Public Private (work)Space Enclosure Culture Stuff #workplaceblogs

I was loitering around MORE London the other day and was struck by the contrast in foyer space between Ernst & Young and pwc.  (Btw yes pwc is PricewaterhouseCoopers ie PwC but their new logo doesn't reflect the idiosyncratic capitalisation that we know and love them for.  I do hope it's not on the way out, it seems to be alive and well in copy across their site) 

Anyway, this is what I saw (they're only short…):

and

oh and then I went round the corner and shot this of the "front" of pwc:

Now I should point out that what I was doing here is very very naughty indeed.  MORE London is private property and both loitering and photography are among many things that are severely frowned upon.  However, I'm a wild-eyed rebel at heart (as y'know) and I just don't care!

The first one is Ernst & Young – it's too short really to get a feel, but basically it looks more like a media company with big screens pouring INFORMATION out all over you as you sit in reception waiting to see your tax accountant.

Over the street, is pwc.  

Well it's not really a street is it? It's a private paved thoroughfare leading from Tooley Street to City Hall. The mayor's testicle is at one end, so what does that make The Shard?  Oh and it has a little miniaturised (and highly sanitised) open sewer running along the middle of it to remind you of the history of the Thames.  Now I think about it though, I think the water's running away from the river, I'll have to go back and check, but that would be no good, a sewer that ran *into* the populated areas? yikes!

Anyway, back to the offices.  When I've walked past before now, I didn't realise that the downstairs bit of pwc was corporate space at all, it's just rows of sofas like you might find in a hotel lobby.   The slightly brighter though warm lighting is the clue though.  This isn't a place to slop and read a book or have a quiet cup of tea, it's a place where Work goes on, just the gentler, cosier, friendlier Work than the bright bright white-light WORK that goes on in the little rooms on the first floor just above.  

What's going on here? Is the firm saying "Look at us, we know how to work hard and work soft!" "We're not grey heartless accountants, we can kick back and relax on comfy chairs with the best of them – and we're not afraid of you seeing that, in fact we're going to make it the first thing you see when you get out of your cab and walk round to see us." "But don't worry, we do work really really hard, we do serious stuff, wearing suits, with whiteboards and flipcharts and everything, upstairs".  Or what?

And what does it feel like to work in a place like this?  What's it like to have meetings in these areas?  What's it like to talk?  Is it always this empty (this was just before 5.30 on a Thursday so I guess most "meeting" work would be over by then, everyone's back at their desk e-mailing madly before the pub).

Overall, I'm interested in whether the inspiration for this comes from "new ways of working" thinking or "new ways of marketing" – is it about the staff or the image?  I'm coming down on the side of it being a shop window, but if so, what are they really selling?

Oh and can someone please find me some Evil Empire music to go with the last clip (probably with some crows cawing, maidens screaming and maniacal evil laughter in the background)

Originally posted on Lloyd’s posterous

James Burke’s Connections – the 1970s @ProfBrianCox #allofme

I showed this clip at the beginning of my recent show/talk at Hub Westminster.  I've since watched this episode all the way through, it still thrills me.  Is this what watching @ProfBrianCox does for people these days?  I hope so. 

There's a few things to say about it.

1.  I love the subtitle: "An alternative view of change"  That was one of the things that grabbed me as a pre-teen watching on TV: "You can have a view of change? You mean you think about it, turn it over, make a whole TV programme about it, spend your life talking about how things change?  Wow!" 

2. It's chilling that the first sequence takes place at the base of the WTC and then a lift that goes all the way to the top.  He talks about exactly the trap that people found themselves in on 9/11.  Conspiracy theorists of course love the fact that he further illustrates the story with SAS Flight 911.

3.  The assumptions he makes about what's in the room around you – you must be watching this on a TV right? You have a phone in the room?  Well probably, but the phone(s) I have in the room are not the phone he was talking about.r

4. When this episode ended, you had to wait for a week for the next one, and you'd have to make sure you were at home to see it and that you remembered it was on, there was no catch-up or iPlayer, certainly no realtime pause and rewind, no way you could watch it on any other device than the television in your living room right there and then.  I'm pretty sure we didn't have a VCR at that point so couldn't rewind and watch it again later that evening. 

5. This stuff really should be available to people freely and in high-quality, nrot in 10 minute lo-fi chunks.  And we should be talking about it and what it means and what we might do differently, and the extent to which the changes of the last 25-30 years have vindicated this "alternative view of change" 

Originally posted on Lloyd’s posterous

Archive Film as Social Object

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I got a bit overexcited last week when Sarah from Time/Image showed me a whole new bunch of British Council films that have been digitised from the archive.  I love them.  I'm still as excited seeing new ones as I was when Al and I looked through the archive in the first place.

