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Hot Spots Newsletter: productive work experiences

This month, we have been looking at the creation of informal online communities, connected only by a common cause rather than a workplace, and what makes our work experiences feel productive.

Have you signed up to the Hot Spots Movement Facebook page? You can also find us at the Future of Work blog and we're also on Linked In. Lynda also has a Twitter feed and you can follow it here.

Workshops: how do we build structure around fluid collaborative processes?

Our ongoing work and research into collaboration is really starting to gain traction with the business community, as companies realise that collaborative practices are no longer a luxury, but are driving the way we work in the future. We have seen small changes in most workplaces, starting with an increasing acceptance of chat programs like MSN Messenger in the workplace to facilitate communication and discussion between colleagues.

It isn't a simple as chatting though: online discussions facilitate individual thinking and introspective chatting, allowing teams to add value through reflective thinking. But we need to create a format that uses remote collaboration and face-to-face brainstorming, to ensure we can capitalise on the transfer of knowledge and ideas.

What interests us the most is how we build structure and hierarchy around collaborative cultures. Companies that place emphasis on collaboration have developed a number of factors, including work environment, people, leadership, supporting technology, and geography. So, if each company has their own recipe, how can we extrapolate the key factors for success? Problems can be solved through peer-to-peer collaboration, but this needs some supporting structure and measurement.

We will be looking at scenarios and possible solutions in our two public workshops in January – there are a few spaces left for Futureproofing Your Company and Driving Collaboration, and we hope you can join us.

Quiz: how productive are your work experiences?

Decades ago, the rationale for being employed used to boil down to a process of: I work > to earn money > to buy things > which make me happy. This is no longer the case, according to our research. The new process is: I work > to gain productive experiences > that are the basis of my happiness.

How can we tell if our work provides us with productive experiences? Click here to follow our 10-question quiz.

Lynda rises to No.12 on Thinkers50

Lynda has risen six places to No.12 on the Thinkers50 rankings of the world's top business thinkers, and the top British-based thinker.

You can watch her interview with Thinkers50 co-founder Des Dearlove here.

Supporting – and learning from - charities

We have long believed that there are lessons to be learned from charities about how they collaborate between many interest groups, and how they engage with the public. As part of our CSR initiatives, we have been working with Save The Children for several years now at the Hot Spots Movement, and the company has been a guest member of the Future of Work for three years now. Over the next couple of months, we hope to bring you some organisational lessons we can learn from Save The Children, and how they have used the ideas and methodology from the HSM.

Findings from our first FoW 3 Masterclass

Earlier this month, we held our first Jam for the Future of Work 3 research consortium. This followed a Masterclass under the theme The Impact of Technology and Productivity on Work, and we pulled together some discussion notes for the Hot Spots Movement Community. Issues covered include: security, crowdsourcing, IP, and the blurred boundaries between business and personal use of technology.

We are delighted with the success of the first Jam – our online brainstorming and collaboration technology. We had 352 collaborators from 20 countries, who spent an average time of almost 30 minutes as part of the online conversation. This completely bucks the trend of online participation: it is regularly held to be 1-9-90, i.e. 1% very active, 9% somewhat active and 90% with low (if any) levels of activity. This is one rule we are delighted to break, and thank our FoW Jammers and facilitators for creating such a vibrant discussion.

The FoW is the only academic research consortium or community that uses technology like this, and we look forward to creating Jams for the companies we support. We have already been asked to design, build and run Jams for third parties, so they can capitalise on the real creativity we have experienced with them.

  • We will shortly be announcing details of FoW 4. If you are interested, email Tina for details.

The Shift: printing the second edition

Lynda's book The Shift, published earlier this year, has just been named one of the Financial Times' favourite business books of the year. Andrew Hill, the FT's management editor, included The Shift as one of his selections, and you can read the other recommendations here.

Some of you have had a bit of trouble getting hold of a copy of The Shift through your local bookshops – it's being reprinted at the moment, after unexpected levels of sales. However, there are copies available through Amazon UK and Amazon US.

Meanwhile, we have just received the proof of the Dutch cover for The Shift – it's very different from the UK version, and is really striking. We love it! Have a look here: we will feature some of the other covers of The Shift over the next few issues of the newsletter, as it's really interesting to see how other markets have visualised the book.

Getting a job in 2025

Lynda has written an article for The European Business Review, entitled Getting a Job in 2025, which is just out now. You can read the article here.

What we're reading

This month, we have gathered together several e-newsletters we think are worth signing up to receive. The first is CasePlace.org, an e-newsletter from the Aspen Institute, which curates case studies, articles and teaching materials on the topic of sustainability (social, environmental and ethical) in business.

A strong HR-focused e-newsletter comes from Smartbrief, while Springwise sends a newsletter crammed full of the most exciting new business concepts from around the world. Finally, you can join OpenIDEO, the online platform for finding creative solutions to pressing social issues. One example is the Vibrant Cities Challenge, where community members are invited to design solutions to revitalise struggling cities like Detroit, Michigan.

Finally, we will all be reading Poor Economics, by Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo. Lynda was particularly taken by Poor Economics, the winner of the FT and Goldman Sachs's Business Book of the Year, when she was on the judging panel.

Who's in our network?

Charles Handy has been at the forefront of management thinking for 35 years, since he published his first book, Understanding Organisations, and he has been a good friend of the Hot Spots Movement for years. Indeed, the recent Thinkers50 ceremony was like a reunion, as Charles was given the Lifetime Achievement award, with the citation speech given by Lynda.

He is best known for his 1989 publication The Age of Unreason, where he told of a future of "discontinuous change". His other bestselling books include The Empty Raincoat, Beyond Certainty and The Elephant and the Flea. He has also written books with his wife, the photographer Elizabeth Handy, and appeared regularly on Radio 4's Thought for the Day.

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