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Macquarie Group’s One Shelley Street, Sydney, Australia


A marketplace for ideas by Georgia Singleton

“The right spaces can make your hair stand on end with excitement or even seemingly slow down time... Space is part of the real time experience of learning and working.”

So, why continue teaching in spaces that are uninspiring, didactic, inefficient and depressing? Space is part of the real time experience of learning and working and can help facilitate new ways to learn and work. The trick to discovery seems to be never to ask what something looks like but to find a projection portal. This is not something from Dr Who; it’s simply a methodology that can help project our thinking ‘outside the box’ (or the lecture theatre or the office cell).

In the future, there will be high demand for staff whose job it is not to create more content but to make sense of all the content that others are creating. “Curation is the next ‘billion dollar’ opportunity … a curator is an information chemist. He or she mixes atoms together in a way to build an info-molecule. Then adds VALUE to that molecule”2, wrote Rosenbaum. The bottom line is we need a generation of curators to make the leap into the future.

The ‘creative curator’ Can we really understand what the business school of the future looks like, not only physically but how it functions?

The ‘portal’ Instead of a vision, I suggest we start with a methodology centred on the student and then link that to behaviour or activities and then, in turn, to spatial implication. We are going to explore:

I believe this applies to ways in which the next generation can start to think, or rather re-think. It is more attuned to the way our designers work and ‘idea make’, gathering large amounts of information and curating it to create a value proposition or a big idea based around design intelligence. This may be a key to unlocking the portal for the next generation of leaders, influencing the environments in which they work, socialise and learn.

Business schools may seem to look and act like any other institutional facility, but should they? Rather than building on past achievements, we should start with a model shift that looks to the future. This may sound daunting, but what if it’s a simple idea that can be achieved both economically and efficiently to produce a ‘super generation’ of global business leaders? We need to take a flying leap; the world is moving fast and the next generation of business leaders requires a dramatically different physical world to enable and unlock their potential that is the aim of the game. Physical and virtual space is a significant part of creating a platform for the future. It is a fact that people respond to physical and virtual environments. The right space can make your hair stand on end with excitement or even seem to slow down time. I have worked in some beautiful, inspirational spaces that have facilitated great design creativity which is invigorating and has a profound effect.

––What are the desired traits of the next generation business leader? ––How do they work, learn and do stuff? What are their activities and behaviours? ––What can this mean spatially? What is the architecture? If we can successfully link these traits to spatial outcomes, then these are the design portals for the future business school. So, what are the desired traits of the next generation global business leader? Peter Lee (Vice Chancellor of Southern Cross University) spelt out what he thinks tomorrow’s graduate looks like in a lecture at a recent Tertiary Education Management Conference held on the Gold Coast.1 He referenced Steven Rosenbaum’s book, Curation Nation2, as key to understanding the future of business and our informationladen world. I highly recommend this publication to anyone trying to understand the impact of the web and its ‘generation of curators’.


The next ‘Generation C’ leaders are about Content, Creativity, Connectivity and Curation. I agree with Peter Lee’s “tomorrow’s graduates”, who are: ––Big picture people ––Passionately curious ––Team smart ––Resilient ––Simple mind set ––Clear and agile communicators ––Fearless. Let’s group these traits and understand what they mean in terms of a shift in attributes and activities. This will enable us to understand what the key pedagogical and cultural shifts need to be. Only then can we ask the question: what does this mean spatially? Big picture people

06 Big picture people Characteristic shift: These students/ business leaders are not afraid to think big, filtering the detail and creating a solution. Their sub-attributes are: ––Flexibility: agility in thoughts and methodology. ––Future focus: always looking ahead. ––Positive outlook: make anything happen. ––Openness: time to think. ––Breadth: weave across many subjects. Pedagogical/cultural shift: ––The teacher’s role is a creative source, inspirational, and facilitator of new ideas. Maybe there are no lectures, just curation of information. Facilitation around seeking others opinions. ––Students will continually be encouraged to ask questions and challenge assumptions about how the world works. No lectures. ––The orchestrator needs to allow time to ponder. ––Identify the forces driving performance and think about how to improve performance. ––Watch others. ––Reassess what businesses are and what they value. ––Stay up to date on developments occurring in your unit, in other groups in the company, and in your industry overall. ––Ongoing learning by reading books, magazines, and industry reports; attending seminars; talking with experts. The student is a curator of ideas, an orchestrator and a designer of ideas. Spatial shift: Spatially this is both virtual and physical. What if a business school looks more like a design studio, with places to curate and also to ponder, absorb and reflect? Space to support asking questions and collaboration means few or no lecture theatres or didactic mode spaces.


