Winning Through Collaboration

What an awesome thing it is to see so much awesomeness in one workspace. For those who didn’t catch the news last week, a collaboration project between two BizDojo residents has taken the first place prize in a large international design competition. This sees them winning $10 000 in prize money as well as the funding to go into “exploration phase;” to see if it is viable to put the product into full production.

Two bright sparks sitting across each other in one quiet corner of the BizDojo office happened to look into each other’s eyes and a little twinkle metaphorically whispered “we’re a match made in heaven.” Ok well, perhaps it wasn’t quite that disney-esque and magical, but it really is a quintessential tale about shared spaces and their effectiveness.

Christian Pistauer, designer extraordinaire and owner of Future-office-design.com, who specialises in office and spatial design, found out about the Herman Miller competition only a few months ago. His abilities in technical and computer aided design (CAD), while not lacking to the layman, didn’t quite reach a level where he could truly tell a story and sell a beautiful idea. Coincidentally, across from him sat a very talented Han Law from PixelPush. Han’s core strength is in 3D design and animation. As a result, Christian reached over, tapped a shoulder, and perfect partnership was born.

And what was the task at hand, you ask? There is an increasing movement in large corporate environments to create collaborative work-spaces that are agile and free-flowing. This helps bring the best minds together, and helps reduce the need for large dedicated teams to manage each individual project. However, as the movement grows, employees of said companies are expressing a lack of connection with their space. The once dedicated desk cubicle is gradually disappearing, and with it so does the normalcy of space, the photos of loved ones, the familiar knick-knacks, and the personal mess an individual learns to be comfortable with. Hence, the challenge was to create some type of change to this environment to once again create connection and ownership.

Herman Miller, one of the world’s largest furniture design and manufacturing companies, saw this as a potential entry into a new and growing marketplace. But how do you tackle a socio-cultural workplace phenomenon with furniture? To that end, they launched an international competition to address the problem. Over 120 designs were submitted from around the globe. As one may imagine, many designs were centered around modular spaces, desks that could move around and connect with others, walls that could be shifted, and so on. Christian and Han however, pushed through a concept so simple but extraordinary, that it snatched the number one spot.

 

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Thus was born Gustav, the portable, customizable office toolbox. It allows employees to always have with them…well, pretty much everything they need. It fits on standard Australasian desk sizes and into standard workplace lockers perfectly, has handles for ease of carrying, can fit standard laptop sizes, has a power port to plug into, and so on. It is essentially the familiar desk space, turned mobile.

Christian’s understanding of environments and Han’s fluent ability to bring Christian’s design to life allowed the duo to create a powerful presentation, showing not merely the design concept, but also how it changes the agile workspace. The team at Herman Miller could see vibrant images of people on the move with Gustav in hand. They saw its display on desks, and in lockers, how quickly it could be packed away, and how mobile it really was. Thorough research displayed their understanding of the human psyche, and of industrial psychological principles. This whole collaborative package saw them knock out the competition and take first place!

Why the name “Gustav”? In Christian’s words “my wife, coming from a marketing background, knew that we had to breathe life and personality into the product to allow for easier connection, unlike something stale and merely descriptive such as “The Mobile Workbox.” Furthermore, a Northern European name breathes class and charm into the product.

The BizDojo is super proud of these two co-workers that have spent over two years here individually, and came together as one united front to dominate the rest of the global competition.