Photo by Victor Stawicki

Creative worklife of tomorrow

In collaboration with Startup Everywhere, SPACE10 recently hosted a two day event exploring how we can reshape creative worklife for the better.

During the two days we invited 7 pioneers who are exploring new ways of working, on stage to share their stories and perspectives. Speakers included Reed Finlay, the Director of Product Development at WeWork, Irene Pereyra from the design duo Anton and Irene, Marcel Kampman of the Happy Places Project, Justin Gignac, founder of Working Not Working, Bruno Haid, founder of the startup Roam Co-Living, Måns Adler, who is Tech Director at ustwo and finally Carla Cammilla Hjort, director of SPACE10.

Check out the videos of the talks, the key takeaways and a few words to remember below to learn what comes after the cubicle, how to turn your work life into your life work, and the ingredients that go into happy spaces.

The first night started with some big questions: How will creative work take place in the future? Will we even go to work? Will offices die? And will robots take our jobs? Sissel Hansen from Startup Everywhere opened the evening by saying

“When we start talking about the future of work, it was this question mark. Because there’s no answers to it! What we have seen today is that there is no answer, there are tons of answers. I think that that is the essential thing of our life, even if we don’t have an answer, we have to investigate it and see it from different perspectives.”

Re-inventing the office

Reed Finlay from WeWork. Photo by Victor Stawicki

Reed Finlay, the Director of Product Development at WeWork, has a lot to say on workspaces — Wework is one of the top co-working spaces in the world, and was named one of the best and most innovative companies in 2015 by Fast Company. Watch below to learn how he works to create synergies within spaces that haven’t been seen before.

Key Takeaways:

  • Work space has undergone a transformation from a focus on worker efficiency, with workspaces shaped by the philosophies of Frederick Taylor based around people being monitored as in an assembly line, to mind-oriented workspaces focused on the minds of workers over the bottom line, shaped by the philosophies of Robert Probst.
  • With the rise of the tech industry in the 2000’s, an entirely new way of working is being created, pushing the ideas of proximity (do you need to be in an office to work?) and moving power from employers to employees. We are still figuring out what the new norm will be in workspaces.
  • Some future of work trends we will likely see are organizations allowing their workforce to set goals, more diverse, dynamic offices, and sustainable, healthier spaces.

Words to remember:

“Studies show unequivocally that you are more likely to be productive if you are happy”

What is work-life anyway?

Irene Pereyra. Photo by Victor Stawicki

Irene Pereyra is one half of the world-famous design duo Anton and Irene. Unlike many top design firms, Anton and Irene is most famous for the beautiful, personal project initiated by its two co-founders, rather than its client work. See Irene discuss 2 of these projects, “Misplaced” and “One Shared House”, and explain how she made the transition from more money to more satisfaction — work-life to life-work balance.

“Misplaced” is a photo series of perspective-corrected New York City landmarks, “misplaced” in entirely surreal (and sometimes post-apocolyptic looking) landscapes. This viral series skyrocketed Irene to an entirely different level of design fame — even in the niche world of the real-estate market.

“One Shared House” is an intensely personal documentary project about the lesbian commune Irene grew up in Amsterdam. This story is contextualized within the co-living revival that is happening all over the world right now, and serendipitously released as a political statement on what sort of values matter in how we work and life. The day before the planned launch, Irene was invited to work on Ivanka Trump’s “Women who work” project, and the release of the documentary became it’s own response:

Key takeaways:

  • “Don’t put crap in your portfolio, otherwise you will get clients who will ask for crap” is a motto that Irene lives by. This has allowed her to take on interesting clients and have more satisfying client projects.
  • Self-initiated work can have greater satisfaction than the highest paid client work, and even lead to more clients. For example, Anton and Irene created Olympic uniforms for Estonia on their own, which they were then hired to do for the 2016 olympics.
  • Step out of your comfort zone and into your “courage zone” — the best projects come from being uncomfortable and pushing yourself to do something you have never done before.

Words to remember:

“Kids on YouTube can explain absolutely everything, so you have no reason to not learn something if you don’t know how”

What is a happy place?

To explore the question about what kind of spaces make us happy, we invited the person who knows best: Marcel Kampman of the Happy Places Project. In his talk he tells a story about leaving a job. In his exit interview, an HR worker asked him why he was leaving. They wanted to know, what was wrong with the office? Was it the chairs?

But when you dig down, he says, of course it’s not the chairs. People don’t like their office for all sorts of reasons, like “their colleagues breath, the temperature, relationships problems they bring to their day jobs…and also the chairs.”

He sought to explore how to find more potential in people, through utilising space. So he interviewed hundreds of people about what made a happy place. Hear much more about that in his talk below:

Key takeaways:

  • Exploring space will never really be about space. His conversations have sparked long discussions on ecology, psychology, and even astrophysics.
  • By extension, everyone has as different philosophy about what makes a good space. Business guru Tim Leberecth is concerned with making “brave spaces” that force people out of their comfort zones, while futurist Ben Hammersly is interested in “attention space” where people are most focused.
  • To create a space where people are really mentally happy, they must physically be contributing to the feeling themselves.

Words to remember:

“Spaces should support us in being the people we want to be”

How can we work together to make better spaces?

