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SEP 2017

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Technology and place as temporal tools An important characteristic of large collaboration networks was that the traditional concept of planning for static, spatially based department adjacencies was replaced by an exploration of dynamic person-to-person, virtual and physical, local and global networks. The circle in Figure 3, labeled "Extend The Allen Curve" – for Tom Allen, who has written extensively about the importance of co-location in supporting business processes – is a nod to the fact that technology provides a means to reframe proximity as connectivity. Physical co-location for analytics teams was most essential for those people considered core to individual networks, but the dynamism of projects and team/network membership meant that having work-anywhere mobile tools, access to consistent databases and infrastructure, and 24/7 connectivity to colleagues and technical support staff, were equally, if not more, important. For data scientists, place is an element of temporal work processes rather than simply a physical setting. It's very much the concept of a multiple activity setting that facilitates individual control and choice over when, where and how work is performed. In tracking the daily work processes and locations of analytics teams, the following workplace characteristics proved to be the greatest contributors to enabling superior performance: • Individual workspaces (35-40 percent of day) – Data scientists typically occupied assigned workspaces and viewed access to desired levels of enclosure as the most important feature. In most situations that meant adjustable panels, marker boards and fl exible spatial confi gurations. For a few teams who occupied unassigned space, control was often provided by having workspace options with varying levels of enclosure. Given the high level of concentration inherent in their jobs, it was not surprising to fi nd most data scientists opted for higher levels of enclosure – typically seated and standing height partitions – and often avoided completely open bullpen situations. • Interaction & Retreat (I/R) settings (30-35 percent of day) – Being on multiple teams with broad networks meant that a range of large and small, open and enclosed, formal and informal shared I/R settings were very important to daily work. Across most organizations, one setting per 10-15 people (i.e., 1:10-15) proved to be very effective in enabling work processes. Interestingly, the mix of interaction and retreat oriented work was split evenly. In fact, many data scientists used the variety of available retreat spaces as a way to spur creativity in quieter environments and to refresh their minds for extended periods of intense concentration. • Social settings & amenities (10-15 percent of day) – Onsite and nearby offsite amenities like cafeterias, coffee shops, break areas, fi tness centers, outdoor seating and the like proved to be key support features. These settings offered work-life balance, relief from demanding jobs, and served as alternative, more casual settings for certain activities. • Offsite settings (15-20 percent of day) – The vast majority of people in our research sample extended their days outside the offi ce-proper, but very few worked elsewhere as a primary location. Communication connectivity was important, but the vast majority of time spent offsite was used to fi nd quiet, "home-like" places to concentrate. In fact, like the broader innovation sample, data scientists noted that many of their best ideas came while "off the clock" – out running, listening to music or sitting in a café, etc. Ongoing work and research I'm currently in the fi nal stages of a pre/post occupancy evaluation for an analytics organization that's been in their new space for two years. Early results show improved organizational performance and a workplace that is viewed as being instrumental in enabling that success – embodying many of the characteristics summarized in this article. Robert Osgood is a strategist and researcher who helps organizations drive innovation through business process mapping, workplace and occupancy strategy, change management, POEs, and related assignments. ThE lEadER SEPTEMBER 2017 51

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