Nehmen Sie an den weltweiten Feierlichkeiten zum 100-jährigen Jubiläum von Steelcase teil! Unser Jubiläumsprojekt „100 Dreams, 100 Minds, 100 Years”, das uns das ganze Jahr über begleiten wird, gibt uns einen Ausblick auf das nächste Jahrhundert.

Aug 14

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.

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Jul 31

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?

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Jul 18

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?

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Jul 13

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!

Steelcase 100 Voices from Steelcase Inc on Vimeo.

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Jul 3

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.

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Jun 25

Young dreamer, Chloe shares her thoughts about the future of education at ISTE.

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?

 

 

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Jun 6

Earlier this week I had the privilege of participating in a Twitter Chat as part of Steelcase’s 100 Dreams project, the company’s inspirational year-long anniversary project. We were pleased to see that our conversation reached an audience of more than 80,000.

It was meaningful to share ideas for the next 100 years as part of Steelcase’s anniversary project. But the live online chat yesterday also gave me the opportunity to reflect further on how Steelcase’s values map to my own beliefs on culture and leadership.

Steelcase is committed to scaling its values and being intentional about forging deep connections in this interconnected and interdependent world. Through their innovative use of space and design, Steelcase fosters an environment where employees can express their full character and creativity and meaningfully interact. I know this to be the case since my company LRN is furnished with Steelcase’s office furniture products.

The 6th century Greek philosopher Heraclitus wrote that “Character is fate”. What character is to the individual, culture is to the organization. Steelcase creates the freedom from closed doors and walled offices and the freedom to create open spaces and expansive offices where employees have the freedom to dream, innovate and collaborate in pursuit of a shared values and mission.

Steelcase is a unique company. It is a special honor for me therefore to be part of 100 Dreams.

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Jun 1

“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!

 

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Jun 1

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!

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May 23

Classroom Project

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

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May 15

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!

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May 8

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

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May 4

Communication Arts Webpick of the Week 5.4.12

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).

 

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May 2

Film Director Daniel Junge and creative partner Graham Button, Genesis Inc,

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 .

 

 

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Apr 27

The Steelcase Wege Wind Energy Farm

Today, we were honored with a Michigan Green Leader award and recently by being named one of Michigan’s 101 Best & Brightest Sustainable Companies. As we’re forging an integrated path to deliver value across social, environmental and economic platforms, recognitions are a sign of progress and assurance that we’re on the right path. At the same time, we’re always reminded that the scope of opportunities is huge, and being a leader means continuously learning, taking on new challenges and collaborating – within our own company as well as across companies, industries and geographies.

Creating sustainable value for the 21st century is clearly a big, top-of-mind issue in many of the dreams for the future that we’ve collected so far in our anniversary project — whether it’s 10-year-old Siddesh , India, who reminds that “we have to think about the world before making new things,” or 20-year-old Erin Schrode , co-founder of Turning Green who says “the notion of shared value is critical, where the environmental ramifications, social consequences, and economic profits are relevant to all involved,” or sustainability icon William McDonough who dreams of a future when “we don’t just eat the apple, we grow a tree that will feed generations to come.”

A recurring theme is that the social, economic and environmental system that sustains us needs to become stronger. What’s more, the world is fast becoming one big construct of interconnectivity, and businesses have a critical role to play in creating a more sustainable future. A full-spectrum approach to sustainability goes beyond reducing a company’s operational footprint and working towards eliminating materials of concern. It also means investing in social impact initiatives that create lasting solutions. No one can solve these problems alone. So maybe connecting our dreams is a good place to start? Please bring your dreams to this website or our Facebook page, and share your ideas and comments. Let’s unleash our imaginations on the future, together.

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Apr 25

Guest post by Steelcase 100 Mind contributor and Institute of Design professor, Vijay Kumar.

I enjoyed the opportunity to serve as the facilitator of Nurture’s TEDMED 2012 simulcast last week in Chicago. Between the inspiring presentations and interesting conversations that afternoon, it occurred to me that there are a number of strong similarities – I would call them “overlaps and opportunities” between TEDMED and Steelcase’s 100th Anniversary project .

The first — both are built on the concepts of “convergence and connecting.” TEDMED does that well and that is what the “100 Years” is all about – selecting people from different fields (designers, scientists, artists) and making connections between their viewpoints about the next 100 years. There is lots of overlap in that formula – quite similar to what TEDMED is trying to do.

