As 2012 comes to a close, we’d like to thank everyone for making our yearlong anniversary celebration special.
As 2012 comes to a close, we’d like to thank everyone for making our yearlong anniversary celebration special.
The New York Stock Exchange rings its ceremonial bell twice a day more than 250 days a year. Today’s opening bell was extra special for us as our President and Chief Executive Office, Jim Hackett, along with the finance team from Steelcase, took to the podium overlooking the trading floor. The visit marked another special milestone in our yearlong celebration of our company’s centennial anniversary.
What’s inspiring about looking to the future is the sense of endless possibilities. Fortunately, there are many people – including those in our hometown of Grand Rapids – who are looking to make their ideas a reality in the very near future. Steelcase, and its Turnstone brand, have strong relationships with startups in West Michigan and helped us facilitate a relationship with one in particular – Start Garden. Start Garden is a venture capital fund seeking to propel business ideas from creative people in the area. Steelcase has partnered with the organization and some of our employees will serve as mentors for Start Garden-funded projects and provide access to Steelcase’s deep knowledge about work.
Recently, Start Garden opened its new “clubhouse” in downtown Grand Rapids. The workspace is furnished with Turnstone and Steelcase products to help Start Garden employees, as well as its start-up partners, work effectively in the space. At the grand opening, our CEO Jim Hackett joined Start Garden founder Rick DeVos for a conversation about work in Michigan. He spoke candidly about how workspace can influence innovation and noted that it is important for communities to have spaces like this clubhouse where locals can gather together to collaborate on projects around a common interest.
As we look to our company’s next 100 years, we feel inspired by new companies that are just getting off the ground and working diligently to bring new ideas to life.
“One day,” says Cassidy, a 10-year old from Capetown, South Africa, “I’m going to get my medical degree and I’m going to be a doctor. I’m going to have a talking computer that will speak all the languages…it will tell you what kind of sickness you have, what kind of medicine you need.”
When we first meet Cassidy, she is eating breakfast with her parents and excitedly twirling her butter knife as she speaks. It’s not hard to imagine a world where computers aid in the diagnosis and treatment of the ill, but there is still room for amazing growth. Cassidy is one of a handful of several children we meet in the film One Day, developed this year as part of our 100 year anniversary and in collaboration with Genesis Inc. and directed by Academy Award winning filmmaker Daniel Junge.
Cassidy takes us on a journey through Cape Town from the city just outside her front door, to her classroom, and even to the expansive ocean that stretches off in the distance. There, she shares her feelings about her home: “The first heart transplant was in Cape Town. It makes me feel very proud of my country. Innovation usually comes from overseas, but I hope in the future it will come from Africa.”
Luis Tomatis, 100 Minds Contributor, thinks the next generation of innovations may be closer than we think. “Most of the present remarkable machines,” Tomatis predicts,”…will become obsolete and, as in the Stars Wars movies, be replaced by equipment that will determine, in one non-invasive pass, the health status of each organ.”
Cassidy’s dream of a “magical medicine machine” may be more realistic than the crayon drawings that bring it to life in One Day. “The world is very big and with lots of people,” Cassidy says.
Who can say where the next great advancement in medical technology will come from? In the next 100 years, we may be pleasantly surprised by these sources of new, innovative thinking.
This is a special guest post from Sara Armbruster, Vice President of WorkSpace Futures and Corporate Strategy for Steelcase Inc.
In the past century, the workplace evolved from rows of desks in a single room to innovative solutions for collaborating across the digital space. As early as 2000, Steelcase researchers predicted that by 2020, we would see the rise in popularity of team spaces, the evolution of the mobile worker, and the need for a community center that connects people to information and technology. Twelve years later, we’ve already seen many of these things come to be a normal feature of everyday work.
In order to remain competitive and relevant, companies must be deft at collecting these insights and evolving with the changing world. Based on our research, we believe that in the future, the office will adapt to our preferences and will help us unlock our unique potential and what we can contribute through work.
Our expectations for the next 100 years will undoubtedly evolve, though there are themes we see emerging:
· Be self-sensing – the spaces you inhabit will know who you are and adapt to your needs based on preferences and patterns
· Make us smarter – the physical environment will collect data that informs and augments our decision-making; this role of physical space will be essential as jobs increasingly demand creativity and critical thinking
· Be more human – The office will respond to a diverse range of physical, gestural, voice, or other natural interfaces; interfaces will be less machine-based and more human
· Keep us more comfortable – The office will support a wide range of postures and settings, allowing us to be comfortable for longer lengths of time as the lines between work and life become less distinct
These advancements will influence not only the world of work as we know it, but also the work experience that the next generation of the workforce will inherit. Our hope is to foster in Steelcase’s next century a generation of workers who are more engaged, better supported, and better prepared for finding innovative solutions than ever before.
