Short article in the latest Metropolis about Chronicle Books hiring a corporate anthropologist to help design new offices. It’s a quick read:
“[Her] thesis is that organizations have their own kind of invisible structure. In other words, what you see on the flowchart of a company isn’t necessarily how the work gets done,” Carabetta explains. Stephenson uses surveys, data analysis, and elaborate charts to map out networks of relations that are often hidden.
There’re the usual sorts of findings:
“Evolutionary anthropologists always talk about a line of sight. You stand up on the savannas and you’ve got to be able to see great distances,” she says. “It’s the same thing here in the work space. You’ve got to be able to see out to others and see where it is you work, why you’re working there, and who it is you can interconnect and collaborate with.”
Plus some a little bit different:
The result is a layout based on relationships rather than hierarchies, with a design meant to foster interaction at all levels
That’s interesting. Which goes stale faster: a relationship or hierarchy? Depends on the job, the business, etc. etc. I suppose. Also, could this be the start of social network inspired architecture? Sign of the times but when I read “relationship” I immediately thought social networks. How awful.