How would the future of work(place) look like in the social distancing economy?

How would the future of work(place) look like in the social distancing economy?

I started looking into the future of work(place) and office rental business, what are key trends and critical uncertainties and what could be some of the relevant future scenarios to plan for.

Is remote culture going to become the norm? Our work-life blend will dramatically change? Will we be more willing to give up even more of our privacy and share some of our personal data for better health and safety? What is the future of shared spaces and social clubs – will COVID-19 doom coworking?? Will we advertise for Virtual Team Managers positions? Every onboarding training will include a kit for WFH? How about trainings, team-building or wellbeing program – what will they consist in now? We were talking already about the shift from human resources capabilities to community building capabilities – how will that work in a 2 meters distancing world?

I have listed below part of the signals of change and innovations that tap or emerge in some of these scenarios:

Workplace setting

  • Mitsubishi together with real estate partners developed a concept for portable office cubes (~1.2sqm) aimed at being piloted at Tokyo train stations. The soundproofed Telecube, unlocked by QR code, must be reserved ahead of time and costs ~2eur for 15 minutes. Corporate subscriptions are also available.
  • US company Knotel offers modular office furniture on a subscription basis. Their Geometry offer includes panels in a variety of finishes that can be reconfigured to provide different room divisions; booths to enable private phone conversations; and convertible desks and seating.
  • Codi, home-based coworking is a San Francisco-based platform that connects local workers seeking to reduce their commute with living spaces that are mostly unused during the day. Trough Codi, house residents can offer their place as co-working space.
  • US based 3DEN offers pay-as-you go office facilities, but also nap pods, phone booths and showers.
  • Cushman & Wakefield is testing a new design concept called “Six Feet Office”(see video) in which it visually displays unique foot traffic routing in the office to keep people the recommended six feet apart.
  • We see certain Plan P (Pandemic) request from big companies for “ghost offices” within buildings located in suburbs. These are secure locations kept quietly on standby to be used in case of special events, like natural disasters and pandemics.
  • And more big employers are talking about permanent work-from-home positions.

Workplace Technology:

  • By leveraging Mozzila hubs technology, Dutch creative agency ACHTUNG! Amsterdam! created a virtual reality version of their office and invited all their employees to a drinks party. All of the company’s 70 employees were invited to use the free VR room, create their own avatars and join a company-wide drinks party.
  • Sound Bored is a free mobile app that comes loaded with the office sounds people are no longer hearing, as they work from home and practice social distancing. Office background noises include: coffee brewing, someone eating chips nearby, yelling, sighing, crumpling paper, typing.
  • Danish company MeetinVR is among the promoter of the value of connecting virtual and physical spaces for optimizing office space.
  • Analytics company Spica helps financial organisations and other businesses to design and create smart workspaces through monitoring employees and analysing behavioural data. Using this data, organisations are able to understand how employees move around the office and how they work. Companies provide adequate office spaces which empower their employees to effortlessly interact with their office environment.
  • Founded in 2018, Zensors is a US computer vision start-up that his built a suite of tools for use in airports, offices and retail environments. Zensors can count open and occupied seats, detect rubbish that needs to be disposed of, and estimate the waiting time in queues.
  • Virtual events and networking platforms: Hopin, Brella
  • Halo is a wrist-worn band that briefly vibrates to notify wearers that another band is within 6 feet (2 meters), reminding them of the need to maintain social distance. It is deployed to all personnel at a job site or workplace to help ensure a safe physical distance is maintained.
  • Whispr, a Denmark-based start-up founded by Irishman Hugh O’Flanagan along with Keith Saft, has developed technology that can be used to train workers remotely. Founded in 2018, the company uses a voice guidance platform to help front-line workers carry out manual tasks more effectively and hands-free.
  • Topaasia – Conversation tool, that helps teams to have effective and participatory conversations and workshops
  • Howspace is an AI-powered platform that allows you to empower the whole business to collaborate on professional learning and organizational development initiatives.
  • Emooter is an app that helps you and your team improve mental wellbeing at work.

Uncertainty is the only certainty nowadays.

I think we can all agree that the current crisis will shift behaviours, values, attitudes, we just do not know yet how all this could impact the future of work(place). Rather than waiting and predicting, building future preparedness through Scenario Planning could benefit organizations more. The process will never erase all uncertainty, and it does not predict the future.

