develop a first working version of a workplace created by engaging and interrogating the connected intellect of those who will occupy it. 

Through this investigative practice, we aim to ensure that early target product users will be attracted by the promise of the final product proposition, while guiding the user team to turn it into an enduring money-making working product.

Hence, as suggested above, the benefit of using an MVP is that:

  • When many parties have an interest in the outcome of this exercise, we can check real-life market tendencies and test our product hypothesis with minimal resources.
  • By keeping costs low, we can avoid bigger failures and be able comfortably to meet the expense of conducting the exercise.
  • Through close hand-in-hand work with potential users, we will get the insights needed to craft the necessary, if minimal, final product. 
  • We can establish the shortest time between initial product design to launch to the market and early adopters.
  • We can use the future’s reconceived minimal viable workplace to attract publicity and attention and open up conversations with early buyers.
  • We can engage in continuous learning and education for the product development team to acquire the necessary knowledge progressively to expand the user base and stimulate more and faster learning.
  • Through this knowledge, we can build the competitive understanding to reduce much otherwise potentially wasted future development, sales and marketing effort and expenditure.

What we are testing for

Through this MVP, the hypothesis we will test is that in pursuit of a more optimal, better-fitting workplace, we can put to work a new form of as-yet unfamiliar, joined-up, concise, collective networked thinking. 

Through the power of the post-Facebook connected intellect, the configuration of its built working environment can become a platform exercise that kicks off and enables both a landlord and a tenant business’s propensities for enhancing their respective businesses and money-making potential.

And through this, these businesses can recognise their shared workplace intelligence as a key competitive resource that can now be captured, narrated, steered and grown. 

In turn, by acquiring and growing collaboratively sourced social data about their workplace(s) their rivals can’t and haven’t yet conceived of, or learned to manage, they can build innovative capacity to gain new competitive advantage in their markets.

Our presupposition is also that through the precise data it can now drill down on, management has access to a bottomless, renewable human resource, whose creativity may be limited only by its imagination in what it asks for.

In this pursuit, it can use its further exploration, for example, to work to improve the quality of both customer and employee experience that strengthens competitive advantage and accelerates workplace wealth creation.

Where does “social internet literacy” come from?

Of course, I can’t claim to have “created” social internet literacy any more than anyone else can claim to have invented reading, writing, typing or listening (and, granted, others may refer to this latest emergent human-productivity capacity differently elsewhere – I just haven’t found it). However, to the best of my knowledge, and unlikely as it sounds, even to me, because of my long-standing fascination with workplace social technology-driven organisational learning, I believe I may be among the first to have identified and articulated its presence as a pervasive, potent, largely under-realised and increasingly valuable management resource.

My professionally published writing on workplace strategy and the application of “social internet literacy” to building and workplace design

Based on my own original research, I was commissioned to write The Evolution of Workplace Strategy into a Discipline of FM for the January 2017 issue of FM (Facility Management) magazine.

In September 2019, I then published Social Media for Managing Property Customers – (not my choice of headline), also in FM.

And then, in February 2020, I then published A Matter of Intelligence (again, not my headline), specifically on the application of social internet literacy to the future shape of a smarter workplace in InDesign magazine.

About me

As a professional journalist, working in that role, I have made a living from researching what is as yet unknown and reporting it back to readers who are interested in and can use, and learn, from its content.

I am a former sub-editor (a key editorial sense-making and quality control role in professional media) on the pages of The Australian Financial Review newspaper group, and my sensitivity to the need for internet-driven digital-age organisations to learn and develop is inspired by my MBA (Technology) from the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia. This qualification focuses on creating and managing the businesses of the future, addressing changes driven by advances in digital and networked technology.

As a consequence of my education, I am particularly interested in the need for networked, wholly connected businesses to adapt to learn fast, and in reporting on the unexpressed knowledge to be found in every workplace that can enable this.

My proposition is to apply my first-hand workplace insight of what I describe, gained both in professional media but also from working, at the corporate coalface, using the relevant workplace social technologies, for similar knowledge-seeking purposes, in its 200-strong software development team on a major software transformation project at the headquarters of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia in Sydney.

Because while there I learnt a lot more about how to do it better, I am chasing an opportunity that perhaps few others have yet seen.

This is to bring new sense to the undeclared, tacit knowledge of businesses as a platform for their future learning and transformation, using the best internal communication tools ever invented for the purpose.

A former client working for the nation's largest bank says this of the value of my work

“At CBA, Graham was tasked with building a curated knowledge base for a critical and complex project the bank was undertaking. I served as Graham’s boss during this period and have seen Graham use this project experience, combined with his MBA learning, to evolve a new understanding about how organisations can build ‘corporate memory’ and embed learning processes to better guide leadership insights.

“Based on the many conversations I have had with Graham since, I have seen the passion and knowledge Graham brings to the topic of workplace knowledge capture and organisational learning, grow and mature such that Graham is now an authority on the topic. Effective digital learning is an essential capability to acquire for any organisation hoping to have a prosperous future.”

Source: Brian Davis, technology innovator, founder Software Symphony and senior software architect at the Commonwealth Bank of Australia.

About Shiro Architects in a few words

Our practice’s work presents a mix of commercial, hospitality and multi-residential projects, and our design director Hiromi Lauren’s exceptional skills are based on her 20 years of working closely with the internationally renowned, multiple award-winning architects Harry Seidler and Associates* (where Hiromi was one of his favourites).

Her Seidler experience aside, Hiromi is also an award winner for her personal architectural achievements, having, on establishing Shiro Architects, won the 2017 Queensland prize for commercial architecture for her own first building in her own right, the Gold Coast KDV Golf and Tennis Academy.

As a practice, our firmly held view is that architects should always prioritise making money for clients by making better use of space, while delivering beautiful, practical built solutions.

* Harry Seidler and Associates designed these familiar landmark buildings, among others:

Cove Apartments, The Rocks, NSW 

Horizon Apartments, Darlinghurst, NSW 

Meriton Tower, George and Kent Streets, Sydney 

The Ian Thorpe Aquatic Centre, Sydney NSW 

Alliance Francaise, Clarence Street, Sydney CBD, NSW 

Australia Square, Sydney CBD, NSW 

Grosvenor Place, Sydney CBD, NSW 

The MLC Centre, Sydney CBD, NSW