In his role as Global Head of Knowledge and Sustainability at Hassell Studio, Mark Bray FAIM has never been afraid to think outside the square.
“My history of leadership is I’ve done some radical things,” says Bray.
“At my last company we had 20 black chairs in a board room and I put in a nice quality green chair which represented the client.
“It wasn’t necessarily to make the client sit there when they came in but rather to make people think about the client in meetings.
“You tend to get very insular and inward facing during meetings so the idea of the chair was make people look up and say ‘What’s the client think?’
“It’s just a simple prompt to get people thinking differently.
“When clients came in and asked, ‘What’s the green chair?’ and we said ‘That’s you’, they loved that.”
Bray, who will present at AIM’s Masterclass ‘The Future of Work: Leading in Disrupted Times’ in Brisbane on June 28 and Sydney on July 28, has his own clear vision of what makes Utopia in a workplace.
“Let’s say it’s a medium to large size company, Utopia is about a few drivers,” says Bray.
First, the workplace. It has to be a place that has different ways of working. It has to have great breakout space so you can get away from your desk.
It must have the right meeting room environments, both large and small.
If you do certain activities in a business then there has to be spaces available for you to do it.
But the argument against activity-based working is that just because I walk to the innovation space doesn’t mean I am going to be innovative in my thinking.
We are about to do a research program based on having two rooms that are exactly the same – one with ‘Meeting Room 1’ on the door and the other with ‘Innovation Space’ on the door.
“The question is, does that mean your actual behaviour changes because people go into a space where they think they should be more innovative?”