Instead, when done well, the process brings to light many possible future developments and turning points, for which organisations ca prepare their strategic responses (planned actions) or tactical pivots (immediate responses). We have developed and work with this canvas when drafting future scenarios, message me if you would like to receive this template.

Scenarios help people live better with uncertainty. At its core, a scenario is a story, a view of how the future might unfold. And that triggers imagination and reflection by challenging current assumptions and known truths. Stay safe and spread this instead!

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COVID-19 Technology Solutions Scan

COVID-19 Technology Solutions Scan

Below my scan of various technology-based solutions and initiatives emerged / adapted in the fight against the #COVID19. From an AI tool that helps people who were exposed figuring out their best course of action to in-vitro diagnostic kits, funding / accelerators, list of vaccines under development and a cool crowd-sourced map which fights #CoronaVirus shortage supply (such as 🧻). Plus summary of events and some interesting business experts thoughts. There is a lot going on, worth checking out what others have done, learn, plan and innovate.

For a more compact overview. this is the link to the xls version:

A. COVID-19 Technology & products

  1. Under the skin sensor
  2. Real-time fever tracking
  3. Wearable, wireless and continuous body thermometer
  4. Virtual care conversation to help people stay informed about the new coronavirus
  5. A virtual town hall to address anxiety, depression and other mental health challenges among people being held at a national quarantine center
  6. AI-based COVID-19 symptom assessment
  7. Telemedicine technology: Remote care modalities, in-home video visits  
  8. Intelligent Nutrition Assistant for cancer patients suffering of COVID-19
  9. Remote examination device (I want ONE!!!)
  10. Corona remote care platform
  11. Commercial coronavirus test kits
  12. Kit to detect coronavirus within an hour
  13. Portable, battery-powered scan device that can detect COVID-19 infection in just 30 minutes
  14. (SO COOL!) Crowdsourced map fights coronavirus shortage supply
  15. In-vitro diagnostic kit
  16. Cough replicator to help COVID-19 patients
  17. Two-way, automated dialogue between any patient device and any clinician software with no app
  18. Code4Romania Coronavirus Taskforce: multiple solutions under development for transparency & public information
  19. Google DeepMind: AI to help scientists understand coronavirus
  20. (CREATIVE!) N95 masks with faces that allow phone facial recognition
  21. Antiviral soap for automatic hand washing microstations
  22. Quarantine and isolation monitoring to assist governments (does not mention the Romanian gvmt)
  23. COVID-19 diagnostic based on MIT technology
  24. COVID-19 Screening App
  25. AI imaging evaluation system for COVID-19 (intelligent diagnosis and quantitative evaluation of CT images of COVID-19)
  26. Coronavirus assessment tool
  27. MayaMD.AI tool that helps people who were exposed or potentially exposed to the coronavirus figure out their best course of action
  28. Online app that tracks the relationships between the reported cases of coronavirus infections (Romania) – Who infected who
  29. Open source project to build an app for reporting and sharing symptoms, and performing automatic real-time contact matching and tracing at scale
  30. Alibaba’s new AI system can detect coronavirus in seconds with 96% accuracy
  31. Paper device could bring portable coronavirus detection
  32. 3D printing valves and emergency ventilation masks for Coronavirus patients

B. Solutions Platforms / Accelerators

  1. Open-source medical devices for COVID-19 project
  2. COVID-19 Therapeutics Accelerator by Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation & Mastercard
  3. Spanish platform aggregating tech solutions for fighting the pandemic
  4. EU Funding for COVID-19 solutions
  5. Romanian platform for 24 Hours Challenge
  6. Fighting CoronaVirus with TechData – aggregator of solutions & projects
  7. Online puzzle game for crowdsourcing CoronaVirus treatment
  8. Nvidia call for gaming PC owners to put their systems at work against COVID-19
  9. Community collaboration and engagement tool example
  10. COVID-19 Hotline for medical staff recruitment
  11. Platform where you can build a journal of contacts and get an instant notification when someone in your circle is a confirmed COVID-19 case
  12. Coronavirus Prevention Handbook by Jack Ma foundation
  13. Overview of hackathons tackling the crisis

C. Online events

D. Future of Business thoughts

E. Sundry

Coronavirus Test Tracker: Commercially Available COVID-19 Tests – list of approved producers

A detailed guide to the coronavirus drugs and vaccines in development

A simulation model called VirSim was developed to aid pandemic policy making in Sweden

Resources for Doctors treating COVID-19 patients

COVID-19 Manifesto: #StayTheFuckHome, and now #StayTheFuckHome Bar

And last, but not least, a CoronaVirus Child-Friendly explanation guide (various languages available). I will keep updating it with relevant info.

