Knowledge work

We always write about CoreNet Global Summits – in fact, you’ll see more from #CNGorlando from Jim Ware this week, as he is just on his way home to the ‘other’ sunshine state of California. Why? Well, I guess we are very familiar with CoreNet Summits – you may be too? I have been to a dozen or more, around the world, and I always learn something; but we also like the people, and the great network. CoreNet have also been kind enough to invite us to all their Summits also, which clearly helps… 🙂

What about the ‘competition’ though? WORKTECH by Unwired Ltd, is certainly in that ‘box’. And it is now well established around the world, much like CoreNet Summits. Should you go to one, or the other, or both? Our role is not to advise on that, but to tell you what we have seen, heard, and what we might expect from future events.

Jim Ware was at WORKTECH’11 West Coast, and this was his report. It was the first event hosted by Unwired in Silicon Valley. Jim knows the region well, as a resident of Berkeley, CA, and said this:

“….it was a good day, time and money well spent. Great lineup of speakers, intriguing stories, and excellent opportunities for networking. I don’t know the numbers, but I’d guess there were about 150 people in attendance, from all over the U.S. and some further afield” (there is far more on the link above)

WORKTECH’12 is in San Francisco this year, on 15th October. It is SOLD OUT, so if you were hoping to attend, sorry! Watch for next year, and book early! Our Jim Ware will be attending, so subscribe to this blog to make sure that you do not miss his overview.

There IS still time to book here for your place at WORKTECH’12 London, on 14/15 November, at the British Library. Or simply contact Caroline Bell for more information by emailing or calling
+44 20 8977 8920

What can you expect at WORKTECH12 London?

Over two days, WORKTECH offers a unique blend of ideas, workplace innovations, and visions of the future. It also offers an “innovations exhibition” to share ideas, masterclasses and networking drinks. See the speakers list here.
• Keynote speaker, Alan Moore, a charismatic visionary with a firm grasp of the significant and disruptive trends currently reshaping our world, will outline the true possibilities of a networked society and talk about his latest book, No Straight Lines: making sense of our non-linear world.
• Join Microsoft and it’s NEW WORLD OF WORK with case studies from Microsoft’s groundbreaking new offices in Lisbon, Zurich and Helsinki.
• Examine the Future of Work with 6 Heads of Real Estate from BBC, Unilever, Deloitte, Cisco, Zurich Financial Services and Sodexo.
• Explore tools and connections for innovation and productivity
• Get the latest on BYOD from Cisco and hear how a leading law firm unlocked their IT assets and freed up investment through the adoption of BYOD

So there it is…. if you have an interest in the future of work for your organization and want to learn from your peers who have recently embraced change, WORKTECH is where you need to be!
Delegates already booked to attend include ITV, Thomson Reuters, Aon, Barclays, British Council, GlaxoSmithKline, Deutsche Bank, Royal Bank of Scotland, BBC, Unilever, KPMG, Network Rail, Kraft Foods, Ericson, Deloitte and many more.

regards, Paul Carder, Director @Occupiers Journal Limited;

Caroline Bell | Conference Director | UNWIRED Ventures Ltd | Mobile: +44 7983 581 682 | Office: +44 (0) 208 977 8920 | Email : |
|Address: 7 St Johns Mews, St Johns Rd, Hampton Wick, Surrey, UK, KT1 4AN |
|work | workplace | technology | innovation |
| UNWIRED and are part of UnGroup |


Corenet Summit: Off and Running

by jimware on October 8, 2012

Theme this year is “Reimagination: RE-orient, RE-ignite, RE-invent – all about the importance of innovation and creativity.

First order of business: presenting the Global Innovator’s Award – goes to Space Florida – the Boeing Commercial Crew program.

The keynoter this morning is Bill Benjamin, on “Leadership 2.0” – stressing the importance of understanding emotional intelligence. Shifting towards human-centered workplace management that produces employee engagement. Focusing the workplace on well-being.

Stay tuned for real-time reports as the speech unfolds.


I picked up a copy of “The Kinetic Organisation” from the Regus stand at CoreNet Global #CNGLondon. It is written by my ex-colleague, Andrew Mawson, owner of Advanced Workplace Associates, a UK workplace management consultancy. I’d like to also give credit to Regus for continuing to fund reports into interesting subjects.

Now, it is always dangerous to comment before you have read a report thoroughly! So, I’m prepared to be corrected of course, as the devil may well be in the detail within the 40pp report. However…..I just have some observations on first skim through the summary and conclusions sections.

The opening paragraph states the following:

“With the advent of cost-effective IT and social networking technologies there are possibilities for communicating and controlling the activities of an organisation, which are potentially more efficient than the ‘hierarchical models'”

But, surely “communicating” and “controlling” are two different (albeit related) issues. IT and social networking do make communication ubiquitous and 24/7/365 – how managers chose the best form of communication for the ‘task’ is becoming a core skill, perhaps always has been. But “controlling” is surely about communicating with some level of authority. That authority comes from hierarchy, or “grade” perhaps (for example, in the very flexible project-based structures of management consultancies, where the grades of Consultant, Manager, Director, Partner – or similar – are well understood and interchangeable between competitors when people move from employer to employer).

And that brings me onto the second paragraph of the summary:

“…the traditional command and control organisational model is broken…..why does it endure? Simply because there are no other models that have been demonstrated to work…..” 

