HBI Inc. :: Blog http://blog.hbi-inc.com Mon, 26 Feb 2018 13:00:49 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.1.9 What Workers Want http://blog.hbi-inc.com/what-workers-want/ http://blog.hbi-inc.com/what-workers-want/#comments Mon, 26 Feb 2018 13:00:49 +0000 http://blog.hbi-inc.com/?p=18253 Continue reading ]]> What Workers Want

People know what they don’t want at work—a sea of bland, uniform spaces where ideas to to die.

In fact, a recent Steelcase study of global office workers found that although 77 percent of people have their own assigned workstation, the vast majority—87 percent—spend two to four hours every day working someplace else. We wanted to know: Why are people migrating away from their desks? What kind of spaces are they looking for? Is it as simple as adding some sofas and a barista bar to give people the kind of workplace they want?

As it turns out, monotony is a huge motivator—just over half of people (51 percent) say they need an escape from working in the same place during their day, whether they were alone or with others. They’re also seeking deeper relationships with colleagues, and 43 percent believe informal spaces can help build more trust.

What people are looking for at the office...

Desire VS. Reality

People give lackluster scores to the ancillary spaces their companies provide today. Digging deeper we saw what’s behind the ho-hum ratings:

Desire vs reality

How to make informal spaces better

The Age Factor

Younger and older generations agree—everyone likes informal spaces and use them regularly—but for different reasons. Millennials are more likely to use dining/bar spaces to do focus work while older generations use these spaces for collaboration and socialization.

Lounge spaces are used by millennials as a place for privacy while older generations use these spaces socially. Millennials are also more likely to use a wider range of informal spaces and to adjust their furniture, where older employees tend to pick favorite spots to use and leave their furniture settings alone.

Culture Shift

In China and India, people spend far less time at their primary workstation than in other countries. Organizations appear to be more progressive and provide more informal spaces to their employees.

India and China also offer the lowest percentage of I/Owned workstations and the highest percentage of We/Owned and We/Shared workspaces. This further promotes mobility in the workplace and people in these countries are more likely to seek out other spaces to work.

Organizations in the United States and Germany appear to be more traditional and provide considerably more I/Owned workstations; organizations in India and China are more progressive and offer more We spaces.

Primary Workstation Type by Country

The More the Better

It shouldn’t come as a surprise: Companies that offer more casual, inspiring spaces are perceived as being significantly more progressive than those who don’t.

Availability of Informal Spaces

Hierarchy of Office Needs

Just as people have basic needs in life life food, water and safety, people have different needs at work too. In the office, organizations must provide people with technology, a diverse range of spaces that support different types of work and permission to use these spaces if they expect them to thrive.

According to the study, most organizations only provide people with the technology and permission to work in informal spaces. But what’s missing is the range of spaces where people want to work that support their physical, cognitive and emotional wellbeing.

Hierarchy of Office Needs

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Six Ways to Support Agile Teams http://blog.hbi-inc.com/six-ways-to-support-agile-teams/ http://blog.hbi-inc.com/six-ways-to-support-agile-teams/#comments Mon, 12 Feb 2018 13:00:45 +0000 http://blog.hbi-inc.com/?p=18220 Continue reading ]]> Six Ways to Support Agile Teams

It wasn’t too long ago CEOs spent days with their executive team to devise a five-year plan worthy of Wall Street. Today, five years is an eternity.

It only took three years for Airbnb to go from an idea from in someone’s living room to booking accommodations for 700,000 guests. Uber needed just two years to evolve from its founding to raising millions in capital. While there may still be a place for the five-year plan, today’s leaders are working on five-month, five-week, even five-day plans. They are creating agile teams designed to fail fast, produce rapid prototypes, continuously learn and innovate quickly.

The Birth of Agile

“Agile is a kind of manufacturing system for new ideas. It is the practice that enables organizations to act on their new ideas,” says Tim Brown, IDEO CEO. “It is important to emphasize, however, that Agile is not where the new ideas come from. It is how they are rapidly iterated, improved and deployed.”

Merriam-Webster defines the adjective “agile” as “marked by ready ability to move with quick easy grace.” In the world of work, the term Agile is often used as a noun, as referenced by Brown, describing a concept born from a set of 12 principles written in the 2011 Agile Manifesto, a guide for software development teams. Today, Agile is not only used by IT groups, but has become known to increase success rates and speed up the development and implementation of new ideas across diverse disciplines. The principles of Agile work include:

  • Satisfying the customer with early, consistent and continuous deliverables.
  • Focus on one project at a time versus working on concurrent projects.
  • Fast, frequent, face-to-face team meetings—often standing—speed communication and track incremental progress.
  • Engage customers in hands-on product testing for immediate feedback.

Agile is commonly paired with the Scrum framework which includes activities like Sprints, Stand Up Meetings and roles such as the Scrum Master. (See Glossary of Terms)

“We knew in order to deliver product faster and iterate quicker, you needed small teams working in short cycles,” says Dr. Jeff Sutherland, one of the signatories of the Agile Manifesto and co-author of Scrum: The Art of Doing Twice the Work in Half the Time. “Today, your smartphone’s software is updated every couple of weeks and that’s slow. Amazon has a thousand Scrum teams and they deploy a new feature every 11.6 seconds.”

Since 2011, Agile has taken many different forms as it weaves its way outside of IT into other departments and industries (see Definitions of Agile). Terms are finding old forms of project of development comprised of detailed schedules, charts and requirements too slow. By the time a project is finished, it’s out-of-date. What’s needed today is a way to frequently test, improve and adjust a project as it’s put together to ensure an end result that satisfies the customer.


“Agile is a kind of manufacturing system for new ideas. It is the practice that enables organizations to act on their new ideas. It is important to emphasize, however, that Agile is not where the new ideas come from. It is how they are rapidly iterated, improved and deployed.” – Tim Brown CEO, IDEO

Accelerating the Creative Process

On the whole, organizations designed for efficiency are built to support a linear process—one that discourages iteration, creativity and the ability to harness change. As leaders speed up their organization’s digital transformation, data and tech-enabled solutions become ubiquitous, and the creative process accelerates. Ideas will multiply. Time to market will shrink.

“The nature of Agile work is that it helps the team adapt quickly with rapid learning cycles to improve the end result. Sometimes we may need to change directions or re-prioritize project requirements,” says Terry Lenhardt, chief information officer at Steelcase.

In his book, Sutherland writes teams doing a good job implementing Scrum experience a 300 to 400 percent productivity boost. “People are either going to change or go out of business,” says Sutherland. “Agile is a never-ending process of improvement. It’s like putting together a Swiss watch. When all of the interlocking parts work together, big things start to happen.”

An Agile Environment

Agile is practiced in a variety of ways. Some teams, especially those in the early stages of adopting Agile, find great value in some of the rituals and ceremonies associated with it. But, many teams have their own ways of achieving Agile principles. And, just as the team owns their process, they must also have some control over their place.

“We are finding that the notion of owned versus shared space is radically changing. The old notion of teams ‘owning’ their own project room while sharing open spaces has flipped to more of a sharing economy approach—rooms that can be reserved for short client meetings, while using open areas for flexible team spaces,” said Lenhardt.

