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Rethinking the Academic Office


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How can you increase the likelihood that people will adopt a new idea? How can you create and adopt new ideas about workplace strategies that enable more productivity in less space? What changes to you need to make to space, process, protocols and culture to make this happen? This interactive session at the 2015 NACUBO Annual Meeting answers these questions, using a case study from brightspot's work with the University of Minnesota on the Work+ program:

Published in: Leadership & Management
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Rethinking the Academic Office

  1. 1. 1brightspot strategy | University of Minnesota “I understand workplace strategy requires me to think holistically about space, people, workflow, and technology” rethinking the academic office: more productivity in less space Brian Swanson, Asst Vice-President, University Finance, University of Minnesota Elliot Felix, Founder, brightspot strategy (@elliotfelix) “I understand the key components of workplace strategy include workstyles, neighborhoods of spaces, and designing with change in mind” “I have done a workspace strategy project using a holistic approach and applying the key components” Please sit based on how familiar are you with workplace strategy: Novice (Left side): Learning (Center): Expert (Right side):
  2. 2. 2brightspot strategy | University of Minnesota welcome!
  3. 3. 3brightspot strategy | University of Minnesota today’s objectives: 1.  Understand the basic components of an Alternative Workplace Strategy (AWS) program 2.  Articulate to colleagues and campus leaders the rationale and the benefits of an AWS program 3.  Address implementation challenges at their own institution with best practices from other other institutions attempting to implement similar programs
  4. 4. 4brightspot strategy | University of Minnesota today’s agenda: Introductions How and why do people adopt new ideas? Discussion: Innovation on Campus What is Workplace Strategy? Discussion: Workplace Strategy on Campus Work+ Case Study Strategies, Tactics, and Lessons Learned Final Q&A
  5. 5. 5brightspot strategy | University of Minnesota you’re not going to solve your space problem by treating it as a space problem
  6. 6. 6brightspot strategy | University of Minnesota why are you here? 1.  I am interested in or involved in Space Management issues 2.  I am interested in or involved in implementing a (an Alternative) Workplace Strategy program 3.  I am tired of paying for facilities that seem empty but are all assigned to someone 4.  The topic sounded interesting and I wanted to check it out. 5.  Nothing else looked more interesting / I just wandered in.
  7. 7. 7brightspot strategy | University of Minnesota innovation
  8. 8. 8brightspot strategy | University of Minnesota how do we get people to adopt innovations and new ideas?
  9. 9. 9brightspot strategy | University of Minnesota 1. Aim for most advanced yet acceptable (MAYA) photo from “The adult public's taste is not necessarily ready to accept the logical solutions to their requirements if the solution implies too vast a departure from what they have been conditioned into accepting as the norm ” – Raymond Loewy
  10. 10. 10brightspot strategy | University of Minnesota 2. Understand the diffusion of innovations Internally motivated to change Inspired by the new and influenced by the media Adopt if practical and has been successful in practice Jumps in when sees “everybody” is doing it Waits until forced to adopt
  11. 11. 11brightspot strategy | University of Minnesota 3. Consider Rogers’ 5 factors of adoption 1.  Observability: can I see someone use/interact with it? 2.  Triability: How easy is it to try out? 3.  Complexity: how easy is it to understand? 4.  Compatibility: how compatible is it with what I’m already using? 5.  Relative advantage: what advantage does it have over what I’m already using? Diffusion of Innovations
  12. 12. 12brightspot strategy | University of Minnesota 4. Recognize that “story is strategy” “’Companies that don’t have a clearly articulated story don’t have a clear and well thought-out strategy,’ says Horowitz. ‘The company story is the company strategy.’” “The Work+ program integrates the university’s technology, training and facilities expertise in a way that enables colleges and units to redesign their workplace into a variety spaces…to be as effective as possible.”
  13. 13. 13brightspot strategy | University of Minnesota discussion
  14. 14. 14brightspot strategy | University of Minnesota What’s an example of the successful adoption of a new idea* on your campus? Why did it work? How about a failed example? discussion: *could be a new budgeting process, space concept, organizational structure, etc
  15. 15. 15brightspot strategy | University of Minnesota workplace strategy
  16. 16. 16brightspot strategy | University of Minnesota Using space strategically to achieve organizational goals 1.  Applying an evidence-based, holistic approach that considers space, people, workflow, technology and culture 2.  Aligning Facilities, IT, HR, and Finance units 3.  Key concepts: workstyles, neighborhoods, and designing for change how do we define workplace strategy?