Steelcase 100th Anniversary BBQ at our Global Headquarters in Grand Rapids, MI
Jesus, whom we meet in the documentary One Day, said these words as he sat and looked out over the crowded urban landscape of Mexico City. From a rooftop, and scribbling in his notebook with childlike earnest, he let his imagination soar. The film, developed this year as part of our 100 year anniversary celebration in collaboration with Genesis Inc. and directed by Academy Award winning filmmaker Daniel Junge, opens meaningfully with a quote from Pablo Picasso:
“It took me four years to paint like Raphael and my whole life to paint like a child.”
That feeling of returning to a more impressionable and expansive time in our lives is present as the film follows six children and their dream about the future. When we meet Jesus, one of those six children, he is both ambitious and realistic. “I’d like to somehow leave my mark on the world,” he says. “It takes a lot of effort and work, but if I set a goal maybe I can do it.”
In Jesus’ classroom, we see the focus of his eyes as he illustrates his dream: Flying buildings, floating tables, and a way to overcome gravity. We see his crayon-colored vision come alive as he walks past the developing buildings of Mexico City. In an office building, he swivels curiously in his chair as his father works in the foreground.
“I used to think creativity came from lazy people,” he says. “But I realize it’s not lazy people who invent everything because if they’re too lazy to cut wood then they’d be too lazy to bang their heads against a desk inventing a machine to do it.”
Dale Chihuly, 100 Minds contributor, would agree. His own dream for the future is for “…people [to] enjoy and work with the light and color the world has to offer.” In Chihuly’s vision, the creative work that awaits Jesus’ young generation won’t be so arduous. In fact, it will be a joy to work in an environment that unlocks their potential.
Jesus’ attitude is down to earth, mature, and curious. He has a mix of child-like wiliness to dream and a budding sense of real world wisdom. His part of the One Day film not only gives off an impression of playfulness, but also a great sense of purpose.
We encourage you to view the film it in its entirety and add your dream for the future to our Facebook page.
I am struck by how much of the children’s dream art seems to illustrate some of the 100 mind contributor ideas. I played a game and chose an adult dream to read and explore and then chose some child images from the 100 dreams. They complimented each other in strange and wonderful ways, as though there is a collective dream language that connects one dream to another in an ongoing mission of change.
Take these three pairs and the common themes of each:
Victoria Redshaw, Managing Director of Scarlet Opus in Yorkshire, United Kingdom says as part of her dream for the future, “We print our food, products and clothing at home. Robots undertake all physical work to allow us time for Free Thinking and Play.”
Put that against the artwork and dream of Sun Hao in Shanghai, China, who states, “What I painted is a food machine. Only put some coins in the hole and the food will come out. Also, there is a free napkin below. The machine is very convenient.”
Artist Dale Chihuly, Seattle, USA, says in his dream, “The idea of taking these huge blocks of crystal from Alaska halfway around the world to Israel was a dream, an idea, and I went for it. It is up to all of us to embrace the crazy ideas we have and make the future bright. In the future, I hope people will enjoy and work with the light and color the world has to offer; go out on a limb and turn dreams and ideas into reality.”
After reading the dream of Teo in Madrid, Spain and viewing his artwork, we hope he will take Chihuly’s advice and turn his dreams into reality. Teo says, In the future there will be magic portals where we can be transported to other worlds, cars and motorbikes will be able to fly, and there will be special schools where the children will learn to be superheroes and have super powers. I will work at Steelcase and in order to arrive on time at the office, I will have special sport shoes to go faster… By the way, I will design the future Real Madrid official shirt.”
Cassandra Treadwell, the Founder and Executive Director of So They Can in Wellington, New Zealand, dreams of a world without poverty. “We dream of a world where children are raised as global citizens and people are not dying from hunger as people are socially aware and emotionally concerned for the welfare of others.”
Maybe Adel in Selangor, Malaysia will help Cassandra achieve her dream. Along with his artwork, Adel says, “I also want a big and modern hospital so I can treat the people with low pay.”
From this generation of great thinkers to next generation’s great thinkers; which dreams do you resonate with?