Agile work requires an ecosystem of spaces designed to support the different steps throughout the process—giving people choice and control over where and how they get their work done.

“We need to consider the spaces people need for Agile work—things like visual persistence, continuous learning and quick experimentation. People need digital and analog streams of information and in person and virtual meetings,” says Lenhardt. “To keep up with the pace of Agile work, we’re going to have to give up some control to the users on how the space works. We’re going to have to make it highly reconfigurable because they’ll figure out what it is they need for the problem they’re trying to solve.”


“We know in order to deliver product faster and iterate quicker, you need small teams working in short cycles.” – Dr. Jeff Sutherland, Author The Agile Manifesto Scrum: The Art of Doing Twice the Work in Half the Time.


An Agile Experiment

Steelcase has a long history of using its own spaces as behavioral prototypes to experiment with new ideas and learn what works best and what doesn’t. The latest example is an evolving environment where AGile work concepts are being tested and evaluated in actual use over time. It’s generating a growing bank of knowledge about how people are working in new ways and how the workplace can best support them.

“We’re gathering new insights in the areas of embedded learning, leadership modes and the creation of community. In addition to shifts in the space itself, Agile also requires new behaviors, new social norms, and new ways of addressing performance,” says Dr. Tracy Brower, principal, Steelcase Applied Research + Consulting (ARC). “It’s exciting and holistic set of shifts.”

In the spirit of Agile work, Steelcase researchers are sharing several key spatial attributes for spaces to support Agile teams. These initial findings consider individual and group work modes as well as transition states.

01. Vertical real estate supports learning
Analog and digital displays ensure the team sees the big picture while allowing them to curate and take ownership over tracking progress.

02. Standing posture facilitates speed
A standing posture promotes an active, quick directional meeting designed to get the next set of activities going. Avoid distractions by having this space away from the main working area.

03. Heads down focus work contributes to sprints
Team members have to be able to executive project requirements. A place for deep, focused work while remaining cognizant of the team supports progress and knowledge building.

04. Pairing and cross-training avoid bottlenecks
A space for shoulder-to-shoulder work helps build knowledge within the team. Cross-training means if someone is sick or on vacation, the project can keep moving forward.

05. Customer engagement advances the process
Frequent customer testing and learning loops require a place for review that allows equal participation. This should include an area where someone can take notes on action items that everyone can see and agree upon.

06. Transitions re-energize team members
Transition spaces support rejuvenation for people doing deep focus work such as coding. Everyone has a unique way to re-energize. Some people need a social space like a cafe. Others need somewhere quiet like a respite space or a dose of nature like a garden area.

Definitions of Agile

The best place to start a conversation about agile is to define what it means for you and your organization. “One of the first steps in the successful implementation of agile (or Agile) is to clarify thinking and articulate a company’s goals related to it. A common set of definitions is critical to that conversation and to the setting out on the successful agile journey,” notes Dr. Tracy Brower, principal, Steelcase Applied Research + Consulting.

  1. Agile software development is defined by the Agile Manifesto and uses specific frameworks such as Scrum and Sprints.
  2. Teams outside of information technology (IT) are experimenting and implementing Agile-oriented work principles such as Scrum an Sprints.
  3. An agile working strategy supports mobility, teleworking, desk sharing and other similar approaches.
  4. An agile workplace is flexible and can respond to the changing needs of the business. The best agile workplaces give teams some control over their physical space.
  5. An agile culture is one is which flexibility, adaptability and speed are the rule. It must be present for definitions 1-4 to exist.

Steelcase will continue to share its Agile learnings with 360 readers both in the magazine and online.

Are you on a journey to create an Agile organization? We invite you to learn more by accessing ARC insights in 10 Things Agile Teams Need to Know and by listening to our 360 Real Time podcast with Dr. Jeff Sutherland explaining why he bans email, both available at steelcase.com/research. As our team begins to embrace Agile work, we also invite you to connect with Steelcase Applied Research + Consulting.

Glossary of Terms


Inspired by a rugby play in which teams bind themselves together to push forward and gain possession of the ball, Scrum is a process framework for how to improve productivity with incremental development cycles, frequent customer testing and feedback. Scrum involves a cross-function team and three specific roles:

The Scrum Master helps the team follow the Scrum framework and eliminate any barriers.

The Product Owner is the project’s key stakeholder. They are actively involved with the team and hold a vision of what the team will accomplish. They help define, prioritize and make decisions about product requirements.

The Scrum Team is the group doing the work. They are empowered to decide how to get their work done and how much they can accomplish during each Sprint.


During the Sprint, the team lists the project’s requirements and divides each cycle of work (i.e. one week), or Sprint, into its own list of requirements. Once they finish a piece of the project, the progress is tracked visually. Teams hold themselves accountable.

Spring Review

A show-n-tell product demonstration at the end of each Spring that includes the customer for rapid learning and instant feedback to the team.

Stand-up Meeting

The daily Stand-up Meeting lets the team gather on a regular basis to coordinate their activities for the day. It’s a quick huddle to make sure everyone continues to push forward together.


In Scrum, Velocity is the number of project requirements completed during each Sprint.

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Seven Emerging Workplace Design Influences in 2018 http://blog.hbi-inc.com/seven-emerging-workplace-design-influences-in-2018/ http://blog.hbi-inc.com/seven-emerging-workplace-design-influences-in-2018/#comments Mon, 29 Jan 2018 12:00:22 +0000 http://blog.hbi-inc.com/?p=18170 Continue reading ]]> Seven Emerging Workplace Design Influences in 2018

The world of work is changing fast to instigate a new set of trends focused on themes of creativity, community and conscientiousness.

The full scale rejection of efficiency-based office environments is giving way to offices principled in sustainability, community, diversity and lifestyle. What design influences will be shaping the workplace in the coming year? Cherie Johnson, Steelcase global design director, and Julie Yonehara, Steelcase surface material designer, work with teams based in Michigan, Munich and Hong Kong to understand why certain design elements are gaining traction. They shared seven emerging forces at play when it comes to workplace design in the year ahead.

Workplace Design Influences in 2018

Celebrating Communities

Celebrating Communities

Designers are explorers searching for inspiration in buildings being renovated into more creative workplaces, Johnson tells us. They are conscientious in saving elements of interior architecture that reflect unique parts of a found building. By connecting new work culture in a meaningful way to the collective identity of the location, community and brand, designers are creating authenticity in the workplace in the world. Johnson says workers want to feel more immersed in the story and meaning of where they work in lieu of feeling insulated to place. Thoughtfully finding and exposing authentic layers of history and creating new insertions is the new creative canvas.

Designers are considering how places are differentiated from our digital world and how a space in one city is unlike its counterpart in another. Urban centers around the globe date back to different time periods. Based on the era in which they were built, certain materials were available and popular at the time. Today, designers are able to connect with those remnants of the past and create more memorable, personalized spaces. This presents a creative tension celebrating the old and new within a space. The desire to embrace and understand history adds an interesting dialogue to the design process as people connect with the authenticity and uniqueness once hidden in century-old buildings.