The second overlap is in the area of “dreams.” Steelcase offers dreams of “100 Years” from “100 Minds” – TEMED presentations are the visions, dreams, of what may be possible and what can be done in the areas of health and medicine. TEDMED is all about sharing ideas for the future – very similar and great amount of overlap.

Finally, both are “curated” experiences. The Steelcase 100th Anniversary project is collecting dreams of different people / children and curating them as an experience via a number of mediums to share with each of us. TEDMED is also a curated experience – working to link together the visions of many people doing interesting work and having interesting ideas and then capturing them and presenting them in a way that we can all learn and grow from.

During Nurture’s Chicago simulcast I came away with a very strong sense of the real value of the continuum on which ideas are being shared by both TEDMED and the Steelcase 100th anniversary project.

Some of them are very personal and emotional experiences (such as the mother’s story of her daughter’s ongoing battle with autism). On the other end of the continuum – amazing anatomical visualization database and computer software – is much more analytical and scientific. Exposure to the full continuum gave me a sense of connection beyond what any one of those components could provide. It gave me an appreciation of the interconnectedness of emotions, science, art, technology – and that is the real value.
It’s not just about science, not just about art, and not just about technology either – TEDMED and the Steelcase 100 Years project help us clearly get a sense of the interconnectedness of the world and how important every component is to our whole life.

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Apr 12

We are proud of the many achievements our company has made over the past 100 years. From securing a patent for the first fireproof wastebasket in 1912, to introducing the Frank Lloyd Wright desks in the 1930s, to launching an HDVC-enhanced collaboration station called media:scape, we have a lot to be proud of.

What makes this anniversary especially exciting is the support we’ve received from colleagues in the design and business media. Over the past few weeks, some of our friends at Core77, GOOD Magazine, SmartBusiness, Grand Rapids Press, The Associated Press and others have highlighted our history and dreams for the future. If you’d like to learn more about the milestones mentioned in these articles, we encourage you to check out our interactive timeline. There, you’ll be able to discover the many turning points in our history that together reveal the bigger picture of who we are and where we’re headed. Our story, our future, is just beginning.

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Mar 22

About two years ago Steelcase asked Genesis Inc. to help make the 100th Anniversary really inspiring to everyone whose life is touched by the company, all over the world. We’re a strategic and creative consultancy that works in partnership with Steelcase on ongoing projects, and whatever the assignment, we always begin at the beginning. So we started by uncovering the core idea behind everything the company has ever done. We then expressed that with a symbol, a graphic mark, that would guide all of our creative efforts. This mark represents a single moment in time, one very few companies ever come to experience. And it was designed to celebrate not just a rich past, but a rich future to come. Not surprisingly, we called it the Insight Symbol, because it is insight – into people, markets, and the world of work – that has created the Steelcase we see in 2012.

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Share the Anniversary All Year Long

Mar 21

Relive and remember the 100-year celebration each time you purchase merchandise. It gives you the opportunity to re-create the experience as well as share it with others.

Please visit www.steelcaseapparelstore.com to place an order for 100th anniversary apparel. For large orders, please contact our apparel supplier: kip@trophymuskegon.com.

To order any of these Steelcase 100-Year anniversary merchandise items,
please contact 800.784.0358 (toll-free) – credit cards purchase only.
Hours of operation: M-F (8:00 a.m. EST – 5:00 p.m. EST)
Steelcase customer manager: Devin Wehrmeyer

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Mar 19

Jim Hackett Addressing Grand Rapids Econ ClubGrand Rapids Econ Club
Earlier today, our CEO Jim Hackett addressed the Economic Club of Grand Rapids. He paid homage to his predecessor, Bob Pew, and commented on the history of the company, including its many challenges and successes since the company was incorporated in 1912.

“As we look back over time we can see that Steelcase often had a rhythm of stepping up to challenges and not only responding to it, but coming out a much better company as a result,” said Jim. “Since day one, that agility and resourcefulness is a result of our company’s dedication to human insights.”

“Today, our customers turn to Steelcase not just because of what we make, but because of what we know,” he continued.  “We create products and services, but our customers buy insights and innovation.  They come to us because they need help making their workplace more productive, more effective, and more attractive to top talent. . . I’m happy to report today that Steelcase is the number one company in the world in this industry and its headquartered right here in Grand Rapids, Michigan.”

