This is Part 2 of a three part post called The City is the Office, by Andrew Laing, Director of Strategy at DEGW North America. Click here to read Part 1.

The shift to using mobile devices and geolocation services to obtain workspace ‘on demand’ reinforces the idea that even in this world of exploding technology, place matters more than ever. Now we have more choice!

At the WorkTech conference Larry Prusak  made a forceful argument for the value of place and space for the creation and sustenance of knowledge in communities. He believes that:

  • Space is critical for knowledge.
  • Clusters of talent and creativity are built around physically networked places (look no further than Silicon Valley).
  • There is no substitute for being there (in person).

Others argued that new technology is in fact creating rich contexts for collaboration. Nicole Yankelovich CEO of WonderBuilders showed us 3D virtual worlds in which affinity style brainstorming can be achieved virtually. The primary workspace becomes virtual.

The more significant choice is not in fact simply between working virtually or being there. Working  face to face in-situ has a richness of communication that cannot yet be matched in the virtual world. But the amount of work that involves multiple combinations of virtual and physical communication,  requires technologies that bring remote participants  a rich way to interact with physical collaboration. We also need technologies that improve the experience of working remotely for remote to remote collaboration. Some of the technologies that enable the richest forms of virtual communication are in fact reinforcing the value of place. We choose the cities and spaces that have the best technologies.  New York has little to worry about here.