Mobile Initiative Lab--Workshopping Together with Clients Concepts around Current and Future Modes of Work

The Mobile Initiative Lab serves as a venue for the collaborative creation of current and future modes of work. It was launched on October 26, 2015 at the Fujitsu Trusted Cloud Square showroom in Hamamatsucho, Tokyo.

The Fujitsu Journal team visited the Mobile Initiative Lab shortly after its launch. Read all about the collaborative creation workshop experience and plans for its future below.

A Digital Wall and Tablets for All: the Mobile Initiative Lab, the Ultimate Teamwork Space

The first thing that strikes you as you enter the Lab is the huge screen that takes up an entire wall. This is the digital wall, a huge touch-enabled surface where a multitude of drawings and pictures mounted on cards float gently as if on a vast ocean. Every seat has its own tablet, and the room is equipped with mobile scanners and a modern telepresence system. The Mobile Innovation Lab is an ICT-driven space for workshopping ideas that represents the embodiment of the future of collaborative work.

Considerable attention has been paid to the interior finish of the Mobile Innovation Lab, with soft lighting, wood paneling and pleasant background music creating a relaxed feel designed to promote frank and open discussion by clients, who may be unsure of how to begin the task of introducing new modes of work or in need of inspiration in the form of new ideas and suggestions.

Left: Inside the Mobile Initiative Lab  Right: The Lab is equipped with the latest telepresence system

Use Concept Cards as a Means of Fleshing out Ideas

So without further ado, let’s talk about the workshop itself!

The standard workshop runs as a two-hour program. It began with an overview of the 7,000 completed installations and 300 new ideas that have been generated. A combination of client success stories and the findings of in-house trials was used to illustrate some of the key concepts behind Fujitsu’s vision of future modes of work and spell out the ingredients for success.

The first half of the workshop explored idealized scenarios for three different settings: at the office, at home, and on the move. The best scenarios—those with a promising suggestion accompanied by a striking illustration—were selected from among more than 300 “inspiration cards” displayed on the digital wall. These included obvious efficiency improvements such as “a tablet for every employee” and “automatically generated meeting records” as well as stress relief ideas such as aromatherapy and a tatami mat room for relaxing. There were even some left-of-center proposals such as jogging inside the office and holding meetings while walking. Participants were able to nominate a card by tapping it and dragging it into place, which naturally led to discussion among participants. Through the process of translating ideas into words and using these to promote discussion, concepts that had been only vaguely sketched out were gradually fleshed out and given form.

Left: Inspiration cards with ideas and illustrations  Right: Participants can tap on a card to enlarge and send it instantly to their tablet

Identifying Important Issues through In-depth Discussions of Cards

Cards are sent to a “vision sketch” on the wall where ideas are sorted, grouped and presented for discussion

Participants tap and hold on cards on the digital wall to send them instantly to a “vision sketch” on a large screen, a new and easy way to share and organize ideas. By displaying all of the selected cards, the vision sketch encourages fruitful and considered discussion, as participants ask each other about the reasoning behind their choices and identify the challenges associated with achieving the goal.

A single card can be used for group discussion to identify goals and objectives as well as existing issues and challenges. By exchanging ideas and volunteering opinions and suggestions, participants can share their understanding of the issues.

Vision Sketch as an Idealized Scenario for Workplaces of the Future

Participants debate the importance and classification of each card on the tablet. Through discussion they arrive at a shared vision

The final task to complete the vision sketch involved classifying the selected cards into three categories: office, home and mobile. Tablets were used to make changes to the vision sketch on the big screen, such as shifting cards around or changing their size.

You can see the finished vision sketch below.

Through in-depth discussion of idealized scenarios, the group was able to generate specific ideas for the workplace of the future and develop a shared appreciation of the challenges ahead.

The second half of the workshop focused on the workplace of today and the implications of the Internet of Things (IoT). A similar process was employed, where participants were asked to consider what might be necessary to introduce new modes of working. A selection of cards was displayed depicting ICT, technology and other elements needed to facilitate the introduction of new modes of work. Participants nominated the cards that best represented their ideal workplace scenarios of 2020, and used these to create a second vision sketch.

Vision sketch for the future workplace and IoT

Conclusions

The workshop was an interesting and informative experience in exploring concepts around current and future modes of working.
In the space of just two short hours, we considered the fundamental issue of how people do their work, in terms of both behaviors and physical materials. The workshop helped us to form a clearer picture of how to address key questions. Namely, “What are we aiming for?” and “What do we need to do and when do we need to do it to achieve our vision?”