“For 10 decades, Grand Rapids has been the epicenter for our business that has grown to employ more than 12,000 hard-working, forward-thinking individuals. It is a city that represents our beginnings as a company. We’d like to take this time to thank our community for supporting our business and providing stellar resources over the years.”

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Mar 16

Celebration Balloon Drop

Insight Symbol

Jim Hackett Speak

On this date 100 years ago, The Metal Office Furniture Co. was incorporated. Today, that company – now known as Steelcase – brought together 1,400 of its employees to celebrate this milestone in Grand Rapids, Michigan. CEO Jim Hackett addressed the crowd and revealed an artistic installation of the anniversary symbol, which will hang from the ceiling of the headquarter lobby for the next year.  Before the unveiling, Jim Hackett offered a few words:

“I’ve just returned last night from a week of celebration with many of our employees in the Asian sales organization, our Global Business Center and our factory in Malaysia. We are truly integrated around the world so while the flight was very long, the hospitality was pure Steelcase. Do you think the founders in 1912 could have imagined that the president of the company could even travel those distances at that speed? Hardly. In fact they wouldn’t recognize the company we’ve become. But they would see the same enduring values. This is a story of evolving our business on an arc of significance. In other words, WHAT we would do over those years might be different… but WHO we are would ride that constant arc.”

The inspiration for the Steelcase anniversary graphic was a human eye — where the promise of people shines most clearly. The symbol reminds us of the great diversity of our world, with different elements coming together in harmony. It implies a work in progress, a century of ideas coming together with many open areas where new possibilities can come into play.

To celebrate this special day, Steelcase invites you to look forward to the future. You are encouraged to take time to dream about what can be. You can share those thoughts with our community on this site or through our Share Your Dream app on Facebook.

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A Special Supplement to the April 2012 issue
of Metropolis Magazine

Mar 15

Metropolis magazine has been an authority on all aspects of design for over 30 years. Today, the magazine releases a special issue to celebrate Steelcase’s 100-year legacy and promise for the future.

Available online and in print, the issue provides an intimate, behind-the-scenes look at Steelcase’s transformation from local manufacturer to globally-integrated enterprise. The issue includes an in-depth interview with President and CEO James P. Hackett, and highlights Steelcase’s research-based design team. Rounding out the coverage and looking into the future, the magazine features the 100 Dreams, 100 Minds, 100 Years initiative that asks children and thought leaders around the world to envision the future.

Susan S. Szenasy, Metropolis’ editor in chief and also one of our 100 Minds contributors, oversaw the project for the magazine.

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Mar 13

As the date of our official anniversary quickly approaches, the global celebration is well underway. In Malaysia earlier this week, Steelcase CEO Jim Hackett and others from the executive team met to discuss the anniversary efforts, our company achievements and future plans. Employees from our sales, customer service and project management teams were on site to dream about what the future will be and what our company could look like in the decades to come.

A true highlight of the celebration was the performance by a group of employees who composed their own anniversary commemorative song in the Malay language. We look forward with much anticipation to seeing how other regional groups celebrate this milestone over the coming weeks.

Employees in Malaysia Celebrating

Employees in Malaysia Celebrating 2

 

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Mar 9

Eye

It was a homecoming in so many ways, going back to the TED conference in 2012. I had not presented there for more than a decade. I had last been on the TED stage in Monterrey California, the conference’s original location back in February of 2001. It was a moment when Y2K was a fading fear, 9/11 was a random calendar date and the tech bubble of the ‘90s was about to burst. For me it was 3 kids ago. Back then I was so full of ideas and thoughts about design and where the world was heading. I had great successes presenting those dreams on the TED stage. In the subsequent 11 years, though, it seemed that so much had happened. I had lowered my gaze somehow. I felt less like a dreamer and more like the tentative pilot of a flimsy canoe as waves crashed all around me.

What would I possibly have to say at this much grander Long Beach TED conference that could matter to a much larger audience of V.I.P.s and world-changers? I staggered around in my own anxiety for a good long while until I remembered the children we had spoken to in the course of the “100 Dreams, 100 Minds, 100 Years” project. What did they have to say that would be of interest? We asked such questions of 10-year-olds from around the world and each one of them had something to offer. The key was finding a connection after believing one was there. Connecting yourself to the people you are speaking with and knowing within yourself those connections exist, there is no other formula for reaching people.