Global Inspirations

Because technology allows us to be instantaneously connected to images and projects taking place all over the world, designers are finding inspirations around the globe. In 2017, hygge, the Danish word for cozy, became more prevalent in the workplace as people sought more informal and residential work environments. Now in 2018, Yonehara says wabi-sabi, a Japanese aesthetic based off nature and imperfection, is an influence resurfacing in the workplace. It’s the influencing ethos for ikebana, the Japanese art of flower arrangements meant to expand the observer’s appreciation of beauty, which Johnson says is also experiencing a resurgence.


Our global environment is helping us connect with cultures and also with craft. The manufacturing technologies and visual tools now available to designers allow them to tap into methods that used to be inaccessible to a broader audience. Shibori, a Japanese approach to dyeing textiles, and Sho Sugi Ban, a Japanese burnt wood art, are two examples Johnson shared of once unattainable crafts now being curated by designers to bring life into the office.

Yonehara says this juxtaposition of craft and technology is providing people with both authenticity and performance. Light fixtures and ceramic accessories are being created by 3D printers, for example, making these elements more available and more durable for the office in some cases. Craft is being redefined by technology adding different aspects of performance.

Biophilia 2.0

Biophilia 2.0

When we’re surrounded by digital tools all day long, we yearn for a connection to nature, explains Johnson. Biophilia, the principle that human beings have an innate desire to connect and bond with nature, is experiencing a resurgence because of the balance we need from our digital world and the benefit of nature’s restorative qualities provide our well-being. Biophilic elements are making more of an appearance in dedicated rejuvenation and focus areas because we need the therapeutic connection with nature more frequently throughout the day.

Time is a luxury and Johnson is seeing more rejuvenation and respite areas planned on every floor of an office. Office workers need respite especially as they are asked to do more creative problem solving. How do we find peaceful places to think or work with our hands? As we look at the ecosystem of settings people have to choose from at work, Johnson is seeing more nature in the physical environment so people can step away from their desk for an escapist moment. Designers will continue to explore new ways to manifest the restorative properties of nature in the workplace.

Diversity of Materials

Diversity of Materials

As the workplace hosts a broader range of cultures and generations, people are gravitating toward more natural and textured materials. Today’s first-time employees are comfortable with a variety of materials, colors and spaces. When people are offered a diversity of spaces, they will find the one that’s the best fit for them. Johnson explains it’s about more than just finding the right spot for different modes of work. Materials create a sense of emotional well-being. They help a broader audience find a place where they feel they fit.

In addition, Yonehara says she’s also seeing a heightened understanding of the need for respite within the workplace. Technology helps us be more productive, but that also means we need more opportunities to rejuvenate. She’s seeing a wider range of neutrals, translucent and toned down colors as well as textiles with a tactile and warm handfeel to offer calm and comfort in areas of the workplace.

Designing with Data

Data has entered the work environment, adding significant value to the conversation between designers and customers. Designers who talk about changing space and culture with customers now have the benefit of non-biased data to help eliminate the fear of the unknown. Does everyone need their own workstation or private office? Or would more private enclaves and collaboration spaces better serve the team? Sensors in the workplace can help organizations learn how often people are at their desks and what kinds of spaces will best support their people. Data can help designers and organizations get to an appropriate design solution, faster.

Digital Tribalization

Technology is shortening the distance between the designer and the customer. People are so digitally connected, they are constantly developing and honing their personal design point-of-view. Visceral reactions to imagery found in our social media feeds and online can lead to the assemblage of the context that only fits our view. We “like” and “pin” what we’re drawn to, but then technology uses filters to provide us with more of our preferences, unintentionally narrowing our perspective.

The digital tribalization changes the conversation between designers and their customers. Johnson says virtual reality and augmented reality will come to bear to bridge the gap between a designer’s holistic vision of the workplace and individual’s unique preferences. Worldwide revenues for augmented and virtually reality are expected to reach $162 billion in 2020, according to International Data Corp.

The influences Johnson, Yonehara and their teams are watching emerge around the world in workplace design are constantly evolving. You can stay up-to-date with the latest workplace research by subscribing to 360 Magazine and 360 Real Time podcasts in iTunes or SoundCloud.


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Five Ideas for Finding Purpose at Work http://blog.hbi-inc.com/five-ideas-for-finding-purpose-at-work/ http://blog.hbi-inc.com/five-ideas-for-finding-purpose-at-work/#comments Mon, 15 Jan 2018 13:00:02 +0000 http://blog.hbi-inc.com/?p=18143 Continue reading ]]> Five Ideas for Finding Purpose at Work

Despite a recognition that shared purposes improves business success, research suggests people are struggling to find it at work.

Experts extolling the virtue of purpose-driven work are easy to find. In recent months, Forbes, Harvard Business Review and The New York Times have all published arguments on behalf of connecting with a company’s mission. Seventy-nine percent of business leaders think purpose is central to business success (pwc). And, nearly ninety percent of executives say an organization with a strong sense of collective purpose drives employee satisfaction (EY Beacon Institute, HBR Analytics).

Yet, evidence suggests despite lofty ambitions, many people are not finding purpose at work. The Gallup-Sharecare Well-Being Index reports a slight decline in the percentage of people who say they like what they do each day. Less than half of executives say their organization shares a strong sense of purpose. And, research including the Steelcase Global Report: Engagement and the Global Workplace continues to show only one-third of workers are highly engaged and highly satisfied.

There’s no need, however, to wait for purpose to manifest itself. Every day presents us with an opportunity to find purpose at work and make our lives and our organization better as a result. The recently published Corporate Sustainability Report (CSR) from Steelcase highlights a few simple ways to get started.

Finding Purpose at Work

1. Find a Passion Project

What began as a tinkering teenager’s passion project to get him to school on time, became $30 million business for Mike Radenbaugh. Inc. told the story of how Rad Power Bikes went from problem solving to profit recently. Not every passion project ends up a cover story. However, when you find a project where you feel like your work can make a difference, you’re bound to feel a renewed sense of curiosity, energy and excitement.

Lindsay Bonzheim, digital marketer at Steelcase, recently saw opportunity to improve the Steelcase Education Active Learning Center Grant experience. The grant gives Steelcase Education the opportunity to partner with leaders in active learning. Over the course of three cycles, 40 schools have received active learning classrooms translating to a total of more than $30 million invested in the future of education.

“By helping improve our online experience, I knew we could make it easier for educators to find out if they were eligible and enhance their grant applications. It means a lot to work on a project that benefits students and teachers,” said Bonzheim.

Find a Passion Project

The Active Learning Center Grant from Steelcase Education seeks partners in active learning who are ready to use their physical classroom space to advance learning in new and important ways.


2. Invest in Community

In July 2016, 25 teenage girls and 10 Steelcase facilitators from Cluj, Romania participated in Camp GLOW (Girls Leading Our World). A global gender empowerment initiative founded in 1995 by the Peace Corps, GLOW aims to build self-confidence, help girls develop communication and teamwork skills and create an understanding of how to lead positive change in their communities and the world.

Alexandra Moldovan, the Steelcase leader who headed the camp, had previously experienced GLOW as a camper and counselor. “Sharing my experience and knowledge to help these motivated and determined young girls become the positive change they want to see in the world was an experience of a lifetime.”

