Check out how Herman Miller is making decisions about workplace design.
It’s not uncommon for organizations that are very serious about getting their next workplace right to hire a futurist to crystal-ball a solution. How could you blame them? Like so many of life’s big, expensive decisions, it’d be such a relief if someone would just tell us what to do.
The opposite approach – to make decisions based on established industry benchmarks – is even more common. But this only perpetuates the status quo. Does it really make sense to use yesterday’s metrics to create your “workplace of the future”?
Instead of declaring what the next big trend will be, or looking over our shoulder at benchmarks, at Herman Miller we instead turn to the company’s long history of research and systems thinking to help customers make evidence-based design decisions about their workplaces. For example, in his 1968 manifesto, The Office: A Facility Based on Change, Robert Propst pointed to a unique growth structure informed by “the total behavior of an organization, its goals, values, [and] people.” Decades of research and development since then have shown us that this can be best communicated in terms of people, process, and place.