Really?? So what about the example I have just mentioned – large consulting organisations. Not only do they advise their clients on strategy & structure, but they practice what they teach! Education and training is absolutely vital, and so is a clear risk-related hierarchy, of decision-making responsibility. I learned this at Deloitte, where consultants, Managers, Assistant Directors, and Directors all had clear decision-making guidelines, peer review, and Director or Partner sign-off prior to issue of work into the ‘public domain’ (mostly, clients – sometimes, events etc.).

So, to say that there are “no other models” is, frankly, uninformed. However, there are no references given, nor even a bibliography, at the end of the report – so how one can understand where the “no other models” conclusion came from is ‘opaque’ if not invisible.

One last point. The Conclusion on p.37 starts “This research provides a body of evidence…..”

No it doesn’t I’m afraid, and that discredits the concept of “research”. The report tells us nothing about the body of work which surely exists in this field. I’m sure my co-Director, Dr Jim Ware, could quickly unearth several previous publications from his library shelf, or his friends at Cornell and Harvard.

I would like to know how many organisations were studied, which sectors they were from (that is very relevant to the type of work, and therefore need, or not, of hierarchy), and numbers and geographical spread of responses from the “user survey”. Without all that, it is in no way “a body of evidence”, is it? So I cannot really use this report as I’d like to, because anyone can ask “so how were those conclusions reached?”…I don’t want to have to say, “erm, they didn’t say”!

I hope that in the future, Regus will set down guidelines for what they call “research” if it wishes to be taken seriously. A useful “thought leadership” piece, or opener for debate, is fine. But please reserve the term “research” for studies with a fully documented research process – literature review, references, data analysis, recommendations for further work, etc. Talk to Jim….he is one of the best anywhere!

Paul Carder, Founder/Director – Occupiers Journal Limited
twitter: @occupiers or @WorkAndPlace ;


Principles for turning ideas into reality:

  1. Look – keep your eyes open; attach stories to what you see. Use the eyes of a child; look up; be curious
  2. Be wiling to do champions’ work – it’s lonely – use the time to practice and become great. We all get 86,400 seconds a day; use them well
  3. How’s your “want to”? Don’t talk about it, be about it. A closed mouth doesn’t get fed. Lead with courage. Courage is action, not words.(watching a video of a swimmer in 29 degree water at the North Pole! Why? To call attention to global warming) Be willing to fail, to learn
  4. Connect on a human level. One random act of kindness can change the world
  5. Five ingredients to a DREAM – dedication, responsibility, education, action, motivation. No dream is microwaveable.
  6. Be bold, be audacious, go after something that scares you a little bit.

Kevin Carroll – very inspiring!


Paul Carder’s thoughts on becoming an expert

by jimware on April 27, 2012

Paul Carder, our co-founder, has just posted a very provocative note on his own blog,

We’re working on some technical issues that are making it difficult for Paul to post here, but until we get those challenges resolved, we will at least publish links to his posts here.

This particular thought piece is terribly important if you are a facilities or corporate real estate professional (and even if you aren’t). We encourage you to read it:

Facilities Management: 10,000 hours – generalists need experts, not ‘outsourced generalists’


The Resilient Workplace

by Paul Carder on December 7, 2011

By Judith Heerwagen and Michael F. Bloom

In systems biology, resiliency is the capacity of a system and its inhabitants to bounce back from disruptive change, to cope with adversity without losing essential functionality and identity. The result is a more adaptive state with a greater capacity for effective re-organization. At the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA), we have been implementing strategies to make the GSA’s vast number of workplaces more resilient and, thus, sustainable.

The GSA’s Office of Federal High-Performance Green Buildings is the GSA’s green building center of excellence. As the federal government’s high-performance building thought leader and catalyst, the office strategically facilitates the adoption of integrated sustainable practices, technologies, and behaviors to accelerate achievement of a zero environmental footprint. GSA oversees 37.02 million square feet of office space in 9,624 buildings owned or leased by the federal government; 12,536 federal employees work in these buildings. Thus, the lessons from GSA’s federal building stock can be applied to many workplaces, large and small, in many contexts.

The federal building “system” today is much like a biological system facing disruptive change. The need to achieve aggressive environmental, financial, and operational goals and to reduce the federal spatial footprint, while maintaining the health and productivity of the workforce, is creating strong pressures to change. Can the built environment—and specifically the workplace—respond to disturbances and stresses with resiliency? Can we intentionally develop the capacity to adapt and cope by drawing on lessons from the natural world?

[Read more…]


I finished a report on Workplace Mobility a couple of weeks ago – specifically ‘how to maintain the commitment to mobility after the project team has moved on…’  It followed our research, and a workshop, with the Workplace ‘PIN’ (performance innovation network) group of real estate occupiers in the UK  Workplace ‘PIN’

I should say, I am a passionate believer in ‘mobility’ – enabling work to be conducted in many settings around the office, or away from the office with customers, or at home, or anywhere…and our research has shown clear benefits in a number of ways, for organizations and individuals alike.

But one area that needs some work – and a collection of brains, from different disciplines – is how the corporate organization creates and maintains its culture in a mobile world. And also, perhaps a subset of this, how does mentoring happen when people are less often together in the same space & time?

[Read more…]