Many organizations encourage employees and teams to volunteer in their communities or provide matching donations for charitable contributions. Spend time to figure out how your company works and how you want to contribute.

3. Strive for Sustainability

As you consider your personal sustainability goals and how they impact your organization, strive not only to contribute, but also, to inspire others. Whether you bike to work, use public transportation, bring your own water bottle or coffee container to reduce waste or look for opportunities to conserve resources by turning off lights, your actions impact the environment and can illustrate and encourage a sense of global responsibility.

Nancy Hirshberg, previous vice president of natural resources for Stonyfield Farm, wrote in GreenBiz about the value of celebrating sustainability efforts along with the importance of finding a balance between visibility and keeping a low profile. “Recognition can inspire people to do more. It drives trust and increases engagement. That’s why it’s such a powerful tool for sustainability manager.”

Steelcase manufacturing plants employ a powerful internal recognition program. Suggestion yield positive impacts on the business and sustainability goals. One notable example of creative reuse came from the Steelcase wood plant in Michigan: operations team members were looking to better support a finished product during shipment. The teams realized they could use leftover melamine to build better pallets on-site. In addition to re-purposing materials, the new pallets have improved support and protection for the product during shipment.

4. Connect with Colleagues

Connect with Colleagues

Angela Eick helped start the Young Professionals group at Steelcase nearly five years ago.


Work at its essence is a social endeavor. An oft-cited Gallup poll says that people with best friends at work are more likely to report that the mission of their company makes them feel their job is important. They are more likely to say their opinions count at work and that they have the opportunity to do what they do best each day.

Angela Eick, digital marketer at Steelcase, started the Young Professionals employee inclusion group nearly five years ago. “I felt compelled to help start this group because I wanted to connect with other people who were new to the company. We wanted to provide opportunities to network, make friends and learn more about the organization,” said Eick.

In 2017, employee inclusion groups at Steelcase grew to more than 20 diverse networks of people and topics including multi-cultural, veterans, wellbeing, young professionals, women, pride, social responsibility committees and more. Whether it’s formally or informally, as a leader or a participant, seek out your fit within your broader organization.

5. Everyone Teaches, Everyone Learns

Everyone Teaches, Everyone Learns

The ability to continually learn how to learn together was a fundamental aim of the newest Learning and Innovation Center from Steelcase opened in Munich.


Opportunities to contribute to your organization’s learning environment may exist in non traditional places. There’s a need for leadership across all parts of an organization in today’s ever-changing business climate. Professional development development is no longer relegated to lectures, classrooms and formal learning sessions. Learning can happen everywhere.

Steelcase’s approach to learning fosters an environment where we all teach and we all learn. We spread learning and teaching through: classes and online courses, social learning, speaker series, conferences, lunch and learn events, mentoring and coaching. By helping to expand learning moments, you can drive development both personally and within your organization.

For more ideas about finding purpose at work, see the 2017 Corporate Sustainability Report from Steelcase.


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Rethinking An Old Project Room to Support Creativity http://blog.hbi-inc.com/rethinking-an-old-project-room-to-support-creativity/ http://blog.hbi-inc.com/rethinking-an-old-project-room-to-support-creativity/#comments Fri, 22 Dec 2017 12:00:41 +0000 http://blog.hbi-inc.com/?p=18113 Continue reading ]]> Rethinking An Old Project Room to Support CreativityWill a robot take my job? It’s a question on a lot of minds, according to a new Pew Research Center study (Oct. 2017). Nearly three-quarters (72 percent) of adults worry about a future where robots and computers can do many human jobs. However, many experts, including Microsoft’s Satya Nadella, see AI as helpful. While AI may take over more rote tasks, it will add new jobs as well. Plus, as computers do more of the cumbersome, busy work that bogs us down, we’ll get to spend more time creatively solving problems to innovate and drive business forward.

Creative Spaces

A Steelcase and Microsoft survey found 77 percent of people believe creativity will be a critical job skill in the future. Yet, 69 percent of employees say they aren’t living up to their creative potential (Adobe) and lack a culture and environment that encourages creativity.

Unlike the linear work process driven by models of efficiency, creative thinking requires people to flow through different stages of work as they come together, break apart and iterate on ideas. The thoughtful integration of space, tools and technology enables the cycle between conversations, experimentation and concentration demanded by creativity.

When creativity is supported, it becomes a habit. The physical environment can help reinforce the shift toward a more creative culture. Together, Steelcase and Microsoft designed Creative Spaces, an ecosystem of spaces embedded with technology, to enhance the creative process.

 Creativity Ideabook

The Creativity Ideabook provides key insights and information around planning for creativity in the workplace.


Rethink a Project Space

Designing for creativity can start small, however. Many organizations have underused real estate, like an old project room, just waiting to be given new life. There are some easy ways to begin rethinking existing space to boost creativity.

A dedicated project team space can provide fluidity between focus, collaboration and respite as teams flow between group sessions and individual heads-down work (see photo below). To help organizations get started, Steelcase designers created several ecosystem planning ideas in a Creativity Ideabook. They include three ways to “nurture creative confidence,” one of the design principles for Creative Spaces. Here’s how to begin turning an old project space into a place for creative work.

Rethink a Project Space

Three Ways to Nurture Creative Confidence

To nurture creative confidence, all employees should be empowered to tackle complex problems regardless of hierarchy or geography..

1. Encourage Equal Contributions

Accessible technology encourages people to participate and co-create. Adding a large-scale Microsoft Surface Hub makes it easy to share content or work with co-located and distributed team members.

2. Guide the Creative Process

Provide postable, writable surfaces adjacent to technology to make ideas visible and to guide the creative process. Vertical surfaces for writing, drawing and posting support creative thinking and expression.

3. Engage + Connect with Leaders, Guests

Separate spaces for additional team members or outside experts encourage leader and guest participation in the project work. Embedded within the project space, the director’s studio (top right of the photo) connects leadership to the workflow of the team.

To see more of the design principles behind Creative Spaces and additional ideas for creating the conditions for creativity at work, download the Creativity Ideabook.

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Active Learning Center Grant Launches Fourth Cycle http://blog.hbi-inc.com/active-learning-center-grant-launches-fourth-cycle/ http://blog.hbi-inc.com/active-learning-center-grant-launches-fourth-cycle/#comments Mon, 11 Dec 2017 12:00:59 +0000 http://blog.hbi-inc.com/?p=18098 Continue reading ]]> Active Learning Center Grant Launches Fourth CycleOld norms are giving way to a deeper, broader and more individualized perspective on what student success is and how to achieve it. Many teachers and administrators are rethinking their teaching methods, curricula, support services and technologies, all with the aim of developing a more relevant and strategic approach. The Active Learning Center Grant from Steelcase Education is launching its fourth cycle to identify educators at the leading edge of active learning pedagogies. Steelcase Education seeks to partner with educators to create the most effective, rewarding and inspiring active learning environments to meet the evolving needs of students and teachers.

Active Learning Center Grant — Fourth Cycle

Following a desire to work with educators to share research about what works and what doesn’t and how active learning spaces can help, Steelcase Education has already awarded 40 classrooms through the ALC Grant. Craig Wilson, Steelcase Education director of market development, leads the ALC Grant program. Once again, he and his team are looking for up to 16 new schools to add to the ALC Grant community.

