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‘Organizations Need To Generate, Embrace And Execute On New Ideas’

New innovation in the office spaces is making its mark all across Asian markets. The office of the future is far from the lusterless, drab workplaces that we see today

Maria Bourke, Brand Director, Steelcase Asia Pacific speaks about experience economy, new innovations in the office spaces and more:

How does a B2B brand like Steelcase build awareness and create experiences in Asian markets? Do they position themselves differently?

We are in a world of experience economy. A customer’s buying experience is what really counts – even in business to business transactions.

Steelcase is a company that focuses on all the details that customers receive. Initially, by understanding our name and mission, followed by our research, insights and products and services. We need to focus on our target customers and build our brand here by examining all the different touchpoints &marketing tools prevalent in the Asia Pacific region. Given the dynamic nature of this region, each country or even each city has their unique culture and consumer behaviors. Therefore, like our products, even the messaging and positioning is tailored to fit specific geographical regions.

How is Steelcase’s office of the future making corporate India rethink the workplace?

New innovation in office spaces is making its mark all across the Asian markets. The office of the future is far from the lusterless, drab workplaces that we see today. Steelcase’s new ‘Creative Spaces’ offer a model for companies to give their employees the freedom to collaborate and be productive.

First came the old school cubicles, after which the open space plans became popular. If the elimination of cubicles and open spaces aren’t the solution to modern offices, what is? The office of the future is a place that integrates technology, design and considers a diverse range of work modes. In the days gone by, corporate India didn’t mind the mundane practice of burying their head in the computer all day. Contrary to that, today, the only way to attract the best talent and retain a positive workforce, is to provide a resilient environment.

Steelcase designers have created this new off model - Creative Spaces, a suite of five Microsoft Surface-enabled workspaces (Ideation Hub, Maker Commons, Focus Studio, and Respite Room) that are designed to promote a more fluid, unrestricted work environment.We aim to blur the edges of what we’ve traditionally considered the workplace. Spaces that blend design and materiality without compromising performance can inspire new ways of thinking and fuel creativity.Due to density, spaces in growth markets like India and China, need to be multifunctional and easy to reconfigure. Steelcase’s future of work model is what workers in growth markets need.

Elaborate on the regional job impact from disrupters i.e. AI / IoT

The internet of things is disrupting many business models and driving corporate India to new levels. Over the years, laptops, tablets and phones have allowed employees to intellectualize an array of information and move fluidly throughout the day. With the emergence of artificial intelligence, virtual reality and augmented reality, the future of work is changing as machines are able to do more jobs typically reserved for humans. However, despite the technological revolution we have seen in the past years, there are still better jobs and higher salaries today. Although there are many jobs that are at a risk of replacement, there are only a niche set of tasks that can be automatized.

At Steelcase, we require both convergent and divergent thinking. When it comes to such problem solving and idea generation, humans cannot be the secondary option. It is also safe to assume that these key technological disruptors, will, in turn, make creativity a central aspect of businesses.

How does creativity act as a catalyst for job creation?

Automation is going to take over the job market, and the need of the hour is to unleash skills that machines are incapable of 0. 52 per cent of activities people are paid to do in the world’s workforce could potentially be automated by current technologies. Consequently, there is a demand for creative minds and hottest talents in the industry.

Previously, instead of focusing on a business’s creative output, most business leaders focused more on short-term goals like efficiency, cutting prices and waste reduction. There has been a shift and creativity has developed as a facet of productivity. To survive in today’s complex world, organizations need to generate, embrace and execute on new ideas. 77 per cent say creativity is a critical job skill, which only means that if we want to see newer and increasing jobs, creativity is key. The success of an organization depends on ability to be creative.


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Steelcase Asia Pacific internet of things


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