Steelcase 100th Anniversary BBQ at our Global Headquarters in Grand Rapids, MI
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?
“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!
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!
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 .
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.
Come with us as we visit our Steelcase colleagues from all over the globe and see how they ushered in our 100th year. Of course, the celebration is not just about cookies, cake and libations; many employees have joined the company in dreaming about the future. Please take the time to add your dream to the global map as well. What do you think the future will be like?
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.
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.
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
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.”
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.