As Steelcase Education launches this latest grant cycle, we asked Craig to answer a few questions.

Steelcase 360: Why is it important to Steelcase Education to offer the Active Learning Center Grant?

Craig: The Active Learning Center Grant is about three things. We want to partner with educators who are implementing new pedagogies and technologies to help them discover space as a tool to advance active learning. We also want to work with educators to learn from one another. We combine those findings along with the work done by our Steelcase Education researchers to create a rich knowledge bank available for educators everywhere. In fact, we just published the results submitted by 12 grant recipients (Read: Active Learning Centers Impact Education). Finally, we want to connect a community of educators passionate about the future of education to inspire and help one another which is why we just held our first Active Learning Symposium here in Michigan (Read: Active Learning Symposium Inspires Educators).

Active Learning Center Grant

Browse resources, sign up for updates and submit your proposal for this year’s Active Learning Center Grant from Steelcase Education.

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Steelcase 360: What do we know about active learning that suggests the environment can help?

Craig: What we’re hearing from educators over and over again is that it isn’t enough to have the pedagogy, technology or space. You need all three — a holistic approach to active learning. We know if you combine the right space with inspiring teachers and effectively deployed technologies, the environment can help drive better results. Learning spaces can help students think better by supporting the natural capacity and constraints of the brain. Environments can also help students be healthier by supporting active behaviors. And, spaces can help students feel better by providing a strong sense of belonging, optimism and community which, more often than not, leads to engagement. Engagement then leads to student success in school and beyond.

Yet, many classrooms are not designed to support active learning. At Steelcase Education, we invest in research and design to create spaces built to support the way teachers can best teach and students can best learn. During the time of year our team gets to review the ALC Grant submissions, there’s a palpable excitement in the air. We love working with and understanding how educators are inspiring students. And, we take selecting the recipients very seriously.

Steelcase 360: What does it mean for recipients who receive the Active Learning Center Grant?

Craig: We wanted to be sure this grant was built to support a partnership between the ALC recipients and Steelcase Education. Teachers and administrators not only have the opportunity the receive an active learning classroom worth up to $67,000, but we also provide them with training on educator strategies, access to research learnings and connections with other grant recipients, in addition to marketing opportunities through Steelcase Education.

Steelcase 360: What results have other grant recipients seen?

Craig: We’ve seen powerful results. Once the classroom is installed, schools measure what happens in the way that means most to them. Schools report seeing improved test scores, better engagement and positive collaboration amongst students.

Julia Marshall, a seventh grade teacher at Saluda Trail Middle School in Rock Hill, South Carolina says the Active Learning Center classroom brought new life to her school, engaged students and made them excited about learning. Today, the school boasts some of the highest student engagement levels and has positively impacted test scores.

Elbert Yeh, Forest Hills Northern High School science teacher and department chair, credits the grant to helping his classroom achieve more student discussion, new ways for students to learn and improved lesson planning for teachers.

In addition to the middle and high school levels, we’ve seen results at the university level as well. The University of Arizona shared with us their ALC Grant transformation. Their partnership with Steelcase Education helped them introduce collaboration learning spaces throughout their campus and change the culture of teaching at the university. Teachers are engaging and have fun in their new classrooms and students are participating more as they learn.

These are just a few examples. We’ve been so energized by what we’ve seen and we can’t wait to see what happens for the next round of grant recipients.

Steelcase 360: What advice would you give a school as they fill out an application?

Craig: I would tell an educator or administrator who is considering applying to go for it. We ask school leaders to think about and describe their goals and how a Steelcase Education Active Learning Center may be able to help. We’re looking for schools who know what they are trying to achieve and are willing to partner with us to measure those results.

We also want to encourage educators who have applied before, but have yet to receive the grant, to apply again. A few of our recipients were second time applicants. In fact, one school told us when they didn’t get the grant the first time around, it was the best thing that could have happened. They spent time before the second ALC Grant cycle to research active learning and how it could impact their students and teachers.

Steelcase 360: How does a school get started?

Craig: We encourage interested educators to get started right away. We receive hundreds of applicants each year and we personally review every submission. To help support educators who want to write a successful grant, we’ve created a series of resources including a one-page document with helpful deadlines and requirements listed. Free help is available with two webinars planned for December 14, 4pm ET and January 10, 4pm ET.

Applications are accepted from December 1, 2017 and until February 2, 2018.

Written By:

Rebecca Charbauski

For Steelcase


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Five Ways the Office Can Help Combat Loneliness http://blog.hbi-inc.com/five-ways-the-office-can-help-combat-loneliness/ http://blog.hbi-inc.com/five-ways-the-office-can-help-combat-loneliness/#comments Mon, 27 Nov 2017 12:00:13 +0000 http://blog.hbi-inc.com/?p=18053 Continue reading ]]> Five Ways the Office Can Help Combat LonelinessResearch suggests companies should make fostering social connections a strategic priority.

We can reach each other anywhere and at any time by phone, email, instant message and social networks. We’re more connected than ever, right? Wrong. Forty percent of American adults report feeling lonely (AARP), a number that’s doubled since the 1980s. Former U.S. Surgeon General, Vice Admiral Dr. Vivek Murthy, recently called loneliness a growing health epidemic (HBR) and called on companies to help solve the problem.

At work, half of CEOs feel lonely and many other employees are impacted as well (HBR). Research tells us this sense of isolation increases stress, harms our health, lowers performance, reduces creativity and limits reasoning and decision making.

Dr. Murthy suggests one of the fastest, most effective ways to help address loneliness is where we spend most of our time — at work.

“Companies in particular have the power to drive change at a societal level not only be strengthening connections among employees, partners and clients but also by serving an innovation hub that can inspire other organizations to address loneliness,” he writes.

Mobile work and telecommuting are modern-day barriers as organizations try to strengthen relationships and trust among teams. Even in the office, a culture of intense focus can translate into back-to-back meetings and constant focus on a screen leaving little time to interact with colleagues in a genuine way.

Work, at its core, is a social endeavor. Trust, belonging and a sense of purpose stem from meaningful connections. Dr. Murthy stresses the importance of quality interactions. It’s not enough to say “hello” in the hallway or “how are you?” as you pass someone. We need to care enough about our colleagues to know them as human beings and cultivate strong relationships. Dr. Murthy says companies should make fostering social connections at work a strategic priority.

A large number of studies show social connections improve work performance. They are sick less, learn faster and display more mental acuity (HBR). Steelcase insights suggest five ways to use the workplace as a tool to encourage social connections and combat workplace loneliness.

How the Office Can Help Combat Loneliness

1. Provide a Collection of Social Spaces

Provide a Collection of Social Spaces

Offer employees a variety of informal postures and place to get their work done and connect with other. By providing a collection of spaces — informal lounge areas — quick touchdown spots, perch seating — resident and nomadic workers can quickly switch between formal-work and informal-social conversations.

