Be part of Steelcase’s worldwide centennial celebration. Our yearlong anniversary project, “100 Dreams, 100 Minds, 100 Years,” is a springboard to the century ahead. Read, view, engage, comment, share.
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