In just this way, TED 2012 was for me an exploration within. There were all my personal notions of design and the ideas about design passed to me by my father, Jack Hockenberry, the first director of design at Steelcase. There were memories of my days as a math wiz at the University of Chicago learning the power of scientific precision, the possibilities of technological change evident even back in the 1970s, and the capacity of an idea to bend reality and change the future. It was a delight to be amongst the TEDsters, old and new. This ethos of change and curiosity and the determination to make something happen was infectious. It was the perfect place to launch the “100 Minds” initiative. Steelcase CEO Jim Hackett and I winked and waved at each other from across rooms. We managed to grab a few precious minutes of conversation. Both of us were grateful that the “100 Minds” vision had come together so well. We both thought it fit perfectly into the whole TED community. In a sense, Hackett and Hockenberry were like two friendly cousins in an extended family. Him urging me on to do well on stage and me cheering him forward with his vision for the second Steelcase century.

It had been a very long time since I was a worker in the old desk plant in Grand Rapids, the son of my dad – the designer of curved metal pieces that confounded some of the die makers used to right angles and squares. My dad’s name was on the blueprints they used and I would get some pretty cold looks when difficulties with the metal stamping presses would shut down the line. It had also been a long time since I had whimsically taken to the TED stage myself. This would be a test of my dreams.

With a big family now and as much focus on retirement as on the future of civilization, to my great surprise the TED talk came easily. It turns out that dreaming out loud, even on a stage as exclusive as TED, is completely natural and just as exciting at age 55, with 5 kids, as it is in your early 40s and a newlywed. My talk about design and the need to do things intentionally, to think about the world before you make or act (just what our dreamer kids were telling us) rocked the house. When I left the stage I got lost in enthusiastic lines of people asking questions and sharing their own impressions of all that I had said. At one point, I caught Jim Hackett hovering on the edge of a small crowd. He gave me a “thumbs up” sign and winked with the message that he’d see me soon.

Hackett and Hockenberry. Kinda catchy, don’t you think? What’s the lyric in that famous song Moon River? “Two drifters, off to see the world.” How about “Two Dreamers, off to see the world.”

Or even 100 dreamers.

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Mar 8

Graham Button, Daniel Junge, Chloe Weigum

The Steelcase film “One Day” had its first official public screening last night. It was the first of a double bill of documentaries from director Daniel Junge as part of the Women+Film Series by the Denver Film Society. The 400-seat theater was packed and tickets had been sold out for weeks.

Colorado Film Commissioner Donald Zuckerman welcomed co-directors Daniel Junge and Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy and their Oscar for Best Documentary Short. He then introduced Graham Button of Genesis Inc., Steelcase’s creative partner in the 100 Year Anniversary initiative, and Chloe Weigum, one of the ten-year-olds featured in “One Day”.

Graham described how the film came into being as part of the “100 Dreams, 100 Minds, 100 Years” program, and thanked Steelcase CEO Jim Hackett for “his bravery and moral compass” in embracing the future through the eyes of the great dreamers – children and thought leaders. He also invited the audience to bring their own dreams to the website.

The film was very well received. “One Day” was in good company — it was followed by the Oscar-winning “Saving Face”.

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Mar 6

John Hockenberry Speaking at TED 2012

Photo: James Duncan Davidson

Author, journalist and 100 Minds curator John Hockenberry addressed the crowd at TED last week. There, he offered a personal and candid look at design and our ability to not only create, but improve upon what has been created before. Using the example of a song, John said, “Broadly speaking, design is the courage and brilliance to cover an original and make it different, make it universal.”

John spoke about his earliest design influence. His father was a designer for IBM, Kodak, and Steelcase. He recalled a lesson that his dad reiterated throughout his childhood, which he still believes in today:  “Good design is about supplying intent.”

Ironically, it was poor design that caused John to spend his life in a wheelchair. “Thirty-six years ago, I was in a poorly designed automobile that hit a poorly designed guardrail on a poorly designed road in Pennsylvania, plummeted down an embankment and killed two people in the car. . . [After the accident,] I had no option but to make up this new life without walking. A life with intent, lived by design, covering the original with something better. It’s something for us all to do or find a way to do in these times: to get back to this, to get back to design.”

In his 100 Minds contribution, John refers to our individual potential to shape the future. He writes, “The seeds of the future lie in our own time.” In what ways have you seen design help our today? And how do you see it shape tomorrow?

