In a previous post, I explored the question: Is your chair your enemy?, based in part on the many recent articles, research reports, and infographics claiming that the simple act of sitting is killing you.
But I recently read David Zax’s FastCompany article, In Defense of Sitting, a humorous counter argument (“Sitting may kill you. But at least you’ll die doing something you love.”) to the widely-published judgement that standing while at task is surely the key to eternal life.
What the summer of 1975 did for sharks, what the fall of 2001 did for anthrax, the last few years have been doing for that seemingly innocuous object: the chair.
Read more on Is There a Case to Be Made for Sitting?…
When companies are very small, internal communication happens pretty naturally. You all work closely together, sharing a small space and a small number of projects, so it’s pretty easy to keep up on the news without even trying.
But the larger a company gets, the less you can take internal communication for granted. Atomic now has over 40 employees — five in Detroit and the rest split between two floors at our Grand Rapids office. We do enough projects that two people could be at Atomic for years without ever being on the same team. And since we no longer share one kitchen/snack area, and we certainly can’t all fit around one table at the Meanwhile anymore, it’s very difficult to know all of your fellow Atoms and keep tabs on what going on across the company. Because Atomic takes its culture and its commitment to transparency very seriously, this is a problem. Read more on Keep the Information Flowing: Internal Communication at Atomic Object…
On March 27, 2013 Local First held its 5th Annual Sustainable Business Conference. I was invited to speak on a panel about sustainability initiatives in business. My fellow panelists were Marcia Rapp of the Grand Rapids Community Foundation, Kris Spaulding of Brewery Vivant, and Matt VanSweden of Integrated Architecture. Bill Smith of CompuCraft was our panel’s moderator.
Participating on this panel gave me the chance to share some of the aspects of sustainability that are important to Atomic Object. I gave the audience a sense of Atomic’s strong culture and the sustainable business practices we have adopted since we opened our doors in 2001.
I won’t claim that we’ve flawlessly executed on all of our many sustainable business efforts, but experimentation and improvement trump perfection. And pragmatic beats dogmatic in our complex and dynamic business environment.
Read more on Sustainability at Atomic Object…
I’ve had an interest in 3D printing for a while, but couldn’t bring myself to drop a couple thousand dollars (or even several hundred) on a 3D printer without fully understanding their limitations or how they work. Eventually I realized other Atoms probably felt similarly, and I started gauging interest at our December SpinDown party. Read more on Atomic Object Gets a 3D Printer…
Also posted in Culture Tagged makerbot
When others said it was too risky or a hardship to be in Detroit, we saw opportunity and a chance to be involved in change. So we announced our intentions in March and officially opened a new office in June.
We’ve made our home in downtown Detroit on Randolph Street. It’s not your typical office space — triangular shape, exposed brick walls, lots of old-fashioned windows, and fun. We keep an open floor plan so we can arrange furniture as needed and have plenty of writing space on the walls. It’s an environment that naturally keeps the focus on software projects and the community. It’s also a stone’s throw from Detroit’s major theaters, concerts halls, and new sports arenas.
Read more on Atomic’s Investment in Detroit Is Already Paying Big Dividends…
New Technologies, New Behaviors is a research summary recently published by Herman Miller. I found it to be an interesting review of three specific tech trends and the impact they are having on our use patterns and workplaces:
In early 2011, for the first time in history, smart phones outsold personal computers. In fact, by February of 2012, 88 percent of the U.S. population carried a mobile phone. Between December of 2011 and January of 2012, the number of adults who owned a tablet computer nearly doubled, and tablets will likely outsell laptops within the next five years.
Unified Communication Channels
The proliferation of technological devices and applications in the workplace has had the paradoxical effect of actually creating more barriers to communication, at least in the short-term. With tablets, smartphones, laptops, email, instant messaging, video, and social networks, people have many ways to get in touch with each other. But not all the devices, apps, and services are able to talk with each other.
Natural Forms of Interface
Natural user interfaces (NUI), allow people to interact with technology in many of the same ways they interact with people: through speech, gesture, and touch.
New user interfaces are not only transforming the way we interact with our devices, but also the ways in which we interact with each other. Researchers are finding that “the increased ability for natural expressions of behavior, such as gesture and posture, extend the possibilities for communication and collaboration.”
Read more on Technology Trends, Use Patterns & Place…
Have you ever found yourself working with people who make getting anything done a real pain? Or have you worked on teams where disagreements and personalities make progress difficult?
In technology professions, we often focus our continued professional development on emerging technologies, better process, or new tools related to our discipline. We bring our knowledge and intellect to bear during collaborative problem solving situations but usually allow interpersonal communication dynamics to unfold naturally.
I suspect many others, like me, avoid addressing team members that make collaboration difficult. We believe it’s impossible to bring up subjects like: “I think you don’t care,” or “You seem to have a hidden agenda,” or “Why don’t you trust me?” without causing a meltdown. We silently bear our burden and try to push through with our work. We might occasionally complain to a sympathetic ear who nods in agreement with our story of suffering a “jerk” or “moron.”
Read more on Dealing with Bad Behavior and Broken Communication in Teams…