What if it looked like a marketplace for ideas? Would there be more visual accessibility into discussions and events? Should there be areas in which to be playful? Why aren’t there pin-up spaces expressing big ideas or big screens for blogs, media and sketching? Perhaps this looks like a Google or Apple workplace? Creative spaces, inspirational, fun/playful, social, with a view. Passionately curious Characteristic shift: “I have no special talent, I am only passionately curious.” Albert Einstein1. Wanting to find an answer, find a way, find a needle in a haystack, they can orchestrate an outcome. Pedagogical/cultural shift: Teachers become directors, mentors, orchestrators. The class is a studio, the outcome is unknown. Spatial shift: Space that enables diversity: IT enabled, agile space, 24/7, food and drink, mixing, transactional space, club spaces, identity to space, the home, create a bedroom and an office. Team smart Characteristic shift: Natural collaborators work as a team and can manage people. Pedagogical/cultural shift: Teachers are facilitators. Spatial shift: No lecture theatres. Resilient Characteristic shift: Failure is natural and an acceptable part of the process. Pedagogical/cultural shift: Accepting mistakes and failure as a positive part of the process.

Simple mind set Characteristic shift: Able to gather a huge amount of information and curate it into simple and powerful ideas that others can grasp. Form a team around ideas that are collectively owned. Pedagogical/cultural shift: More collaborative and expressive teaching and working environment. Spatial shift: A curatorial environment. Can ideas be displayed in a digital environment? Learning from each other, learning wall, discussion portals, social spaces, on display. Clear and agile communicators Characteristic shift: Able to discuss anything of relevance. To filter information and communicate in a new agile way crossing disciplines and weaving cross-disciplinary ideas. Pedagogical/cultural shift: Teachers are discussion facilitators from social to intellectual discourse; boundaries are blurred. Spatial shift: Enabling technology in classrooms for different modes of discussion. All teaching spaces are collaborative and promote discussion. The boundaries are blurred between teaching and learning and social spaces. Networked spaces, visually and virtually contiguous. Beehive, ant farm, socially connected work and learning environments. Fearless Characteristic shift: I can do/change anything attitude. Pedagogical/cultural shift: Teachers enable and orchestrate free form thinking and celebrate the new ideas.

Spatial shift: Creative spaces , spaces that resemble good urban social spaces.

1 The Business School - Issues for a New Future | Page 5

Building 5 Block A&B, University of Technology Sydney (UTS), Australia

06 Spatial shift: Our students are fast, smart and fun, so why can’t the space reflect the personality of the student? Agile spaces can be easily manoeuvred, ownership can be taken by anyone, including industry and community. There are some big shifts here, especially in the role of the teacher as a curator, facilitator and communicator. The student is the centre of the environment and is agile. Strategic university vision However, it’s not only about the student experience in the classroom. How do we also align to the strategic vision of the campus? What do the academic and research spaces look like? How do we integrate community and industry to generate a new typology of the campus?

Again, it’s about methodology. The question is not, ‘what does the campus look like’, but, ‘what are the shifts in the strategic direction of the campus?’ What, then, does this mean culturally? Then we can see (the portal) - what it means spatially - masterplan, architectural and interior. For example, if we distil ViceChancellor Dr Michael Spence’s white paper (The University of Sydney 2011–2015), most of the strategy can be sorted into strategic headings.2 These can then be translated to cultural shifts spatially and through architectural and virtual manoeuvres. This methodology forms a matrix of spatial shifts that can be applied to any masterplan, architecture or interior design project. The five key themes are:

Community Create an environment where community can be part of the learning experience. Industry An environment where industry can meet and collaborate with students and academics to teach and be taught. Teaching and Learning A new space for the creative curator. Research and workplace A workplace that enables collaboration, creativity and collegiality ordered around private, invited and public hubs. Sustainability and the environment What if this act of design made the world a better place?

