Latest Publications

Reviving my blog – again…

More and more, I feel like reviving this blog – again. Even though I am blogging at the Future Workspaces teamblog, it is also nice to have a space for personal views on work-related issues. I realize that reviving my blog would require a make-over, and time is a scarce resource at the moment. Anyway, the following game of our company is keeping me from work this morning:

Rabo Unplugged klantcase: gebruikte methodes

12182008_oostplein_0031Tijdens de Rabo Unplugged klantcase zijn verschillende methoden toegepast. Hieronder staan de verschillende methoden op een rij, om een beeld te geven van onze aanpak.

Focus! The call for singletasking

target-1As we described in this blog post, one of the key challenges for modern knowledge workers is being in flow: reaching the mental state needed to get work done for which concentration is needed. This post of WebWorkerDaily is about singletasking: focussing on one task at a time, trying to avoid interruptions of other tasks – thus increasing the possibilities for flow. The article discusses three ways to help yourself to singletask: avoid task management tools that constantly remind you of all the other things you should do, use only one tab and use only one screen.

When I need to be in flow, I also switch off my e-mail notifications, log out from Skype and Twitter and make sure my physical desktop is clean. What do you do to get in the flow?

(cross-posted on the Future Workspaces teamblog)

Is e-mail and document sharing not good enough?

economy_down_000005762377f211In the current economic state of the world it is not easy to get organizations to experiment with innovative tools to support knowledge work. Very rightfully, they may ask: “So, why are our current tools – e-mail and file sharing on a network drive – not good enough?”. The challenge lies in explaining how innovative technologies can make them work better, quicker, more efficient and with more fun. In a nice interview by Stowe Boyd with Jeff Walker and Jay Simons of Atlassian they talk about the State Of Enterprise 2.0. I especially like their conclusion that we should aim for small, kaizen-style improvements and learning from the community, and not try jumping into a mass transformation.

Cross-posted on

Evaluating the touch screen applications

IMG_7044Today was a day of evaluating the use of some of the applications we created: Buzzcuit and the two applications for the MS Surface table: the concept game and create & combine. These applications are currently all being tested at the Rabobank Utrecht. I sat down with my laptop a bit away from the gadgets, but made sure I could still see what people were doing – especially if they touched the screens.

From there, I recorded how many people approached the touch screens and how many people actually touched them. When I noticed that they were about to leave again, I approached the people and did a brief interview to find out how they used the application and how they felt about it. I also interviewed a few people who entered the room, looked at the touch screens, but did not touch them.

Some of the initial findings:

  • About 40% of the passers-by actually touched the screen of Buzzcuit.
    Many of the people who did not touch the Buzzcuit screen were not aware this was a touch screen.
  • The fact that Buzzcuit is visible from the hallway resulted in extra “traffic” to the room.
  • The option to send yourself mail from Buzzcuit needs some rework – people did not understand how the mail interface worked or expected to be able to send a personalized message.
  • The pawns we used as part of the interaction with the MS Surface table attract attention of passers-by.
  • The MS Surface applications “compete” with a series of non-functioning applications that some of the visitors already know. The fact that new applications are available needs to be advertised.
  • People are inspired by the Combine & Create application as it is one of the first examples of applications that target knowledge workers.

More to come in a few weeks – after a bit more evaluating.

Communication is good, CommUnification is better

A bit of promotion for interesting research, also posted at the teamblog:

CommUnification is a design concept conceived to address the In Sync and In Touch challenges faced by nomadic and highly mobile workers.

The project is an initiative by User-System Interaction students at the Eindhoven University of Technology. It is based on interview findings that nomadic and highly mobile workers are challenged by such problems as communication fragmentation (across multiple channels) and disregard for time zone differences.

These problems signal a disconnect between colleagues and peers, especially when in different geographic locations. After qualitative research, the team has generated a design concept, which can be seen in their video prototype. Furthermore, they seek to evaluate their concept through interviews and a currently ongoing survey.

If you would like to provide feedback via this survey, please feel free to do so!

Another list of Dutch co-working spaces

Despite what you might expect from the title, the website offers a database of co-working places in The Netherlands. Yes, the local Bagels & Beans is also in there! I did not add yet that they also provide a good place to have lunch with a 2-year-old, because that might disqualify it as a co-working space for others 😉

Does anyone know a good co-working space in Apeldoorn, preferrably at walking distance from the station? I was recently looking for one, but did not find anything…

Test from OneNote

Just a test post to see whether I can submit blog posts directly from OneNote 2007. I am currently trying out whether OneNote on my laptop and mobile device works for me as a Personal Information Management instrument. Since I do not like to have my laptop open while being in a meeting (at least in meetings with just a few people), I’m not sure whether this will replace my little (analog) notebooks.

How do you feel about taking notes from a laptop? And does OneNote do the trick for you?

First impressions of working in a professional playground

This week we officially opened our Future Workspaces team room. The philosophy of the room is that it is a flexible environment with zones that support & stimulate specific activities. We analyzed what we do as team and designed zones in the room that match these activities. The results is what we call “the professional playground”: a large room with plenty of space for brainstorming, desks for individual work, a pressure-cooker meeting space and a couple of comfortable chairs for an informal talk.

Challenges for the nomadic worker: In Sync, In Touch, In Flow

Last Friday on Elmine’s unconference we had some inspiring discussions on how our way of working and the tools we apply has affected our lives. This triggered me to finally start writing a series of blog posts on what we in Future Workspaces consider to be the main challenges for nomadic workers: being in sync, in touch and in flow.