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Mar 5

Siddesh's 100 Dreams Interview

Siddesh's 100 Dreams Drawing

These are the first words we hear from Siddesh, a 10-year-old boy from Mumbai, India in the documentary One Day. The film, developed by Steelcase in collaboration with Genesis Inc., and directed by Academy Award winning filmmaker Daniel Junge, follows six children as they dream about the future. What will the world look like in the years to come? What is the world going to have that we don’t have now? These may sound like big, complicated questions for kids but their answers are remarkably profound.

When we meet Siddesh, he proclaims his Indian pride and notes that he hopes India will one day be a great country. As he looks over the city, he talks candidly about the many slums near his house as he begins to talk about the future. He feels confident that he will personally be able to contribute to the betterment of the country as an architect. In his adulthood, he hopes to create “intelligent buildings” that will adapt to environmental conditions. If a tsunami would come toward the city, for example, his structures would rise up on stilts “so everyone can live.”

In addition to caring for the people in Mumbai, Siddesh is also concerned for the natural environment. “A lot of children of my age see the future with flying cars, but they don’t see the negative effect,” he says. “If the flying cars leave black gas, that will leave trees to die. We have to think about the world before making new things.”

Citizens of India are among the happiest people in the world, according to a recent study by global research firm Ipsos. Despite a wide economic gap and civil conflict, 43 percent of Indians say they are very happy. Siddesh’s positive outlook on the future certainly demonstrates this sense of optimism.

We encourage you to view the One Day film in its entirety and share your dream for the future on our Facebook page.

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Mar 1

TED thanks Steelcase
Another amazing day at TED 2012. People see the powerful talks online, but there’s just as much value for attendees in the conversations that take place over lunch and during breaks. Today I had the pleasure of spending time with Susan Cain, author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking, who presented on the first day of TED. Our conversation yesterday confirmed that there’s a lot of synergy between her thinking and ours at Steelcase. We agree that it’s about finding the right balance between thinking and doing, between spaces for quiet contemplation and spaces for team interaction. Her insights on personality are compelling and will provide an intriguing perspective as we continue to study how people work, and the environments required to unlock human promise.

I’ve been coming to TED since 1988 and Steelcase has been a proud supporter since one year after that first experience. Having Chris Anderson acknowledge our support from the big stage yesterday, and take note of Steelcase’s centennial year, was a proud moment for all of us. I’m really looking forward to this afternoon’s session at TED, with my friends David Kelley from IDEO and John Hockenberry among the presenters. John is an acclaimed journalist and author, and the curator of our 100 Dreams, 100 Minds, 100 Years content.

In the TED spirit of Ideas worth spreading, I hope you’ll all take a moment to join the hundreds of children, business leaders, artists and innovators who helped kick off our conversation about the future and share your dream on our Facebook page.

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Permission to Dream, a 100-Year Challenge

Feb 25

I grew up in a house of design, a house of dreamers and the leader of the pack was my father Jack Hockenberry who helped Steelcase onto its path toward becoming a design leader back in the late 1960s. He was the first real director of design and he brought his journey home to us each night. He worked for IBM and Kodak before Steelcase and at each company his job was to imagine where and how people would work in the future. It was his constant focus back in the 60s and 70s and while it was nearly impossible to know a precise answer to this question it didn’t stop dad and his team from dreaming. My siblings and I would ask questions all the time. “Dad, will chairs have motors in the future? Will desks have TVs? Will typewriters become computers?” “Yes, Yes, and Yes,” he would say.

My dad took us along to see dreamers in action, in museums and fairs. He visited the 1964 World’s fair in New York City and brought back books and pictures of the wonders he saw. “Look, he would say, “School will be like this someday.” He showed his kids a picture of a bubble like chair thing called a study-sphere where you could search the world’s computers for information and read books and watch films. I wanted a Studysphere. We all went together in a futuristic VW Bus to visit Expo 67 to see the dreams at the World’s Fair in Montreal. The amazing apartments from Habitat 67 are still there, still lived in, still dreamy.

At work, my dad used terms like “word processing” and they sounded so futuristic. I imagined words in some lab/factory being carved with lasers and electrified with special machines to allow them to speak. Chairs would move from room to room on tracks where people would dial something onto their chair-arm keypad and people would automatically assemble for a meeting.

