During my delightful two days visiting with Haworth (office furniture/systems designers and manufacturers) I kept asking myself what it was that was making me so impressed: Was it the beauty of their headquarters building?  Was it that I was working with people who believe inevidence-based design and management?  Was it that I could try a different work station every time I crossed the building?  I finally hit on this as I was looking at the conference room in this picture: it was the combination of thoughtful efficiency and playfulness that I saw in each workspace. My two questions focus are related to this efficiency and playfulness. First, what technology do you see in the conference room? [caption id="attachment_3785" align="aligncenter" width="320" caption="Conference Room @ 1 Haworth Center"][/caption]

If you answered large presentation screen and/or video conferencing you’re partially right.  Technology certainly includes computer-based tools, but it also includes the table, the chairs, the whiteboards ringing the walls, the lighting, and even the glass walls.  Yes, these are all “tools of our trade” when it comes to meetings and work, and thus, technology to be considered as we think about managing across technology, organizational practice, and people (systems savvy). We can even take it a level deeper given this is a Haworth conference room.  Second question: How many writing surfaces do you see?  In this room, I count four different types of writing surfaces: You can write on the table, you can obviously write on the permanent and the portable whiteboards (and look how many there are), but you can also write on the glass walls.  Though not true about the table in this picture, some of their other table designs flip-up vertically for storage --- and then also serve as instant white boards.  You can write on the table as you’re talking to the people seated with you, then flip-up the table to show others your work. Think about the last time you walked into a conference room.  Did you pause for a moment to think about how best make use of the technology (all of it), your organizational practice, and the particular people involved? Did you check to see if you could write on the walls? I know I’ll be taking a different look than I did before this trip. ..and here’s to never mistaking a permanent marker for a dry erase.... (though rumor has that rubbing alcohol can come to your rescue).