This is the concept our sub-division, PolyVision, is talking about as it relates to the classroom environment. Recently at the ISTE conference in San Diego, one of our 100 Mind contributors, Raghava KK, addressed the crowd on behalf of PolyVision about this topic and the five things he thinks we need to “unlearn” in order to better prepare today’s students to be tomorrow’s leaders. We’d like to share a brief overview of his thoughts.
1. Educators don’t matter. Of course we need teachers, but educators should think of themselves not as lecturers, but vessels of experience for the kids to tap into. Education is about participating; it is not a hierarchical experience from top to bottom.
2. Passion will emerge. Don’t mess with it. When a student expresses a passion for art, music, math, etc., avoid the desire to direct or overindulge that individual. The best passion will find its way out on its own.
3. Hire sexy teachers. The most influential teachers are often the most charismatic and passionate. What administrators look for in a teacher is often very different than what students look for in a teacher. Don’t only evaluate the resumes. Think of education as a business where teachers are the salespeople.
4. A good education does not secure one’s future life. It actually prepares you for insecurity in your life. It gives you the ability to try your hand at many different roles in, often, many different industries.
5. Sometimes quantity is more important than quality. Not everyone is naturally a great artist or mathematician. It takes hours of practice and repetition to develop the skill. The process itself is important.
In what ways do you think we can better prepare today’s children to ensure they will make positive contributions to society when – or before – they reach adulthood?
We are proud to share this video as evidence of yet another creatively unique, employee-led anniversary celebration. It is called 100 Voices and was recorded with employees from our Strasbourg WorkLab. It’s a beautiful combination of voices, beat box and drums; showing the immense power of collaboration and the human spirit. Enjoy!
Throughout our company history, Steelcase has been committed to understanding human behavior. We then apply those insights into the products and solutions we offer to help humans have better experiences at work. In recent years, this research has taken us from the furniture industry into the technology space. At NeoCon this year, we sought to explore, and soften, some of the barriers for one the most prominent components for offices of the future: video. Today, people are living on video – at work and in their personal lives – though frustrations arise related to privacy, poor sound and video quality, appearance anxiety and more. This doesn’t have to be so. With solutions to these barriers in mind, we debuted some new concepts to help improve the experience of videoconferencing.
Our goal with these concept products is to create an accommodating setting that enables current technology to catch up with increasingly common trends in mobile working and collaboration. Video conferencing should be as clear and authentic as a face to face conversation. It should be as easy as picking up a phone. It should be as seamless and fluid as tapping a colleague on the shoulder.
Our concept products aim to achieve these dreams and shorten these distances. They’ll provide space that creates privacy for video calls inside an open office, and space that optimizes light and sound. Even as technological advancements become more widespread, concepts like those we unveiled at NeoCon serve to fill in the gaps along the way.
Collaboration isn’t tied to shared space – it begins at the cultural level. People, groups and corporations are what enable it to expand outward and evolve with each new mind it touches. In the future, it is our hope that this positive trend continues. Our demonstration at NeoCon also marks a new milestone for us at Steelcase – incorporating technology that was made in-house, and more than just furniture.
In life, the only constant is change. Just as we at Steelcase have worked hard to adapt to the changing world of work and respond with forward-looking solutions that will help our clients, our educational technology arm PolyVision is actively looking to tailor tools to support the classroom of the future.
This week, PolyVision is exhibiting at the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) Annual Conference in San Diego. There, the team is encouraging educators, administrators and technologists to “unlearn” any preconceived notions about what a classroom should be and think about what a classroom could be. As part of this demonstration, the PolyVision booth features an Unlearning Dream Wall where participants can bring their visions to life through animation on its interactive whiteboard, known as eno®. Additionally, conference attendees can experience the future of collaborative learning at one of the media:scape stations where multiple devices can easily display content on a single or double screen.
The One Day film, which was created to commemorate the anniversary celebration this year, asked young people to share their thoughts and vision for the future. This week at ISTE, Chloe Whygum, a now 12-year-old from Denver who appeared in the documentary, shared her perspective on the future of education. She emphasized the desire she and her fellow students have for more engaging and colorful content, whether it be through video, audio or other multimedia content.
As you think back to your classroom experience as a child, what elements stuck with you the most? In what ways would you like to see the classroom of the future evolve as the next generation of business leaders learns the fundamentals?
Just as the 100-year history of our company has been about gaining insights and innovating to help people do their best work in an ever-changing world, our centennial is focused on the future: possibilities visible on the edges of today and laying groundwork for the century ahead.
