Anyone familiar with the very successful AMC series Mad Men will know what I mean when I talk about 1960s office architecture. Uniform floors stretching from the heart in the middle (with the central organs like elevators and receptions) to the lower management employees in the next ring, ending at the windows where the real white-collar workers were seated in their closed offices. And the real important managers usually inhabited the squares of each floor.
It seems to make sense, providing prominent managers with the best spots near the window. Yet not according to the world-renowned scholar Richard Florida. In The Rise of the Creative Class (2012) he explains that a worse office architecture is almost unthinkable, especially in our modern economy.
Creative work today is almost necessarily co-creative work. Co-creation can take the form of crowdsourcing (Malone et al., 2010), but Saarijävi et al. (2013) argue that co-creation is a hard concept to grasp. The question is for whom, by whom and with what, which sort of value is in fact created. According to Florida (2012) one thing is clear: co-creation can be improved through architecture.
Why are the offices of the Mad Men era no longer suitable? Continue reading Does “co-location” precede co-creation?
An important British wisdom states that it is improper to discuss money – and if the Brits say so, it must be true. But living up to that maxim in today’s society can be quite challenging, especially for students. Take your typical student that lives in a house with five others. Usually, they will share their kitchen, making it virtually impossible if not very inefficient to have everyone get their own groceries and their own cooking. Of course, the big advantage of living in a student house is that you can share.
But what about the – this time – American expression that states: “There is no such thing as a free lunch”. Everyone is happy to share in today’s economy, but sharing comes at a price. Of course, there is your general freeloader problem, but in addition to that, it can become quite difficult to keep track of all expenses. That is probably what the inventors of www.wiebetaaltwat.nl (“Who pays for what?”) must have thought.
On their website they give the following example (“Wat is Wiebetaaltwat.nl”, 2014): image we have four students living in a student house: Daan, Bart, Anne and Fleur. Bart went grocery shopping today and spent 15 euros. However, Fleur went for groceries yesterday and spent 20 euros. To see who owes whom you could calculate how much each person is in the positive or negative. For instance, Bart needs to receive 6,25 and Fleur and Daan both need to pay 8,75. Very time consuming to keep this up to date.
That’s why www.wiebetaaltwat.nl offers a tool where you simply enter the amount you spent and the rest is calculated. In addition to that, the website offers many features: it shows records and overviews and can show what you owe to each particular individual.
Continue reading Wiebetaaltwat.nl: Could it be improved?
City dwellers like their cities to be nice. But what constitutes ‘nice’? And how to deal with the diverse and often opposing opinions that arise when proud residents have to think about improving the quality of life in their city? One solution is to turn this difficulty into a challenge by having municipal governments use crowdsourcing. Crowdsourcing is “the act of taking the challenge faced by a firm and, instead of asking internal research and development departments to solve the challenge, the firm broadcasts an open call to individuals with relevant expertise outside the firm to become involved in solving the challenge.” (Majchrzak & Malhotra, 2013). We could easily translate “firm” into “city” and “individual with relevant expertise” into “proud city resident”.
Take the city of Rotterdam as an example. Continue reading Crowdsourcing: a bridge not too far?