It all mostly came true but so much more came true that wasn’t dreamed. Good and bad. My father left Steelcase and I got down to starting my own life and stopped dreaming beyond anything farther down the road than the next personal triumph or tragedy. I look back now and see so much that might have been dreamed, might have been anticipated. I wish I had dreamed about more tools to address the challenges we face today.

When I was asked to be a part of this Steelcase 100 minds event, it was an invitation to return to that dreamy moment in the 1970s when nothing seemed impossible and when the paths still seemed fresh and unclear. In the seventies no one believed the Dow Jones Industrial Average would ever climb above 1000. We believed the Cold War would never end or if it did it would be in a mushroom cloud or clouds.

There are similar cautions and warnings about the future today. In these pages and postings you will find many cautions and warnings about the next 100 years. Some of them are from kids worried about the world they are inheriting. Many of them are from adults thinking about those kids. But there are many more flights to the horizon itself. People here pushing themselves to see the changes possible and begin to ask what the world will look like when, for instance, our political system is mobilized so that we argue less and accelerate into consensus and collective change more than we do today.

Will our bodies be networked? Will elections go away in the face of the ability to continuously monitor the state of communities almost like a political polygraph? Will traditional college simply go away as higher education suddenly needs no campus upon which to teach? Will education begin earlier and never end. Will journalism meld into this continuous educational mission? In the future kids won’t learn to read and write, they will learn to publish. Energy will cease to be invisible and mysterious coming from pugs on walls and will become decentralized visible everywhere, and energy use will be a part of every calculation we make about what to do and how we live. These are just some of the dreams on these pages. For me it is a look back and a look forward at the same time. 100 years ago offices had no meaning. They were workspaces created to escape factory floors and retail madness, they were places to drink and plot with financial clients. The Oval Office in the White House 100 years ago was a place for hanging wet laundry. FDR converted the space to what it is today. Originally conceived by President Taft in 1909 to be a central chamber of a beehive of activity for running the day-to-day operations of the Presidency, today the oval office is a historical shrine and a place for ceremony and the most important historical decisions far removed from the day to day operations of the 21st century presidency. Every workspace of today can tell a similar story of transformation, birth or death throughout the last century. Workspaces are just part of the story. As these pages suggest, there is much more to come.

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Anniversary Kicks Off Around the World

Feb 24

Jim Hackett Anniversary Townhall Meeting

Steelcase Anniversary Townhall Audience

Steelcase Employees Watching One Day Film

Steelcase’s internal celebration of its anniversary began on the corporate campus in Grand Rapids, Michigan and spread around the world. From sales offices to factory floors, Steelcase employees gathered in January and February to hear CEO Jim Hackett or another senior executive look back at how the company has always been looking forward. Steelcase innovations have always been built around the idea of unlocking human promise.

At the meetings, employees got a sneak preview of “One Day,” the documentary film commissioned by Steelcase to help start a dialogue around the future of work and the dreams of the next generation of workers. The team in Monterrey, Mexico was inspired by the film to create a giant display of their own dreams for the future, and we’ll be asking other employees to share their dreams as the year goes along.

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Feb 24

Image from Tiffany Shlain Film

Take a look at what Tiffany Shlain created and then explore the dream of Jamy Yang. Shlain’s collective power of people linked up across geography and language time and space to make change and embrace a mission coupled with Yang’s technological capacity to transform ideas instantaneously into objects. The boundaries and categories of the last thousand years are breaking down and we can glimpse it all right here. Try your own combinations, they’re all exciting.

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Feb 23

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Feb 23

Steelcase Timeline Website

Looking back, it’s clear our company has always been about looking forward. Our past, present and future are all about turning insights into innovations that unlock the promise of people at work and make the world a better place.

So now step back in time. Discover the many turning points in our history that together reveal the bigger picture of who we are and where we’re headed. Our story, our future, is just beginning.

Click here to begin exploring.

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Feb 20

We really didn’t know what to expect; kids from all over the world being asked by some strangers from the U.S.A. to “dream” what the future would be like in 100 years. What would be the reaction? Would we be considered intrusive or worse trivial? We’re the Hollywood music video crew looking for little hip-hoppers to mug for the cameras, right? To our deep surprise and joy, the kids took to the project with gravity and excitement. It was almost as though they were expecting us. The energy of these kids said, “We thought you’d never ask!”

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