As a special event in our year-long celebration, you’re invited to join us for a live conversation about the world of work today and dreams for the future hosted by Dov Seidman (@DovSeidman), CEO of LRN and author of HOW: Why How We Do Anything Means Everything who has been recognized as a “Top 60 Global Thinkers of the Last Decade” by The Economic Times and recently named “the hottest advisor on the corporate virtue circuit” by Fortune Magazine.
This special event will occur on Tuesday, June 5, at 3 p.m. ET.
How are our relationships to our environments and each other changing? What’s the real impact of new technologies and globalization? How can businesses create sustainable value in the world ahead? How can we connect with each other and collaborate to bring about a better future? These questions and more will be the focus of what’s sure to be a lively discussion with Dov that you won’t want to miss. To participate, follow the hashtags #Steelcase100 and #100Dreams .
A few lucky participants will win an autographed copy of Dov’s book HOW . Winners will be selected randomly. We hope you’ll join us!
Throughout our 100th anniversary year, we are encouraging people everywhere to share their dreams for the future – including young dreamers among us. Our “100 Dreams, 100 Minds, 100 Years” anniversary project began by asking schoolchildren in six different countries around the world to share their dreams for the future by creating artwork and writing about it. The results can be enjoyed by viewing a documentary film called “One Day”.
More than a few years ago, I started my career as a high school English teacher and my passion for students to have educational experiences that will broaden their thinking has never waned. At Steelcase, we believe in the power of learning and insights that it can uncover.
I hope you’ve taken the time to watch the film… and now that you have, you’re probably thinking – I know some brilliant young dreamers, how can we participate? Great news, to make it easy for children everywhere to share their dreams, we’ve created a “100 Dreams Classroom Guide.” Inside the guide, you’ll find complete instructions for a simple project that can help children envision the future — how the world can change and what they hope to accomplish as adults. The guide also provides several options for sharing the children’s work, including uploading it to Steelcase’s anniversary Facebook page.
We designed the guide for teachers to use in their classrooms, but it can just as easily be used by a parent or any other adult who wants to encourage and capture the dreams of a child. We hope you’ll find the guide useful. We encourage you to use it, and please tell teachers you know and your friends about it, too. Our celebration will be continuing all year long so we’d be happy to hear from 2012-2013 classes as well.
Each child’s dream can give insight into his or her promise as a person and what the next generation might accomplish by working together. Thank you for helping a child share a dream, and please also consider sharing your own dreams on our Facebook page. We’d love to hear from you.
Guest post written by Steelcase, Chief Administrative Officer, Nancy Hickey
A lot has changed during the 100 years our company has been in business. People have always been at the center, though, and personal memories have a unique way of showing who we are collectively.
That’s why we’re inviting everyone who’s connected to our company in any way to help us create a human record of our company’s heritage. Current and former employees and your families, retirees, dealers, designers, customers, suppliers, partners, community neighbors — everyone is invited to participate.
Whether your story is heroic or hilarious, a small event or an important turning point, about a person, place or thing – please share a memory that’s unforgettable for you. It’s easy to do at heritage.steelcase.com. Submit your story in writing, or upload an audio or video file. You’ll just need to login first. If you don’t have a Steelcase network login, use your email address to register.
No login or registration is needed to browse stories we’ve already posted. Enjoy the experience of reliving history through these great Steelcase stories. And get inspired to submit your own!
“I have to go to work now.”
For many of us, that’s a common phrase. We say it routinely, without realizing that the words “have to” cast a shadow on what is in reality a prized part of most of our lives. Particularly for knowledge workers; work is an opportunity to bring out the best in ourselves and others, to uncover our deepest aspirations, to unlock the promise that exists within each of us, to turn ideas into reality, to ultimately move the world forward.
When we asked people of many ages, enterprises and geographies to help commemorate our centennial by imagining the future, work is implicit in most of their dreams as an essential, abiding component of a meaningful life. Susan Szenasy, for example, expresses the vision of a future in which “work and life have come to be valued as a holistic understanding of what it means to be creatures that value connectivity, accomplishment, creativity, and beauty.”
Like Susan, many dreamers expressed the belief that the work is here to stay, but the work of tomorrow can be more fulfilling than the work of today. “I see a peaceful, powerful transformation of how we work and play, educate and amuse. Empowerment of the individual. The sharing of dreams and beliefs, knowledge and creations,” says Donald A. Norman.
Which is not to say dreamers believe work will or should ever become effortless. Ten-year-old Chloe in Denver, USA, has already reached an important realization: “What would life be without challenges? That just wouldn’t be any fun.”
