Listen to: SpaceTime is Everything by Andrew Chadwick and Sabine Hoffmeister
We tend to think of space and time as two separate entities, but of course they are not. In the early twentieth century, Einstein famously combined them to construct his vision of the universe showing amongst other things that gravity was caused by the bending of SpaceTime.
Put simply, SpaceTime is the physical universe inside which we and everything else exists. It is made up of three dimensions of space and one dimension of time, although it is arguable whether time can flow in all directions at once meaning SpaceTime has at least 5 if not an infinite number of dimensions. What, therefore, is the significance of this phenomenon to the business world? How can we use our knowledge of how the universe works to ensure the ‘human factor’ is paramount and the core of ‘the lived experience’ DNA?
In our view and in the first instance it behoves the manager of the 21st century to understand how the universe works to give him or her an informed perspective on decision-making. It also offers a vision of a new multi-dimensional world where opportunity is only limited by the number of realities you can imagine.
The process has already started – for example the real world has transformed into the virtual world. It would be instructive for the reader to study what Facebook/Meta has done to see the path to the future. A future in which every laptop, iPhone, and tablet will become part of an all-encompassing metaverse and all companies will have to trade with it to secure their future. At this point in time their outside face is more of a gaming nature but with virtual avatars playing it.
How will SpaceTime create a new style of management? We will examine the possibilities inherent in the existential changes happening today. We will look at the effect of technology on humanity, and consider: What has technology done or will do to our humanity, and what challenges will we face?
If SpaceTime is the all-encompassing medium in which we live then it follows that SpaceTime methods are all inclusive too. Will SpaceTime change the way the human race works and will we become different ? Will there be a change of status? Probably not, but SpaceTime means that organisations and their structures will tend to be multi-faceted rather than linear and responsibility will be spread across age, sex, and skill groups.
The world is changing faster than ever with one shock following another in quick succession like never before – major technological advances, Brexit, the Pandemic and now War!!…….. People certainly must anticipate and adapt.
Let us look at the way in which SpaceTime affects the workplace. The concept of the SpaceTime Office is supported by six key principles:
Principle 1 Liberation of work from any fixed location
- The advent of the mobile phone and associated devices allow the owner to work from a mountain top if they so choose.
- Technology allows you to work from anywhere across the planet.
Principle 2 The Space you need for the time you need it
- Reservation introduced across all assets
Principle 3 Equal access to multiple locations
- Creation of SpaceTime estates
Principle 4 Square foot hours as measure of space time
- 30,000 square feet = 262,080,000 square foot hours per annum
Principle 5 Using technology intelligently
- Loading charge cards with millions of square foot hours is more secure than currency. User only pays for what he/she takes, and the owner can change income with small changes of rate
Principle 6 The Office as common good
- Providing excess space to the charity market enhances the public realm
The SpaceTime Office, then, is a clear response to our troubled time. It is flexible, affordable, and developable. It challenges the old norms of leases and loans that are increasingly unaffordable, permitting change in place to be achieved with little effort.
The SpaceTime concept itself is a fundamental of the universe and promises to give business a new and bold restart. Let us look at different SpaceTime ways of doing things: The Six Principles can be applied to key behaviours: thinking, learning, working, leading, communicating and living.
Here we will look at the effect of technology on humanity. What has technology done or will do to our humanity? And what challenges will we face?
New ways of thinking
From secrecy and discretion to transparency for all, from prejudice to consideration of all lateral options; these are new ways of thinking. A new mindset is key, thinking laterally instead of in straight lines and using Artificial Intelligence as your guide. Imagine the benefits of transparency!
New ways of learning and education
There is an increasing need to develop yourself and others, with focus on developing soft skills and technology to continue learning by continuing to read to be ‘state of the art’. A few very talented and knowledgeable teachers could teach a million people at one sitting. So in theory we can educate the world thanks to new SpaceTime technology. Just think what a difference 7 billion educated people would make. We could teach the whole planet – if we had the will to do so.
Educating yourself about history and current affairs is a key lesson for understanding the troubled world around us. But to do so, the content has to be really good – no propaganda – no lies! Words can hurt.
New ways of working
Working is location and time independent; using the office for ‘the SPACE you need for the TIME you need it’. Remote and flexible working, Hybrid working, home office; where it is possible to still work 24 hours per day. All space assets are managed via a single reservation system that can be controlled either centrally or locally.
Meetings real and virtual need to be set in advance, and meetings by chance will be limited. Even time for reflection, development or relaxation needs to be planned in advance. Having work and life in one location changed work life balance completely – but is this sufficiently ‘human centred’ as it is?
Companies need to perform work that is of benefit but does not necessarily attract financial gain, working in projects for common good rather than for profit will be more common place. Companies and organisations will transform into communities, from centralised power to shared responsibilities. Eco-systems will proliferate. Organisational and hierarchical structures will become flattened and new incentive schemes will be trialled.
New ways of leading
Leadership needs a ‘leadershift’, from hierarchy to serving people, installing trust rather than micromanagement and control. People want to be involved and participate in decision-making and sharing in success. Putting people first, being humble, empathetic, and compassionate in your style of leadership, rather than dictatorial and narcissistic is essential, as well as removing toxic behaviour that leads to resignation by employees. We need a more holistic approach to recruiting people that recognises the qualities of the applicants in terms of attitude and more general skills will make for recruiting success.
New ways of communicating
Technology now permits virtual communication on a much greater scale than pre-pandemic. Social media has become the most important means of communication in business and made it faster and easier to connect with others throughout the world. The power of imagery transmitted around the world is not to be underestimated. And on the other hand, face-to-face communication has the addition of social contact and body language to inform meaning. Exactly the same words can mean something completely different depending on how they are said, and if there is a misunderstanding you have to cope with the consequences in terms of the feelings and reactions of the other party, although maybe it was always this risky.
New ways of living
The crisis and pandemic have forced us to rethink our purpose in life, to explore our abilities and possibilities. The effect of crises is to make people very conscious of the way they live. Technology has intervened to a level never experienced before. The phone has become the principal instrument of life, and its loss is unbearable because it contains our complete existence.
Still we are able to control the way we live and to make it a better place for us and other people and to have a broader appreciation of the world in general. Making time for non-business activities, sports, social activities and relaxation will be a balancing factor. Designing and creating your way of life and not living on autopilot will make it much more fulfilling.
As we said at the start of this article, SpaceTime is everything – it is the physical universe inside which we and everything else exists. Technology has impacted our concept of SpaceTime and has pointed the way for the changes in our lives that we are now experiencing. SpaceTime is the new controller of our world. SpaceTime technology should be designed to support our psychological and physical needs to create ‘digital well-being’. With unlimited possibilities it is even more necessary to set barriers and priorities wisely.
The SpaceTime world is simply a recognition of the quality of life – it is not a construct – and it should remain a pleasant place to be in. The aspiration is to create this world, to value this world, and make it sustainable.
Choose your time and space wisely, become conscious with a conscience to make a difference.
The Lived Experience, Working Life in the 21st Century:
This is one of a series of 13 practical articles on leadership written by the Future Work Forum (FWF) for the European Foundation for Management Development (EFMD), an accreditation body for business schools globally with a membership of 30,000 management professionals. Our partners have contributed to a special edition of their Global Focus magazine.
About the Future Work Forum:
The FWF exists to explore the working world of tomorrow. It is a think tank and network of highly skilled experts who share a passion to create a better, more humanised workplace, inspiring a new generation of leaders.