2. Facilitate Unplanned Social Connections

Facilitate Unplanned Social Connections

Sometimes the most valuable conversations are those that don’t appear on your calendar. By intentionally creating footpaths from one part of the building to another, or encouraging people to converge for coffee or a snack, you can increase the likelihood of a valuable serendipitous connections.

3. Leverage You Cafe

Leverage You Cafe

A WorkCafé is a dynamic space that transforms a traditional corporate cafeteria into destinations for connection, collaboration, focus and innovation. It can be used throughout the work day as both a place to eat, socialize, retreat or engage.

4. Be Mindful of Distributed Team Members

Be Mindful of Distributed Team Members

Technology helps us feel closer than ever to our distributed team members. Cameras should allow distributed colleagues to feel like they are in the room. They need to be able to see content on the whiteboard and hear everyone clearly. Consider ending a meeting a few minutes early to let them share something about their lives or schedule a video connection just to socialize.

5. Balance Socialization with Privacy

Balance Socialization with Privacy

Building strong relationships includes being mindful of needs of privacy as well. People can’t be social all the time. They need places to focus, rejuvenate or have a confidential conversation. A well-designed workplace includes options for individual and team privacy.

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Four Ways to Get More Creative on Your Own http://blog.hbi-inc.com/four-ways-to-get-more-creative-on-your-own/ http://blog.hbi-inc.com/four-ways-to-get-more-creative-on-your-own/#comments Sun, 19 Nov 2017 02:48:54 +0000 http://blog.hbi-inc.com/?p=18011 Continue reading ]]> Four Ways to Get More Creative On Your OwnTo be more successful, productive and creative, Cal Newport, author of Deep Work, explores four rules for embracing meaningful work.

How many times have you been part of a big brainstorming session — striving to come up with a breakthrough idea only to leave the session struggling for the big ah-ha? Idea generation can be a collaborative activity. But, research tells us creative ideas and innovative concepts don’t always spring forth from a group. They often emerge during times of deep focus where our brains free themselves from distraction and enter a state of intense concentration. Cal Newport, author of the 2016 book Deep Work, offers four rules for embracing more meaningful and rewarding knowledge work.

As Newport explains in his book, deep work is the opposite of the busy, shallow work that fills so many people’s days at the office. Email, instant messaging and project management platforms, all leave us feeling like a ping-pong ball — exhausted, but not sure we really made any progress. Deep work is essential to develop expertise in complex topics. It stretches your ability to enhance creativity and requires you to stop multitasking and block out distractions.

Recent Steelcase research and insights back up the idea that focus and respite are two important parts of the creative process. Creative work involves and ebb and flow between group collaboration and individual think time. Without time alone to develop our own ideas, group-think can set in, an enemy of creativity. In addition, neuroscience tells us some of our best ideas come to us when the brain has time to rest and build new connections.

How to Get More Creative on Your Own

Creativity Ideabook

The Creativity Ideabook provides key insights and information around planning for creativity in the workplace.


Rule #1 Schedule Deep Work Regularly

Make it a habit to block out distractions and improve your ability to focus. Pick a rhythm that works best for you. Some people do this everyday, blocking out parts of their calendars for focus work. Other people choose one or two days a week and, yet others, pick certain times a year to remove themselves for a few weeks at a time.

Recently, Forbes interviewed 200 ultra-productive people including billionaires, Olympians and academics to find out their secret to success. Focus came up a number of times including following “the 80/20 rule.” They said 80 percent of outcomes come from 20 percent of their business activities. Lesson: Eliminate the extraneous and focus.

Rule #2 Learn to Love Boredom

Distraction is everywhere. In fact, we carry the most distracting device around in our pockets almost everywhere we go. But, having a Pavlovian reaction to every ping and vibration doesn’t make us more creative or more successful. Instead, revise what “work” looks like. Real focus is good for you. Stop yearning for interruptions and accept a little boredom as proof that you know how to concentration.

Rule #3 Put Down the “Like” Button

Don’t tell Mark Zuckerberg, but Newport advocates you quite social media. He says it’s pretty simple — go back to “they 80/20 rule.” Does social media make the top-tier of tactics that will contribute to you reaching your goals? The answer is most likely “no.” In which case, your time is better spent doing deep work.

Rule #4 End Shallow Work

Finally, Newport suggests what many ultra-productive people have known for a long time. Eliminate some of the “busy work” that fails to contribute to creativity and true productivity. Many of the business elite interviewed by Forbes schedule time to respond to email efficiently and just once a day. Newport advocates for rigorous adherence to a schedule, blocking off time for new activities, batching related tasks together and building in buffer time to protect deep work.

To learn more about the science and research behind the creative process and how the work environment can help support focus, respite and other creative work modes, read our 360 Focus: Creativity, Work and the Physical Environment.

Creative Spaces for Focus and Respite

Creative Space001The Focus Studio supports individual creative work time by offering a controlled environment to get into flow and focus, free from distractions.

Creative Space002

The Focus Studio is a place to let ideas incubate before sharing with the support of a Microsoft Surface Studio.

Creative Space003

The Focus Studio supports the alone time required for creative work, enabling focus while also allowing quick shifts to two-person collaboration with the use of a height-adjustable desk.

Creative Space004

The Respite Room is designed with the understanding that creativity requires balancing active group work with individual think time. Here, people may generate their own ideas without interruption or spend time absorbing information they just heard.

Creative Space005

The Respite Room is designed to offer a relaxed posture with a personal Surface Book or Surface Pro4.

Creative Space006

The Respite Room provides lounge furniture and lets you charge your devices within an environment that is private, protected and free of stimuli.

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Activating the Classroom http://blog.hbi-inc.com/activating-the-classroom/ http://blog.hbi-inc.com/activating-the-classroom/#comments Mon, 30 Oct 2017 12:00:10 +0000 http://blog.hbi-inc.com/?p=17954 Continue reading ]]> Activating the ClassroomIt’s just one of nearly 300 classrooms on the five campuses of HACC, Central Pennsylvania’s Community College, but it’s had an outsized impact at the institution.

Their active learning classroom has been so effective at boosting student engagement, participation and collaboration, and become such a popular teaching space for faculty, that the college is now considering “how we can thoroughly convert, over time, inventory of traditional classrooms into a mix of different kinds of active learning spaces,” says Michael Corradino, dean of academic affairs at HACC’s Lancaster Campus.

The 851-square-foot active learning space, created with mobile Steelcase Education furniture and tools, has changed how teach and how students learn.

“Boy, do they talk about the difference. As teachers and as students, once they get into that room and have the mobility, it’s really a shock and a bit of a disappointment for them to have to go back to an old-fashioned room,” says Corradino.

“I’ve heard, almost to a person, how they wish they had all their classes in the active learning room.”

Embracing Active Learning

Math 103 – College Algebra

HACC uses the active learning classroom for a variety of courses, including English, speech, business, education, and radiologic technology. College algebra is taught by Susan Cooper-Nguyen, a full-time HACC faculty member and a teacher for nearly 20 years.

She describes her typical student as “non-traditional, a 27-year-old female with two kids, coming back for a change of careers, with a lot of anxiety and fear about college.

“The active learning classroom isn’t as rigid as a traditional room, it’s open and colorful and mobile and that helps take away some of that fear and anxiety right from the start.”