A hemisphere away and several generations removed from young Chloe, Abdulrahman Al-Jeraisy in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, shares a similar insight gleaned from a long life and career: “We come to understand there is a struggle in every dream.”
Work is changing rapidly due to advances in technology and globalization, and there has never been a time when insight and innovation were more in demand. At Steelcase, our focus is studying work, workers and workplaces, understanding evolving patterns, and leading with solutions that can effectively stage the drama of unprecedented accomplishment that’s fast unfolding in our ever-more connected world.
There’s a lot to be done. Let’s go to work!
Although it doesn’t happen as often as I wish, I love being immersed in a single topic. I am in Denver attending the ASTD (American Society for Training and Development) International Conference and Expo. There are approximately 9,000 attendees — over 30% of them are from outside North America – and hundreds of breakout sessions. Steelcase was invited to present a breakout about our journey to build a global workplace culture, and I shared some of the work we’ve done already, and how we intend to continue to evolve.
It has been fascinating to hear learning and development gurus such as Scott Pirie from Microsoft speak about the impact of technology and mobility on learning methodologies. Scott also shared an incredible video about how Kinnect as a gaming device is helping children with autism learn to interact with others. Yesterday Jim Collins, author of many well known business books like Good to Great and Built to Last , spoke passionately about companies that successfully fuel their growth by creating and recreating themselves. This felt very relevant to someone whose company started by making metal wastebaskets 100 years ago and today designs interconnected solutions for work, workers and workplaces, wherever they may be!
My favorite session yesterday was “Raise Your Insight Quotient” delivered by a Jessica Payne, a Harvard trained neurologist and professor of Psychology at Notre Dame. Jessica defined an insight as “the sudden appearance in conscious awareness of a new and useful relationship among previously known information.” It turns out that sleep is an very important aspect to gaining insights. Not because you need to be rested to find them, but because of the way our brains continue to works and actively process during the cycles of sleep helps us to identify insights. Jessica described the ideal environment for being able to do this is a regular cycle of good sleep, moderate stress and positive affect. Moderate stress helps us to focus and engage. A positive affect (or attitude) improves our creativity, verbal fluency and facilitates memory.
If you are like me, you probably don’t need to hear another reason why we can all benefit from more sleep (8 hours per night should be our goal, per Dr. Payne). Here are some “sleep proxies” that can help if 8 hours doesn’t happen: a 10-20 minute nap can be very restorative, getting change of scenery, taking a walk, or doing focused relaxation or mediation exercises. I left the session inspired to get more sleep (starting tonight!) and to keep seeking insights as ways to learn and to see new opportunities.
Guest post from Steelcase, Chief Administrative Officer, Nancy Hickey
Our 100 year anniversary celebration has been in full swing since March, and to the surprise of some – there’s no traditional, 4-color coffee table book in production. The intention with which we chose to use interactive technology to engage in a dialog about the future is evident most notably, in this website.
Within the first month, this site received 22,000 unique visitors from 126 countries/territories. Not only do we feel honored to have brought so many new friends along on this journey of dreaming together, it’s very exciting to have been recognized by Communication Arts as their W.O.W (Webpick of the Week).
Community leaders and film enthusiasts had opportunity to view “One Day,” the documentary that Steelcase commissioned for its 100th anniversary, and meet its director Daniel Junge at a special event on last night at the Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts (UICA) in Grand Rapids, Mich. “One Day” presents views of the future as seen through the eyes of 10-year-olds in six countries around the world. Junge’s 2012 Oscar-winning film “Saving Face” about acid-burn victims in Pakistan was also shown. The event was co-sponsored with Genesis, Inc., our creative partner in the 100-year anniversary initiative, as a fundraiser for the UICA.
Nancy Hickey, Steelcase chief administrative officer was on hand to open the evening and invite the audience to join the dialog – in person and online via the Steelcase Facebook page. During lively conversation after seeing “One Day,” audience members described it as “incredibly inspirational,” “provocative” and “unexpected, mind-changing.”
“As Steelcase contemplated its 100th anniversary, we wanted to do something that we believed was characteristic of the company through its 100 years, and that was to optimistically look to the future, knowing that things would change and wanting to be part of that change,” Nancy Hickey explained .
“One Day” is 17 minutes long and available online for public viewing here. It’s been seen by Steelcase’s employees around the world and will be shown at other Steelcase-sponsored events this year.
You can also make your mark on the world ‘dream map’ at www.facebook.com/steelcase .