By WiT, Feb 27 2014 03:09PM

First posted January 2011 - John Mitchell

In the current difficult and uncertain climate, all public sector, third sector and voluntary organisations are facing major challenges: organisationally, as they try to make sense and orientate themselves in the new political framework of ‘big society’ and localism, and financially, as public sector cuts first threaten and will soon start to really bite.

There is a growing recognition that we will struggle to survive (let alone thrive) in these conditions, unless we are able to come together to learn, collaborate and innovate, and most importantly to build strong relationships and trust. Much is now being written about why this is important, and how we might start to rethink and reimagine our organisations to suit these emerging new conditions, especially from a living systems perspective.

But what about our workplaces, the physical environments where these new approaches need to be nurtured and developed? Where we work, and how our workplaces are organised can have a huge impact on nurturing collaboration, establishing or reinforcing connection and developing relationships – within our organisations, between different organisations, and between our organisations and our public/ clients/ users.

Even in comparatively good times, little thought has generally been given to how the spaces we occupy might help us to work and collaborate better. As funding dries up and the pressure grows on organisations to cut back on workspace and associated costs, even less consideration is likely to be given to the spaces where we work.

But this is the time when we need to be smarter about how and where we work, and be more creative around a whole variety of working arrangements, physical and virtual, that will help us collaborate and connect within and beyond our organisations. We need to intelligently explore how to:

Make the best use of our current workspaces through imaginative reoccupation and reconfiguration

Reduce the footprint and associated costs of workspace while improving how we work

Share spaces with other organisations, and use this as a catalyst and opportunity to collaborate and learn from each other

Make better use of more mobile and nimble working, with more use of public or virtual meeting and working spaces

Create closer and more visible connections with the public / clients for whom we are working as we move towards greater involvement and co-creation of services

learning-space has a unique blend of skills and experience to help you with this thinking.

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