Math 103 — College Algebra

In group mode, students move around the classroom and use the Verb whiteboards to collaborate, share ideas and then present those ideas to the class.

Students use iPads in this course, both to watch videos online before class sessions and for use during class. “I go around the room and I work with a student on a math problem, and we project that work on the screen as we’re doing it. All the students can see it as it happens, in real time, and I answer questions. As we go, we record the video, and I post it online. Everything we do I can upload to the course site. They’re usually little, five-minute recordings. They can watch them at home that night, re-look at them, hit rewind a thousand times if they want.”

Cooper-Nguyen makes great use of personal whiteboards that hang on hooks at the Verb tables. “I’ll say, ‘Okay everyone, bust out the whiteboads. You guys work out this problem.’ I walk around, I see what they are doing, help them out. I’ll see someone’s solution and I’ll say, “Here’s a good one, look at this.’ Some of the students have better handwriting than I do, so I put it up on display and leave it there, like a piece of art.”

When she started teaching this way, other faculty members thought attendance would suffer. “Actually, this class has better attendance than my other classes.” We do a lot of activities as a group. People still want human interaction, or they’d take it as an online course.”

Most of her algebra students are not math majors. “The environment of this classroom and the technology marries so well. It’s a relaxed place. It’s not me standing up, lecturing for 90 minutes.”


The flexibility of mobile classroom furniture enables teachers to try different class layouts and seamlessly shift a class from one teaching mode to the next.

She also tries different class layouts on the fly. “There are different teachers in the room before and after me. Every time I come in, it’s a different set-up: amphitheater, circle, group, whatever. The students and I just roll with whatever the set-up is when we arrive.”

FS 100 – College Success

Designed for freshman students to learn study skills and other “soft” skills useful in any major, this is one of HACC’s Foundational Studies courses. Many of the course’s collaborative activities were developed by instructor Melissa Dietrich. “The course helps students, many of whome are the first generation in their family to go to college, to navigate and be successful in college.”

The new active learning classroom, she says, helped get her out of a teaching rut. “In the old classrooms, I found myself lecturing what was in the textbook. I ask a question, some students raise their hands, some never raise them. You hear from the same ones all the time.”

Now they have mobility, they can collaborate more, so they learn that sitting in the room is not enough; they have to be active participants.”

Students read and prep before class, “so they can apply the knowledge in active situations: group discussion, case studies, small group work. For example, they’ll meet in small groups to come up with ideas for solving a problem. They do some brainstorming, write down ideas on the Verb whiteboards, and then they share them with the whole class. Then we display the boards on the whiteboard easel.”

“The whole point is teaching students to be active participants in their learning.”

The class timing can be a challenge: FS 100 is typically offered in the afternoons. “It’s after lunch, people are sluggish. In the past I’d see a lot of nodding off. There’s a lot less of that now because they’re moving around, talking, working together, and there’s definitely a lot more participation. If there’s a sluggish group, I can go over and plop down with them and get them going.”


Professors walk the classroom and meet with groups of students to ensure that everyone is being challenged at a pace suitable for them.

Dietrich often finds creative ways to leverage the mobility of the furniture. “After the first couple weeks, students get into their groups and they get a little more comfortable. I wanted them to reach out to others in the class, to get to know other people. One day, I made them move all the tables out of the way. It was just chairs in the middle of the room. Then they had to go around to talk to other people to elicit different information. It was something you couldn’t do in a traditional classroom. They looked at me like, am I serious? Then they wheeled around on their chairs, and realized they can talk to people outside their group. It was a great activity.”

“The whole point is teaching students to be active participants in their learning.”

RADT 209 – Image Analysis

Sara Crill, a tenure-track faculty member at HACC, teaches radiologic technology students how to analyze x-rays.

“In a typical exercise, I provide an image for the students and they have to figure out how it was created and how it could be improved. Everything the radiologic technologist does affects the image results.”

Crill says traditional lectures are not as effective as hands-on, active learning experiences “where students are move active, working with materials, models.”

Students study the textbook and the lecture online, and in the classroom work in small groups. “They come to a consensus and present to the full class. They have to justify their analysis, then lead a discussion with the class.”

Creating proper diagnostic images to adequate display subtle internal structures is a complex process, and often leads to classroom debates

“There isn’t always just one correct answer; they are many possibilities.”

Students eagerly join the discussion. “They come up to the whiteboard, draw arrows and circles and present other ideas. The critical thinking that occurs in that room is phenomenal.”

“The critical thinking that occurs in that room is phenomenal.”

Class discussion

Students are put into groups to discuss class content and teach one another. Peer-to-peer learning helps some students reach a better understanding of the content and challenges the accelerated students to take on an educator’s role.

Crill previously taught the course in a computer lab. “Each student had their own computer, I’d be at the front of the class asking questions. It lended itself lectures, with me the one to always clarify the information.”

“In the active learning classroom, the process forces them to be prepared, to use the proper terminology, to find their own voice and articulate their thinking.”

In small group, active learning, students are not only more engaged, but learning from each other. “You always have some students that are higher functioning, and some who struggle more to understand concepts. In small groups, the students who understand the concepts easier tend to explain, and try to draw conclusions, and point out different things to students who don’t get the concept as quickly. This meets both students’ needs. The higher functioning students don’t get bored, they help teach. The other students get repetition, plus sometimes when a peer explains it, they understand it better.”

Students who learn at different paces are supported in another way, too. “Sometimes it’s helpful to mix up students who learn at different paces. When one group advances quickly, you can give them another challenge while the others are catching up. You can meet students where they’re at.”

When you’re lecturing you have no idea where students are at, even if you ask questions consistently. No way you can ask enough questions in a large classroom to gauge where each student’s comprehension is at. When I walk around, I see the students and their work, I can probe, learn where they’re at.”

Verb whiteboards are sometimes used as “station labels” for exercises at individual stations that students work through during a class period. “I also use them to poll students about an answer to a problem. Instead of raising their hands, they have to write down their answer, commit to it. Then students have to explain their thinking for that answer.

“To see them so knowledgeable, to show what they’ve learned, to articulate it and defend their thinking, it’s pretty neat to see.”


The active learning space, says Corradino, changes the way students act and interact. “It’s been eye-opening for me to really see how important that component is and how in many ways for us, that’s been the biggest lesson.”

“I almost feel guilty using another space. the students are not getting the advantages of the new room.”

“If tomorrow I went to the faculty teaching in that room and said, ‘Okay, I’m going to take away the technology or the furniture.’ They would say, ‘Well keep the furniture, that’s actually more important now to what we do than the technology.’

“It’s been such a catalyst for the institution to really take seriously how we do active learning, collaborative learning, in terms of our curriculum and instruction. It really is amazing. One room can really start a major process rolling.”

“I love the room. I almost feel guilty using another space; the students are not getting the advantages of the new room,” says math instructor Susan Cooper-Nguyen.

As Melissa Dietrich told her students, “We definitely have the coolest classroom anywhere on campus.”

And for radiologic technology students, the image is crystal clear: for the last three years in a row, 100 percent of HACC’s radiologic technology graduates have found employment in the profession.


What’s Wrong with this Picture?