This batch is not ready to go online yet, but lots will be, soon, I'm promised, there's going to be an official launch thingy and everything.  However, I've been threatening to take some of these out on the road for a while to  show to people offline, in someone's front room, or a church hall or something.  In particular I'm keen to take movies back and show them in the communities in which they were filmed.  And while they'll be up on YouTube and everyone will be able to watch them on their own, I'd really like to see how they play to  a larger audience, especially when that audience is encouraged to talk about the films together afterwards.

So I wrote a list of what I want to do in showing these films and it came out like this:
  • reconnect people with something they've lost;
  • get people involved in documenting them;
  • share my addiction, get people as excited about seeing and sharing the films as I am;
  • get people thinking about what they have now, what they keep, what they digitise;
  • get people thinking a out what culture means and how copyright works or doesn't work for us
which is a lot more than I thought there was when I started writing the list, it seems quite worthwhile…

Take a look at the Time/Image Wiki to see the range of films in the archive and find links to those that are already online.  Have a look.  Let me know if you're up for a guerilla screening where you live.

Photo Credit: Still from 'London 1942' – Taken from 'Films of Britain 1946'

Originally posted on Lloyd’s posterous

There now follows a promotional message on behalf of @lloyddavis

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I’ve had it with hibernation, even though snow arrived in London this weekend, it’s time for me to start moving and grooving again – Let’s do some work together! :)

I learned something really important in the last six months of last year: I’m really, really happy with this lifestyle – I like being in London, I like having a base here, but I also really like moving around the country a lot.  I also love working with people on what they’re doing.  Whether that’s facilitating large groups of people to get things done, or helping a smaller group to have interesting conversations (both of which I did at the recent UK GovCamp) or working with individuals one-to-one on what it is that they really want to do and supporting them in getting to do it, it’s the being there that is when I can be most valuable.

I’ve also really enjoyed performing.  I’ve done street busking again for the first time in a few years and I devised a show around last year’s American trip which I’ve done five or six times now.  I’ve got a new show that I’m trying out tomorrow night.

So that’s what I’d like to keep doing please, just with more cashflow associated with it :)

Give me a shout if you’d like my help with any of the following:

Facilitation for an unconference – I’m a very confident and competent holder of Open Space type events. According to Dave Briggs who hired me for GovCamp, I’m “a legend, a master facilitator and the most calming influence ever.

I can do more structured and pre-planned stuff too, but I’m happiest working with people to create their own agenda on the day and help them do the amazing stuff that self-organising allows.  Maybe you should rethink one of the days of your upcoming team awayday?

One-to-one work – coaching, mentoring, business strategy, critical friendliness whatever you want to call it, I will spend a few hours with you regularly to help you get done what you need to do.  It’s not classic business coaching, we won’t create a rigid structure of visions, aims and goals and mechanical tasks to achieve them (I’ve seen that end in tears, including my own, too often) – I treat you as a human being and a peer and make gentle suggestions. Mike Oh of TechSuperPowers recently saidYesterday, @lloyddavis helped me find the secret sauce for creating a ‘startup culture’ in my 20 year old company. Excellent session.

I’d also like to try out “Human Scale Conversations” with some teams or groups within organisations.  It’s a development of this idea from a while back.  Again at GovCamp, Catherine Howe said…I got a huge amount from his Human Scale conversation” and Martin Howitt said that the session “…challenged me in a completely unexpected way” and Philip McAllister stayed all day: “Thank you, that was enjoyable. It felt like a bold experiment and was really enriching.”  I think it’s most useful to people who spend their professional time trying to get others to talk to each other, or more generally people who’d like to improve their experience of being in meetings at work.

If you’d like me to come along and do a gig at your home or a local community venue, I’d love to talk to you about it, whether it’s straight ukulele and singing, “Please Look After This Englishman” or “All of Me

I’m very happy to travel anywhere you need me as long as we can agree a fee and expenses. I’m not being as hardcore as before – I love staying with people I’m working with, but I’m happy to accept accommodation expenses if putting me up in someone’s home is too tricky.

PS this is not to say that I’m not open to anything else that you might have in mind for me, if you know what you want, talk to me.  If you don’t know what you want but think it might involve some “lloydness” talk to me. Just talk to me, I don’t growl or bite (if you call between the hours of 10am and 4pm).

Photo Credit: #ashroplad on Flickr

Originally posted on Lloyd’s posterous