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Gill Blog

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

GSA's WorkPlace 20-20

Just returned from D.C. where I participated in the W4 conference sponsored by the GSA -have to say, just a great event. The GSA's Innovative Workplaces division (who I have referenced before in this blog) is mandated to structure change initiatives in the workplace based that align with changing socio-economic imperatives. The audience provided a wide array of international participants who largely represent GSA equivalents in their respective countries of origin. In this case those countries were: the US, Canada, Mexico, the UK, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Japan and The Netherlands. Much of the emphasis in this year's event focussed on technology, specifically, the effect of teleworking on location-based organizations. Fortunately for me, this tied in very closely with the Workplace Continuity initiative we are developing, and getting a chance to address such a select group was a privilege.

The forum presented an impressive array of speakers. I was particularly intrigued by a discussion led by Kevin Kampschroer, Director of Research with the GSA's Public Building Service. Kevin's currently leading a nationwide initiative called WorkPlace 20.20. This program's mission is as follows:
"We help federal agencies better serve the public by offering, at best value, superior workplaces, expert solutions, acquisition services and management policies."

This program has clearly caught the attention of the US media, in a number of key publications, as well as with selected strategic partners.

Some of the more interesting aspects of the discussions included the metaphor of a zoo, and how zoo 'operators' at one point recognized that animals were unhappy in padlocked cages. As a result, new environments were created that were more aesthetically pleasing to their tenants. He then described the human zoo, and the need to take the lead from zoos and create more pleasing and logically laid out workspaces. This project is based on extensive research (e.g. things such as examining social networks and types of interactions), and like other programs within the GSA, be a catalyst for change within both the public and private sectors.

I will stay abreast with developments within innovative workplaces, and will undoutedly pass that information on to you.


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