Macquarie Group’s One Shelley Street, Sydney, Australia WOODSBAGOT.COM

The Business School - Issues for a New Future | Page 7

06 This all amounts to a matrix of design principles that will help us direct and design a business school from a tangible value proposition. Maybe the proposition is that the new business school is both physically and virtually: ––Non institutional but with identity ––Porous and connected ––With inside and outside gathering spaces ––Socially networked ––A terrain, contiguous, continuous and immersive ––A diverse playing field of spaces to learn and work. ––A home ––Global and networked ––A marketplace for ideas ––More like a design studio.

What if it looked, felt and acted more like the new d.schoo l at Stanford University (formerly the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design). In his recent paper ‘Sparks Fly’3, Mike Antonucci asks: “Can imagination be taught?” The answer to this rhetorical question is “Evidently, because the’s innovation hothouse is changing the way people think”. It employs a cross-disciplinary curriculum to help unlock creativity and design intelligence led thinking. Following are some insightful extracts into the space.

“Multidisciplinary pools of teachers then immerse them in a system of innovative thinking, with specific goals for solving practical problems. Bundled into project teams that blur all the traditional academic lines, the students who converge here focus first on reinventing themselves, then maybe the world.” Gupta says the gave him an appreciation “for small things that you do that make a huge difference in the end.” But even more fundamentally, he found a specific new confidence—a comfort level when speaking publicly to large audiences—that has been valuable in all his interactions.


IT’S A BLUR: Students from all seven schools converge at the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design for what founder David Kelley calls “radical collaborations”. WOODSBAGOT.COM

Kelley has seen many similar transformations, some emotionally intense. “We have these people who just start crying [when describing] how ‘I used to be the kind of person who didn’t have that much fun’ or ‘I used to be the kind of person who was purely analytical.’ “They’ve flipped,” Kelley says, “to some place [where] they just feel different about themselves.”

These anecdotes are evidence that the right design outcome can create an environment that supports excitement in learning and creative thinking. To help make the shift in the design of new learning environments, it is important to suspend belief in the process and not ask what the space will look like but use the tools outlined in the first part of this paper to create a process for a new design outcome. A great example of this kind of process, back in the day, was achieved during the design of the Stealth Bomber. The Stealth Bomber looked like no other aircraft had ever looked (in fact it looked more like a bat), but the designers never asked themselves what the craft was going to look like; the design came out of a rigorous process around a shift in function from flight as the main objective to the objective of stealth. There were no precedents at the time and so the design process had to be robust enough for the stakeholders to accept a new outcome. The fact is, if you ask a different question based around evidence, and apply a rigorous design process, you are likely to achieve an extraordinary outcome.

Macquarie Group’s One Shelley Street, Sydney, Australia

References 1. TEMC Conference 2011, Gold Coast. Paper by Peter Lee. 2. Rosenbaum, Steven; ‘Curation Nation.’ 3. 4. Spence, Michael; ‘University of Sydney 2011-2012 White Paper’. http:// 5. Antonucci, Mike; ‘Sparks Fly’, Stanford Alumni Magazine, March/April 2011. The Business School - Issues for a New Future | Page 9


Georgia Singleton Principal As a Principal of Woods Bagot and an education specialist, Georgia has worked on a diverse range and scale of architectural and interior design projects. She seeks to push traditional building and interior design typologies with dynamic, highly integrated and research-driven solutions. Most recently Georgia was involved with the University of Sydney’s new Business School; Australian National University’s JCSMR Redevelopment; University of Sydney’s TLC Masterplan; University of New South Wales’ engineering masterplan and Solar Research Facility; plus University of Technology Sydney’s Building 5 - Teaching and Learning Space.


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