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Smart Thinking for Smart Planning: Collaboration

Here’s another article in our four-part series on planning for smart building design, in which we re-frame the questions we ask before getting started, with a focus on Connect, Collaborate, Control, and Conserve.

Here’s what Collaborate means to us.

How will:

  • the building create the chance encounters that lead to spontaneous, creative conversations?
  • it capture the ideas that come up during meetings? How will it bring people together across functional groups?
  • it create opportunities to gather, rub off on each other, and interact—all of which leads to increased employee engagement?
  • the building fulfill employees’ needs for autonomy, competency, and relatedness?
  • people find what they’re looking for?

We might design meeting rooms with movable wall panels to accommodate groups of different sizes.

Occupancy sensors could let people know what spaces are available, and let them choose the ones they want to work in.

We might add a vestibule or lounge space to a conference room to accommodate turnover between successive meetings.

We might build in connectivity between working and meeting spaces to keep people involved in activities.

We might include video conferencing stations and virtual meeting walls for meetings between teams and remote workers.

To capture ideas, we might use smartboards and smart conference rooms, adding wireless connectivity to individuals’ devices so they can download key content.

We could offer virtual digital assistants and make it easy to share content and concepts.

We might design open, inviting spaces with comfortable furniture where people could congregate, plus small nooks for more private meetings.

We might design activity rooms with glass walls, so people can see what’s going on and join in if they’re interested.

In retail, we could suggest apps to help with entering orders, tracking service providers, and other management tasks.

Field personnel, such as buyers and sales staff, could update in-house teams on current trends and supply chain issues—and in-house teams could update field staff.