  17. 17. 17brightspot strategy | University of Minnesota Using work styles to understand needs and allocate space and technology workstyles Photo: Canvas NYC Photo: Facebook HQ Photo: ANZ Melbourne
  18. 18. 18brightspot strategy | University of Minnesota organizing spaces into neighborhoods that bring together a mix of spaces neighborhoods Photo: Canvas NYC Photo: Facebook HQ Photo: ANZ Melbourne
  19. 19. 19brightspot strategy | University of Minnesota designing for change in teams, work patterns, workflow, and culture designing for change Photo: Canvas NYC Photo: Facebook HQ Photo: ANZ Melbourne
  20. 20. 20brightspot strategy | University of Minnesota strategy example: typical academic workplace prioritize individual work and symbolize status
  21. 21. 21brightspot strategy | University of Minnesota strategy example: Technical University Delft walk the talk, share space and share ideas
  22. 22. 22brightspot strategy | University of Minnesota strategy example: Google promote interaction through density & amenities
  23. 23. 23brightspot strategy | University of Minnesota discussion
  24. 24. 24brightspot strategy | University of Minnesota Do you have a workplace strategy? If so, what is it? Who “owns” or leads that strategy? discussion:
  25. 25. 25brightspot strategy | University of Minnesota case studies
  26. 26. 26brightspot strategy | University of Minnesota Minnesota’s Story
  27. 27. 27brightspot strategy | University of Minnesota •  Origins of our efforts and the course it set us on •  Approach •  3 examples •  Lessons learned (or still learning) a journey towards…?
  28. 28. 28brightspot strategy | University of Minnesota •  Space is a critical tool for supporting academic programs. •  Space is a major University expense. •  Construction / Renovation •  Operations & Maintenance •  Utilities •  Interest on Debt •  Lease Payments •  Space is the most significant contributor to the University’s carbon footprint. space utilization initiative
  29. 29. 29brightspot strategy | University of Minnesota The University … •  has more space than it can afford to operate, maintain and support, with limited options for new funding sources. •  is attempting to operate and maintain the current inventory with insufficient resources, resulting in a lower overall space quality and a poor alignment with purpose. •  provides inadequate tools and incentives to maximize the efficient use of space or limit the addition of new space. •  has not adapted its work spaces to match how people work. current context
  30. 30. 30brightspot strategy | University of Minnesota 1.  Aligned: The University should provide the correct type, quality, and quantity of space required for people and programs to function effectively. 2.  Sustainable: The University should not have more space than it can afford to operate, maintain, and support. 3.  Managed: The University should provide tools and incentives for maximizing the efficiency and effectiveness of its space resources. space utilization principles
  31. 31. 31brightspot strategy | University of Minnesota Source:  Space  Management  –  Fall  2011  Snapshot   Categorized  by  HEGIS  use  code.   ASF  shown  =  GSF  –  Building  walls  and  FM  support  spaces  (mechanical  rooms,  restrooms,  hallways  ,elevator  shaJs  etc.)   DefiniNons  at:  hOp://   USE ASF % 03  OFFICE  SPACE 3,581,388 27% 02  LABORATORIES 2,426,313 18% 05  SPECIAL  USE  FACILITIES 1,559,919 12% 09  RESIDENTIAL 1,521,780 11% 07  SUPPORT  FACILITIES 1,441,886 11% 06  GENERAL  USE  FACILITIES 970,838 7% 04  STUDY  FACILITIES 697,403 5% 01  CLASSROOMS 554,717 4% 08  HEALTH  CARE  (HUMAN  OR  ANIMAL  M 423,314 3% 00  UNUSED  SPACE 315,557 2% Grand  Total 13,493,115 UMN space utilization
  32. 32. 32brightspot strategy | University of Minnesota The Space Utilization Initiative is about developing a comprehensive institutional space management strategy: •  Focus capital investment on renewal / replacement by emphasizing renewal, replacement, and space efficiency projects in capital plans •  Develop new space management tools through UM Analytics and the new Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) system. •  Implement Work+ to align space with how people work today and reduce the demand for net new space •  Continue efforts to decommission obsolete buildings and terminate leases space utilization initiative
  33. 33. 33brightspot strategy | University of Minnesota Promote alternative workspace strategies in new and renovated facilities work+ overview
  34. 34. 34brightspot strategy | University of Minnesota The Work+ program brings together the space, technology, and training needed for productive work and provides a variety of places within "neighborhood" spaces rather than assigning 1 space per person. Integration of space, HR, and IT No longer 1 person tied to 1 desk/office Not a "work from home" program work+ workplace changes X Space HR IT
  35. 35. 35brightspot strategy | University of Minnesota work+ process Key phase leaders Assemble project team and initiate communications plan. Phases & approximate duration (depends on project scale) PROJECT INITIATION DATA GATHERING & ANALYSIS DESIGN CONCEPTING IMPLEMENTATION EVALUATION ~ 1 - 2 weeks ~ 2 - 4 weeks ~ 4 - 8 weeks ~ 4 - 6 weeks ~ 8 - 10 weeks Gather and analyze data to create workstyle assignments & design brief. Approve design brief and concept; develop staff and managers’ skills & knowledge to work in new ways. Support transition to new workplace. Evaluate success of project and support continual improvement. Work+ Program Team Project Unit Team Design Team Project Support
