Category Flexible Work Environments

Finding Meaning Naturally : An Interview with Jeannette Hanna

Jeannette Hanna is one of the brightest brand strategists I have known in my professional career. We first met when I interviewed for a position at Spencer, Francey, Peters in Toronto. My impression of the company was a smart, laser-focused company integrating organizational design, brand strategy and identity systems. Jeannette had a lot to do with this impression presents herself as thoughtful, infusing intelligence into conversations about the purpose and focus of branded systems. She is also an American that has become a cross-cultural translator between two countries that often are seen as the same (Canada and the United States).

Since the first time we met, Jeannette is now part of Trajectory, a brand consultancy that continues to create sustainable brands in a world of commoditization. Strong intellectual scaffolding around purpose, goals, and actions is what Jeannette thinks and consults about. These efforts led her to co-author Ikonica, A Field Guide to Canada’s Brandscape, the first systematic look Canadian brands and their cultural distinctions. Hanna’s thesis in the book – that culture, commerce and community mores are highly inter-dependent – transcends the Canadian context.

Are We Programmed to Work?

As human beings are also animals, to manage one million animals gives me a headache.
Terry Gou, Chairman, Foxconn

That startling quote was in an article from the New York Times about the proliferation of robots in manufacturing and distribution centers. This proliferation is accelerating due to the increase in sophistication, programmability, miniaturization, and integration of vision recognition capabilities.

Curated Co-Working Environments : The next level

There was a recent story on National Public Radio highlighting the increase in independent workers and their desire to find just-in-time workspaces. Now there is a trend for curated co-working – or vetting independent workers with an eye to create a collaborative culture where a diversity of skills could create new collaborations – and new value.

Since the economy has accepted the increase in perm-temps and temporary workers to augment full-time capacity – four trends have accelerated this move to independent workers:

• increased efficiencies in business and automation has required less workers that can create more output;
• distribution of powerful digital technologies and SAAS/PAAS platforms allows individuals to have access to the same infrastructure as larger businesses;
• the proliferation of broadband networks allows access to these platforms through a number of digital devices;
• the rise of temporary workspaces, both official like Regus, and unofficial like coffee shops

These four trends has allowed for unprecedented flexibility for independent workers to be very competitive and effective and allowed employers to benefit from the experience and out-of-the-box productivity of independent workers to be up and running immediately.