Exploring the colorful world of NEW WORK

A recap of the XING & IXDS New Work Sessions & Meetup, Düsseldorf
“Happiness doesn’t result from what we get but from what we give.” With this quote from Ben Carson, Simon Hörauf, our Business Design Director, perfectly kicked off his presentation about the gamification of the workplace at the IXDS New Work Meetup in Düsseldorf, and helped set the tone as we got in future of work headspace for the next edition of the XING New Work Sessions. 
IXDS NEW WORK Meetup – Learning the beauty of balance

After a great event in Stuttgart in May, it was Düsseldorf’s turn to welcome us and the XING team for another day (and night) deep diving into topics around the future of work. As event partners, we organized a special meetup the evening before the official event, for anyone who was already looking to get a grasp of new work. In a lounge atmosphere, we listened to impulse talks by four wonderful speakers. As we’re always keen to look at new work from different views, we invited speakers with entirely different backgrounds to give us their personal insights and perspectives on what new work actually means to them.

One of speakers was Simone Ashoff from Good School Hamburg, a school teaching digital knowledge to professionals (e.g. via the so-called HR Safari). She spoke about the organization’s way of dealing with the uncertainty of digital transformation.

“We know there will be new knowledge in the future, but we don’t know what kind of knowledge it will be,” she said in her own words. And yes, who really knows?!

As a contrast to the digital point of view, Jonathan Funke threw us back into thoughts around the meaning of life and an ideal 50:50 combination of mental and physical work. He talked about his project Stadt, Land, Flow, which empowers people to do work with their hands and brain in order to keep the right balance. As a student, he has lived this philosophy himself by working part-time at a local bakery. He suggested that the audience also looks for their “craft” business perfect match.  

“Creating something like bread with your own hands is really fulfilling when your day is usually filled with a lot of brainwork,” he said.

Again changing the perspective, this time looking at new work from an organizational point of view, Paul Herwarth von Bittenfeld and Kai Rödiger rounded up the evening by speaking about the collaborative approach of //SEIBERT/MEDIA. The work philosophy of the internet service provider, which focuses on agile software development, is based on non-formal hierarchies, autonomous team decisions and a transparent salary model. Under the company motto “It doesn’t work this way” doesn’t exist, they gave us some great examples of how their agile processes of collaboration result in more success and, again, more happiness.  

XING NEW WORK Session – Lessons in transformation

The following day the XING New Work Session commenced with a programme full of true new work inspiration and spirit. It was kicked off with a keynote by Bodo Janssen, CEO of Upstalsboom. You could literally see shining eyes everywhere, with people inspired and keen to delve into the day to soak up  more new work insights and experiences.

The day continued with four different streams (kind of like breakout sessions), one of which was organized by our IXDS new work experts. Our stream featured Google’s Klaus-Peter Fett, who started off by giving insights into the Google approach to innovation, and emphasized the challenge that “innovation can actually never mean perfection”. He was addressing the missing error in culture in many German companies. Another issue in his opinion is that in organizations “knowledge is incentivized, rather than the actual sharing of that knowledge within the organization,” which he says is much more important to be successful.

Verena Augustin spoke about the importance of tools and IoT when it comes to the future of work, and how IXDS is currently dealing with this challenge in our vision for self-organized organisms.

Stating the case for how the way we work influences our traditional physical workspace, Anna Süster-Volquardsen, founder of online magazine DEAR WORK, prompted a discussion about the transformation of the workplace.

“Do we really need our own desk and chair?” She questioned, saying that opinions were quite diverse regarding fixed or mobile workplaces or no physical workplace at all. This nicely showed the different perspectives around the future of work and its components.

Again looking at a broader picture, Uwe Lübbermann, central coordinator at Premium Cola, presented how his company builds strong networks with its suppliers, clients and even competitors, all working closely together, hand in hand. With values like equal pay for all company members, almost no differentiation between internal and external partners, and a profit goal of zero, he demonstrated a very human networking approach and the importance of the contribution of each member of this network – again, leading to more overall happiness.

The day rounded up with a panel discussion on transformation, involving Verena alongside director Luzia Schmid and Sophia von Rundstedt, CEO at v. Rundstedt & Partner GmbH.

The event definitely did result in 1.5 days of inspiration and happiness! Thank you to XING and Design Offices for hosting, and to all the great people who contributed thought-provoking insights for a happy work-life future for all of us – or as Verena’s said in the panel discussion: "It’s all about individual contributions."