Justin Gignac, Working Not Working. Photo by Victor Stawicki

The night ended in a panel debate between all the speakers and SPACE10’s Director Carla Cammilla Hjort, facilitated by Justin Gignac of Working Not Working, setting the stage for Day 2 of the program. Hear the panelists discuss everything from the best way spaces should serve freelancers, how to curate lots of different spaces like WeWork while still maintaining an a balance with people’s needs, and the proper lighting for a good workspace:

Key takeaways:

  • In the future there will be all sorts of opportunities to connect with other people and share and curate space, and the ideas of how much privacy we seek will change
  • Don’t glorify work environments like Google — they are traps to make you never leave work
  • Spaces can be an important way to challenge yourself to think about the world in a new way, so you don’t get stuck doing the obvious, comfortable thing all the time.

What Works? day 2

Day 2 of the program focused on how digital culture is changing the way we work, and turning your passion into your work.

Rethinking real estate

Bruno Haid from Roam Co-Living. Photo by Victor Stawicki

Bruno Haid of the startup Roam Co-Living wants to completely rethink housing from the ground up. Roam is a global community of co-living and working spaces, where members pay a single lease to live and work around the world. Bruno begins by explaining the cultural context of living spaces, starting with the Bauhaus movement pushing towards individual homes, which lead to the suburbia of the baby boomer generation, to these ways of living quickly losing their relevance for the new generations. Here he take us through that and talks about the need for a pivotal point of rethinking housing fundamentally:

Key takeaways:

  • Future living will be more communal and more transient, and we will begin to express our identities in a new way. People are now less interested in the coffee table books on our coffee tables, but in the travel stories behind how we got them.
  • The idea of privacy will change. People may still want private bedrooms and bathrooms, but be happy to share a large, beautiful communal kitchen and garden.
  • The rise of peak inequality is a temporary phenomenon that is not sustainable. Future living will be a balance of not just cheaper apartments, but better, shared experiences, as people begin to share resources step by step.

Words to remember:

“It is a public health question. If you look at meta studies, what the countries of the longest-living people have in common is socialisation.”

The new digital culture

Måns Adler, Tech Director at Ustwo. Photo by Victor Stawicki

Måns Adler, Tech Director at ustwo, dives into how the structures and the ways we operate around efficiency in work no longer apply anymore, and therefore the classical sense of an organisation that is taught in schools is not relevant to the current workforce. Hear him talk about it and the different ways digital culture is changing our culture at large, not just in how we work but how we live

Key takeaways:

  • Trust people more — 99% of the time, if you let go to other people, they will give you back something nice. He emphasised this by having the audience unlock their phones and swap them with the person next to them, which lead to many funny pictures.
  • It is important to give tough love to our friends and not play “The Consideration Game” — that is, not telling the real truth to someone because, “their grandpa’s sister’s cat died”. Ultimately, playing these games is actually not very friendly.
  • Do not take yourself too seriously. Within organisations, there is a huge tendency to think you are something special. He says that if he was starting a company again in 2017, he would focus less on making everything perfect and more on letting things happen by themselves.

Words to remember:

“At the end of the day, if you will spend most of your life working, it better be a great place to work!”

Making your passion your job

Carla Cammilla Hjort, Director of SPACE10. Photo by Victor Stawicki

Carla Cammilla Hjort, director of SPACE10, gives an inspirational talk on finding your passion. She tells a personal story about how she found her own work-life balance through rebelliousness, drugs, meditation, travelling, and finding her own truth, and how she was able to turn her passion into her job, and help others do the same. Carla founded a number of companies to help empower other people in this way, including ArtRebels, Trailerpark Festival, and SPACE10, whose goal is to enable a better, more meaningful and sustainable life for the many people. Watch below to get inspired to find your own passion:

Key takeaways:

  • What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Carla realised that the dreams her parents were passionate about for her were not her own dreams, and that she had to become a rebel and do some hard living to realise her full potential.
  • Co-living communities can be the most empowering spaces of all, as they can help turn your “me” journey into a “we” journey.
  • If I had to go to work every day feeling that you are not yourself, and that you can only be yourself at home, it is time for a change. Make sure to check in with yourself and ask if it’s time to move on.

Words to remember:

“We will someday face death and then we might be scared to die because we forgot to live.”
Vibes from What Works? Photos by Victor Stawicki
“Build your own bot” lab by Sure Bot. Photos by Victor Stawicki

In the spirit of the emerging future of creative work — 7 satellite events also took place simultaneously in 7 other cities: Berlin, Budapest, Blumenau i Brazil, Hong Kong, London, Lisbon and Tokyo.

We would like to thank all of you who joined us here at SPACE10 in Copenhagen, those who tuned into our live stream or joined our satellite events in Berlin, Hong Kong, Lisbon, Budapest, Tokyo, London and Blumenau, our co-host Startup Everywhere, the hosts of our labs Coworkies and Sure and our amazing speakers Reed Finlay (WeWork), Irene Pereyra (Anton & Irene), Marcel Kampman (Happykamping), Justin Gignac (Working Not Working), Bruno Haid(Roam Co-Living) and Måns Adler(ustwo™) and Carla Cammilla Hjort(SPACE10).

Words by Lisa Mallner


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