Stay safe and spread this instead! 😉

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Cum călătorim în 2020 și care-s cele mai noi tendințe când ai dor de ducă

Interviu de: Andreea Vasile


De la o noapte petrecută pe Stația Spațială Internațională și până la un baby sitter pentru contul tău de social media, călătoriile nu mai sunt doar despre destinații, ci mai ales despre experiențe.

Cui nu-i place să călătorească, să ridice mâna sus! Niciuna? Nu mă mir! Nu știu cum este în grupul vostru de prieteni, dar în al meu toți suntem cu gândul mereu la plecări. Nici nu contează unde, atâta timp cât implică un ghiozdan și un bilet de tren sau de avion. E una dintre bucuriile cele mai mari pe care le avem.
Însă călătoriile nu mai înseamnă doar destinații spectaculoase. Experiențele pe care le avem în aceste locuri devin și mai importante. Diana Stafie este consultant de strategie pe termen lung și co-fondator FutureStation, o agenție care ajută business-urile să înțeleagă cum se pot adapta pentru succes în funcție de cum arată viitorul, înainte ca acesta să le ia prin surprindere.

Cu ajutorul ei, facem azi o călătorie către viitor ca să cunoaștem câteva dintre semnalele de schimbare care se observă pe piață în legătură cu comportamentul consumatorilor atunci când vine vorba despre călătorii. „De cele mai multe ori, aceste semnale se află în stare incipientă (le observăm în rândul unor early adopters) și cunoașterea lor ajută organizațiile să se pregătească pentru viitor și să își asigure relevanța în fața consumatorilor în următorii ani,” spune Diana.
”Pentru a ne ajuta organizațiile cliente, noi, la FutureStation, oferim un serviciu de tip alertare (SESA – strategic early signs alert) ca metodă de pregătire pentru incertitudinile viitorului. Putem surprinde parte din aceste semnale uitându-ne la inovațiile care apar pe piață și analizând elementele de noutate din ele,” explică Diana.

Înainte să privim spre viitor, haide să aruncăm o privire rapidă la anul 2019, pentru că un eveniment interesant pentru industria de travel a fost inițiativa #flyingshame (rușinea de a zbura). Deși începuturile sale au fost în 2017, 2019 a fost anul în care a prins aripi la nivel internațional. Inițiativa provine din Suedia și a pornit de la decizia unor personalități de a renunța la zboruri. Printre aceștia se numără și cântăreața de operă Malena Ernman, mama activistei pentru climă, Greta Thunberg. Bineînțeles că eforturile proprii și publice ale Gretei, pentru a evita zborul, au intensificat mișcarea.

Inițiativa a avut deja un impact măsurabil asupra industriei de travel din Suedia. De exemplu, operatorul de aeroporturi Swedavia AB a înregistrat o scădere a numărului de pasageri în primele trei luni ale anului 2019. Mișcări similare prind amploare și în Marea Britanie (Flight Free 2020), Canada, Australia și Franța. Rămâne de văzut dacă aceste mișcări vor conduce într-adevăr la reducerea numărului de zboruri.

Observăm cum, în legătură cu alte industrii (de exemplu, modă, alimentație, ce-i drept, mai poluante decât cea de transport aerian), nivelul de conștientizare privind impactul activităților asupra mediului crește. În consecință, comportamentul consumatorilor se schimbă, aceștia apreciind oportunitățile prin care pot să reducă impactul asupra mediului. Și, atunci, vocea consumatorului ce spune?

Iată câteva dintre semnalele de schimbare din industria de travel în 2020.

1. Vreau să contribui la un impact pozitiv

Cum sprijină organizațiile reducerea consumerismul excesiv? KLM a lansat în iunie 2019 campania “Fly responsibly” prin care încurajează călătorii să considere trenul o alternativă la zbor.

Iar operatorul de servicii feroviare Deutsche Bahn a răspuns la acest îndemn cu campania “No need to fly”, foarte apreciată pe mediile sociale. În cadrul acesteia sunt prezentate, în oglindă, fotografii cu locații pitorești din Germania lângă fotografii cu destinații turistice străine faimoase, plus prețul aferent călătoriilor către ambele.

