Activity Based Working - ABW
12/10/2014 - 21:06

A little over a week ago, my team at work got together to explore trends for Activity Based Working, ABW. The format we used is something we do every other Friday after lunch, we call it KIP: “Kreativa Idéprocesser”, which translates to English as Creative Idea Processes. We take 20 minutes to describe a design problem, work out a solution with a designated process and present the solution to the group. After Friday´s KIP, I took the results and hung it on the pin board, waiting for the ”right time” to write about it.

Yesterday, a Friday without KIP, one our team members, Christian, gave us a rundown on a course he attended. He finished up by showing a film on what motivates people to do creative things. The film had a surprising conclusion: We think better and are more creative when we do it on our own time – for free.

This morning, I read an article about Kinnevik Group’s new Managing Director, Lorenzo Grabau. His view on IT is that it gives us the possibility of having more free time. The problem is just that we don´t use the time we’ve gained for anything creative.

These events I’ve just described, besides happening in the same week, are in some way related. But since this entry is about ABW, how are they related to trends in ABW?

The results from our KIP gave us the following results:
1. Companies want the look of ABW. The trend: The office should look more attractive, like a living room.
2. Different types of work stations that express different atmospheres give employees the possibility to choose where to work, following their mood. The trend: The office should give space to how we feel.
3. The office should have different types of workstations, or even intelligent workstations that remind us to stand up more often. The trend: The office should provide more of the movement our bodies need in a day.

What strikes me is that the first three events and our three results about ABW also tie together. My team at work use KIP to find better solutions than what we came up with on our own. Where studies show that we create on our free time, someone else thinks we waste our time when we could be creative. Our KIP told us that our offices should be homey, cater to our feelings and make us healthier. The common denominator for all of these thoughts seems to be: An unexpected change in the way we think, or just simply: Question what we have and how we use it!

If we didn’t question how we work, we wouldn´t do exercises using creative idea processes, we wouldn’t bother to see a film that contends we think better on our free time, or recognized the idea that we have lots of free time that we should use for better things than social media. If the trend scoop for today is to question what you have and how you use it, create a more attractive workplace, give it places to be with different atmospheres and attitudes and make it more body-friendly. Make an unexpected change, and with a twist, as when I wrote this entry – do it on your free time.


Film on motivation:
Article on Lorenzo Grabau:  Tidningen Weekend, nummer 40, 17 oktober 2014.


/Jimmie McFarland
Arkitekt SIR/MSA
Strategisk Arkitektur


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