What's wrong with this picture

How would you improve it? These are simple questions that Sara Crill poses to her students in Imaging Analysis, a high level core class in the radiologic technology curriculum.

The answers are decidedly less simple, and critically important: these future radiologic technologists are learning how to properly take X-rays that help determine patient diagnoses.

Students use mobile Verb tables and node chairs to collaborate in small groups to determine answers about an assigned image, then use Verb personal whiteboards to share their analysis with the rest of the class.

“I watch and listen to their interactions, why they think something, how they explain it. It’s remarkable what they come up with. Sometimes I think, “Oh that’s a neat way to explain that concept. I can use that myself.”

The classroom and Crill’s pedagogical approach combine to immerse the students, actively involve them in learning, and improve the educational experience for both the students and the teacher.

“We engage students, and that makes them want to learn more. It takes more effort and time and dedication to teach that way, but it’s definitely rewarding.”

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Future Office with Microsoft Azure http://blog.hbi-inc.com/future-office-with-microsoft-azure/ http://blog.hbi-inc.com/future-office-with-microsoft-azure/#comments Mon, 16 Oct 2017 15:05:19 +0000 http://blog.hbi-inc.com/?p=17906 Continue reading ]]> Future Office with Microsoft AzureSteelcase introduces Workplace Advisor and Personal Assistant, built on the Microsoft Azure IoT platform, helping organizations harness big data to create better workplaces.

Steelcase Shapes Future Office with Microsoft Azure

Recently, at Microsoft Ignite in Orlando, Steelcase unveiled new ways to improve people’s experience at work in front of a crowd eager to learn about the future of technology. Earlier this year, Steelcase and Microsoft worked together to design Creative Spaces, an ecosystem of spaces created to boost creative work. Now, Steelcase is announcing news that represents the continued work it is doing with Microsoft to explore the future of work. The IoT solution, built on the Microsft Azure platform, will help organizations create workplaces that respond to the needs of people while optimizing real estate investments.

Steelcase revealed its new solution, Workplace Advisor, a sensor-based system that collects anonymous workplace data, with incredible accuracy. It deliver advanced analytics for real-time, 24-7 reporting, with enterprise-reliability and security. Steelcase also previewed a companion mobile app, Personal Assistant, which will access this data to give people more choice and control over where and how they work, and will encourage them to offer feedback about what spaces are effective and which ones need improvement.

New Tools for a New Work Place

Research conducted by Steelcase and Microsoft shows that work today has dramatically changed as organizations require more creative work to drive innovation and growth. Most workers—72 percent—believe their future success depends on their ability to be creative. Yet, 42 percent of employees do not think their office is a great place to do creative work, citing issues such as lack of privacy, conference rooms unequipped for collaboration and uninspiring environments. At the same time, up to 46 percent of office space may go unused at any time as people search for better places to do their work.

“Organizations and their employees know they need to work differently, yet most offices are stuck in the past. People say they can’t find the right places to work yet valuable real estate sits empty. There’s a lack of real-time data about what’s working in the office and what’s not,” said Jim Keane, CEO Steelcase. “Working with Microsoft we envisioned a digital transformation in which we cloud-enabled technology and big data help organizations serve the needs of human beings at work, and create workplaces that can respond quickly to the ways people are actually working. The technology also fosters a feedback loop in which employees can tell organizations what places are successful and why – they can vote with their feet and rate spaces on the app.”

On the Ignite state, Keane, and Sam George, director, Microsoft Azure IoT at Microsoft Corp., demonstrated how two new workplace technologies embedded in the workplace will augment the experience of employees and the organization.

Steelcase Workplace Advisor

Workplace Advisor is a cloud-enabled, space sensing network built on Microsoft Azure IoT that collects and analyzes anonymous data to provide organizations meaningful insights about how its people work and how its office is performing.

Steelcase Workplace Advisor001Steelcase Workplace Advisor empowers organizations to improve their workplace with easy-to-understand, actionable data accessible through an online dashboard.

Steelcase Workplace Advisor002

With the Workplace Advisor dashboard—timelines, charts and tables make it easy to see when spaces are being used, when they aren’t and for how long.

Steelcase Workplace Advisor003

Organizations can track the changes over different days and different rooms. Trends and patterns emerge, unique to each company. All of it is searchable.

Steelcase Workplace Advisor004

Steelcase applies a layer of intelligence to the data to help organizations create meaning and take action to improve their workplace.

The Workplace Advisor Dashboard enables leaders to:

  • Make better decisions about their workplace – 24/7 real-time, online reporting delivers metrics like overused vs. underutilized spaces and scheduled use vs. actual use with the ability to compare this data against historical trends. Workplace Advisor helps leaders gain insight into why spaces are more popular than others, by evaluating room amenities and sharing ratings.
  • Optimize use – Workplace Advisor senses and automatically cancels “no-show” room reservations, making more spaces available to more people.
  • Improve the experience people have at work – The technology presents comprehensive reporting that includes user reviews and advanced algorithms to help leaders identify issues and make recommendations for corrections in the workplace.

Get started now with easy-to-understand, actionable data that empowers organizations to measure the effectiveness of the workplace.

Accepting Orders

Steelcase Personal Assistant

Personal Assistant mobile app is expected to function as a workplace concierge to help workers quickly find the people and places they need. Powered by Microsoft Azure, the app accesses Workplace Advisor data, searching based on the size and type of meeting, amenities, tools and technologies needed. A map of each available space shows its schedule for the day and allows workers to find and reserve available spaces in real time then share the room location with others.

Steelcase Personal Assistant001

Steelcase Personal Assistant mobile app accesses Workplace Advisor data is expected help people quickly find the people and places they need.

Steelcase Personal Assistant002

Personal Assistant helps people quickly find an open room with the amenities, tools and technologies they need.

Steelcase Personal Assistant003

The Personal Assistant “shot clock” alerts people when their meeting is almost over and proactively checks if the room is still available in case more time is needed.

Steelcase Personal Assistant004

When a meeting is over, Personal Assistant allows employees to rate the room and evaluate things like technology, privacy, distractions and more.

Steelcase Personal Assistant005

Workers can quickly find colleagues by searching Personal Assistant to see if they are nearby.

The Personal Assistant app enables people to:

  • Find colleagues – Workers can quickly find colleagues by searching the app to see if they are nearby.
  • Find a room – The Personal Assistant app will help employees find an available room with the amenities, tools and technologies they need.
  • Rate and improve their experience at work – The Personal Assistant “shot clock” alerts workers when the meeting is nearing completion and proactively checks future availability in case additional time is needed. When the meeting is over, attendees can rate their experience in the room evaluating things like technology, privacy, distractions and more.

“Microsoft Azure IoT enables companies across all industries to drive digital transformation by addressing business problems in new ways, gain new insights through connected solutions and create greater efficiencies in business processes,” said Sam George, director, Microsoft Azure IoT at Microsoft Corp. “Today’s announcement with Steelcase is an example of cutting edge work in the smart spaces industry that brings together people, technology and place to increase productivity and employee satisfaction.”

For more information on Steelcase Workplace Advisor and Personal Assistant built on Microsoft Azure see Smart + Connected Spaces.

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