Dar oare cum ar fi să poți sta într-un hotel și să plătești în funcție de activitățile prietenoase cu mediul pe care le desfășori? Din 2020, am putea avea o asemenea experiență în cadrul Arctic Blue Resort din Finlanda. Conform reprezentanților locației, vizitatorii vor putea să își ajusteze costurile aferente șederii consumând mai puțină energie, participând la activități ecologice sau consumând mâncare sustenabilă.

2. Vreau să fiu cineva

Arată-mi ce ai experimentat ca să îți spun cine ești! O altă schimbare pe care o observăm pe piață este legată de alăturarea experiențelor trăite și modalitățile prin care consumatorii își etalează statutul. Statutul nu se mai limitează doar la posesiile materiale precum casa și mașina, căci experiențele tind să devina prioritare în modul în care ne definim. Cu cât o locație vizitată este mai ”instagramabilă”, cu atât aceasta contribuie la creșterea poziționării noastre pe mediile sociale.

Lanțul hotelier Ibis a decis să ajute consumatorii în acest sens și pentru anumite locații elvețiene a pus la dispoziție “social media sitting”, un fel de baby sitter pentru contul de social media. Asta pentru a le permite vizitatorilor să se bucure de experiența acolo, în timp ce profesioniști în social media se ocupă de pagina lor de Instagram.

Expunerea pe mediile sociale poate veni uneori cu avantaje financiare pentru călători. Un hotel din Japonia oferă cazare pentru doar 1 dolar pe noapte călătorilor care sunt de acord ca șederea lor în cadrul hotelului să fie transmisă live pe canalul de YouTube al acestuia.

3. Vreau să am parte de experiențe transformative

Observăm cum pentru unii consumatori, experiența călătoritului înseamnă mult mai mult decât a ajunge undeva sau a fi în acea destinație. Pentru mulți, călătoritul devine un proces transformativ, vor experiențe mult mai profunde și neobișnuite. O astfel de experiență transformativă poate fi petrecerea unei nopți pline de istorie în muzeul Louvre din Paris (opțiune oferită de AirBnB în aprilie 2019) sau un sejur la Stația Spațială Internațională – experiență care va fi posibilă din 2020 prin intermediul unor operatori privați în colaborare cu NASA. Se estimează că prețul unei nopți de cazare aici va fi în jurul a 35.000 de dolari.

Citește mai mult despre următoarele 3 tendințe care modelează comportamentul consumatorilor în ceea ce privește călătoriile în interviul complet de pe

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Trends Learning Journeys

Trends Learning Journeys

We grasp better #Consumer Trends if we also manage to directly experience the innovative concepts that drive these trends. This is why we organise Trends Learning Journeys for our clients. See it as an immersion into the futuristic side of our present!

The journey has a mixed approach, we share trends lecture, overview of exponential changes, and we do hands-on work on understanding trends and their level of impact. But the cherry on top of such a journey is the exposure to ‘trends-in-action’, i.e. field visits to relevant innovations and concepts from companies that have tapped on a trend and covert it into a business opportunity, plus connection and engagement with the founders / representatives behind these concepts.

During these journeys we interactively approach questions such as: How can we better understand the consumer of tomorrow++?, How do we want them to feel during an experience with our products / services?, How can we be trends setters? How can we cater for the upcoming expectations of our clients?.

These journeys could take place in Bucharest, Amsterdam, Berlin, Prague, Stockholm, etc. Concepts and locations are chosen depending on clients’ needs, industry, disruption appetite, budget, etc… We aim to inspire our clients and show them concepts that are shaping the future of their industry or are disrupting other industries. Think of the story behind:

  • a department store with themed pop-ups in constant renewal, just like a lifestyle magazine
  • or a maker space, co-working office, events space, all in one in a redesigned old factory
  • or a restaurant serving unique dished made out of food surplus
  • or a robot operated wine bar
  • or a hub for blockchain enthusiasts where access is done only based on cryptocurrency

and ask herself: This is happening! If my clients will be visiting these concepts or hear of them, what might they want from the experience with my own products / services? What’s next and how can we get there first? What is my #futureStation?;)

Just like William Gibson said: ‘The future is already here — it’s just not very evenly distributed‘. Thus, if you want to upskill your team, gain new insights and shape your future strategy and your innovation portfolio, Trends Learning Journeys could be the option. If you are interested in more details, just contact us.

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