Thursday, February 8, 2007

Inventing the Outdoor Office

Imagine a world where "going to the office" meant meeting at a pavilion in a park. Tomorrow it might be at the bowling alley or if you are having a more formal event, the nearest Rent-an-Office-for-a-day. You and your coworkers get your business done while playing soccer and hanging out in the grass. You are more productive than ever thanks to the wireless networks and information technology you use. But you are also healthier, you get the fresh air, the flexibility and the free time that keeps your mind agile. You look back with disgust on the olden days of sitting for hours at a computer screen. Now you compose documents by voice while software transcribes them and sends them to the company network. You meet with coworkers in person or by mobile devices.

The modern work environment, I think, is stifling and still a throwback to the industrial era office. Places like Google are becoming famous for their flexible and light-filled workplaces. How can we take the next step and design a workplace that can be anywhere workers decide to assemble?

This can be a reality, but we'll need to figure out how to do it.

I found MIT's Digital Life . The research that seems most exciting (and least like builiding super computer-brains to rule the future robotocracy ) is the website for "Lifelong Kindergarten" .

Their stated goal is "a world full of playfully creative people, who are constantly inventing new possibilities for themselves and their communities." That seems like a project I could get behind.

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