  36. 36. 36brightspot strategy | University of Minnesota work+ tools Interviews Online Surveys Workshops Walkthroughs Questionnaires Workstyles Space Programs Adjacencies Reviews Post-Occupancy
  37. 37. 37brightspot strategy | University of Minnesota Work+ doesn’t just expect people to work differently, it gives them the tools and training to do so. work+ training Understanding how to organize your day to work wherever you are most productive Assessing current filing practices and options and then creating future filing Learning how to set SMART goals to guide work and measure progress among a mobile workforce Learning tools for voice comms, data, and collaboration for activity-based working Collectively establishing the norms and culture for a space in order to make the most of it New Ways of Working Workplace Storage Managing Flexible Teams Workplace Technology Workplace Norms & Protocols
  38. 38. 38brightspot strategy | University of Minnesota •  9,000 ASF reconfiguration in the Donhowe Building resulting in 36% increase in space utilization. Vacates space in Donhowe and McNamara for other University use. •  Utilizes new employee engagement tools and mobile work training. •  Provide a variety of spaces to support different types of work, especially collaboration, quiet, and ad-hoc activities. •  Rejuvenates space that has not been refreshed for ~ 20 years. OHR Work+ Demonstration Project I
  39. 39. 39brightspot strategy | University of Minnesota OHR Work+ finished space
  40. 40. 40brightspot strategy | University of Minnesota •  More energizing workplace: satisfaction with the energy of the workplace went from 27% to 58% (but distractions also up slightly, by 17%) •  Sense of “One OHR” increased, with more inter- department collaboration, coming somewhat at expense of intra-department cohesion •  Perceived importance of working with colleagues increased, from 25% ranking it first to 45% ranking in first •  Staff spend their time differently, for instance ~33% less time at desk & ~50% more time collaborating informally •  Staff are saving time, including getting peer and manager feedback faster – down 69% from peers and 84% from managers OHR work+ post-occupancy evaluation
  41. 41. 41brightspot strategy | University of Minnesota •  In Process •  Remaining 3 floors of the Donhowe Building •  4 Vice Presidential Units (University Services, Finance, IT & HR) •  9 major sub-units Work+ Demonstration Project II
  42. 42. 42brightspot strategy | University of Minnesota University of Minnesota Rochester
  43. 43. 43brightspot strategy | University of Minnesota University of Minnesota Rochester
  44. 44. 44brightspot strategy | University of Minnesota Old New Implications Physical Facilities Flexible space Less physical space Fixed place employment Work and learn anywhere More fluid work force Classroom instruction Technology-based collaborative learning More classes, more irregular hours and modes of access Fixed environment Variable an ever-changing environment Multiple, non-fixed and non- traditional locations trends in future facility requirements It’s all about learning!
  45. 45. 45brightspot strategy | University of Minnesota capital plan elements •  Knit UMR spaces into downtown, made possible with technology, new teaching styles, and corresponding smaller space requirements •  Lease/outsource non-mission critical facilities in order to channel funds to a new education building and instruction
  46. 46. 46brightspot strategy | University of Minnesota location / mixed use facility •  3rd and 4th floors of University Square, a high-end mall that connects much of downtown Rochester, including through Mayo Clinic, through skywalks and underground passageways •  Private study rooms, minimal administrative offices, labs, and classrooms around a student commons areas
  47. 47. 47brightspot strategy | University of Minnesota curricular plan elements •  Multiple disciplines will use and share the same facilities •  Thematic vs. discipline-based programming •  Space supports research and instruction •  Support ever-changing informatics capabilities
  48. 48. 48brightspot strategy | University of Minnesota operation plan elements Reduce infrastructure and overhead by outsourcing: •  Student recreation •  Student health services •  Student housing and parking •  Online library •  System administrative offices
  49. 49. 49brightspot strategy | University of Minnesota workplace
  50. 50. 50brightspot strategy | University of Minnesota student / faculty interaction
  51. 51. 51brightspot strategy | University of Minnesota lessons learned
  52. 52. 52brightspot strategy | University of Minnesota lessons learned: strategies •  Start with a Workplace Strategy … •  Try it on yourself first to really understand the change •  Limit the implementation to 1 executive-level unit •  Obtain leadership support •  Include Human Resources, IT and Facilities as equals •  Don’t lead with space … space is a means. Space reduction can’t be the only goal.
  53. 53. 53brightspot strategy | University of Minnesota lessons learned: tactics Remember Rogers’ 5 Considerations Start Small, with a pilot Participatory Planning Process Recruit and Support Champions Continuously Communicate Observability Trialability Complexity Compatibility Relative advantage
  54. 54. 54brightspot strategy | University of Minnesota you’re not going to solve your space problem by treating it as a space problem
  55. 55. 55brightspot strategy | University of Minnesota questions?
  56. 56. 56brightspot strategy | University of Minnesota thanks! Brian Swanson Assistant Vice-President University Finance University of Minnesota Elliot Felix Founder brightspot strategy