May 21, 2010
Check out the article in Fast Company by Ariel Schwartz on how Generation Y is driving changes in our worklives. According to Schwartz Gen Y is pushing for more sustainable offices and they also are demanding more flexible work lives including more options to work from home. The article springs from a fascinating report by Johnson Controls that explores what is needed to capture and keep younger workers.
Image: Readers Digest, Generation Y by Louise Waterson.
Balance, Design, Products, Technology, Trends
March 31, 2010
Piers Fawkes is the editor-in-chief and founder of PSFK, a trend forecasting company that throws a very broad net. Check out their site and you’ll find stories on everything from design (David Trubridge’s lighting) through to marketing (capturing young car buyers in the auto industry). Fawkes talks here about our work lives, cell phone apps, Cloud technology, telecommuting and his own work habits.
As a forecaster how do you see the future of work? Will more of us be working from home? Telecommuting seems to be here to stay but how will it grow? The opportunity to tele-commute or work separately has been around for a long time now but we still are living in cities and working in offices. Cities and offices and cafes are where ideas get created by people coming together and reacting to one another. That doesn’t happen too well when people are apart. Sure a few people can work well in the woods but I believe that the rest of us need the energy of gathering to foster our creativity.
Saying that, Cloud technology allows us to work on a speed and scale that we haven’t been able to before. Even simple tools like Google Docs allows us to work with people around the world immediately. PSFK tells its clients that we can do trends research and innovation in any market because with these web based tools we really can.
What’s an innovation that has changed the way we work today? What innovations do you see on the horizon that will change the way we work over the next decade? I think ambient lifestreaming will evolve and impact the workplace. Right now there’s an incredible amount of information about ourselves that we’re volunteering both consciously and subconsciously (and of course without our knowledge). We’re seeing a lot of services and applications that allow us to visualize this data and the next step is to use it. For example, I have an App on my phone that monitors my sleep through the microphone on my phone and gives me a nice visual (Owl) – but that’s as far as it takes it. You can imagine that a similar app could measure my stress at work. What these applications will soon do is give me options to share personal data with services like Google Health or my building to get medical advice or just the heating turned down.
You come across fascinating people in your work. Tell us about the most interesting person you’ve met this year. Everyone who is speaking at my event PSFK Conference NYC on April 9. I know of so many innovators but these really are the cream of the crop. (Click here for the full list of names).
PSFK started with your blog in 2004 where you collected ideas you found interesting. Can you tell us how PSFK has developed? PSFK.com is a daily ideas site. We publish up to 30 times a day on an array of subjects from art to business, from cars to tech. It was launched in June 2004. PSFK began as my personal project when I moved from London to New. My first collaborator was Simon King and I mixed his initials with mine to name the site. Over time the site became popular as more content was published on a wide array of subjects by contributors from around the world.
In the summer of 2005, PSFK was first commissioned to provide advice to Anheuser Busch about trends in Europe. Our consultancy business has since grown and recently we today we are working Apple, BMW, Pepsi and Target.
In March 2007 in New York, I started the first of a series of conferences to bring to life the conversations that were taking place on the site. Since then, PSFK Conferences have taken place in London, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco and Singapore. In late 2008, PSFK created the Good Ideas Salons as intimate forums around single topics. These salons are run by PSFK and friends across the globe.
Then in January 2009, PSFK launched the Purple List network of experts to help introduce corporations and creative service organizations to innovation and research freelancers. At the end of 2009, with growth in staff to 10 full time, we moved to a new office on Broome Street in SoHo.
Do you still find your work spilling over to your home? Where do you work when you work at home? Before the move to the office space in Soho we worked over at a loft space on Broadway. In 2006 I borrowed a desk at the ad agency ‘Anomaly’ while I was working on PSFK which then was just a project. Surrounded by creative and entrepreneurial spirit my business took off and we grew seat by seat until they ran out of seats. I work a lot from home. I start work between 6.30 and 7 at my dinner table and work through to about 10.30. It’s the time I do research. I don’t check email, I don’t take calls, I scan 1,100 RSS feeds for the latest news. I do get distracted occasionally and play with my son and daughter Cy and Georgeanna.
What are you reading? A few chapters into the Happiness Project. Checking into Box Bottle Bag a bit. Sort of half way through Linchpin. Completed PSFK’s Good Ideas for 2010 book.
Where do you see PSFK in 5 years? Educator, retailer, charity, events space, VC fund, bar.
Images: Catalina Kulczar-Marin