There are two new posts, both lengthy, by me this week on the Headshift Blog –
Excerpt: "…I've long been fascinated with Celebration, the town created by Disney
in Florida, and other examples of modern, purpose built towns and
suburbs. At Celebration, which I've both read about
and visited, planners set out to correct many of the problems they'd
observed in modern American suburbs – primarily the privatisation of
community, where families were disconnected from their neighbours by
large gardens, a car centric lifestyle, shopping in distant shopping
malls and other features typical of modern life. The first thing you
notice, when visiting Celebration, is that amenities such as shops, the
school and parkland are all located at the centre of the town. Homes
were, at least in the initial phases of the development, located close
to the centre, with pavements made deliberately wide and roads narrow
to encourage residents to walk into town. Unlike typical American
suburbs with large gardens, both front and back, separating the homes
of residents, gardens in Celebration were kept small, with houses
located close to the front of the plots they were built on. Every house
also has a covered front porch to encourage people to spend time
outside, close to where neighbours might be passing by, making the
neighbourhood both feel safer and encouraging the sort of daily
familiarity that often leads to the sort of random discussions that
often lead, in time, to new friendships.
When we build social
propositions online, we try to think about many of the same things.
What are the features and spaces that all users will want or need to
use? How can we build familarity between users who may or may not have
previous contact with each other? How do we support positive behaviours
that support use cases we want to encourage?…"
And, a second post, Making boundaries deliberately porous with social tools
Excerpt: "Sometimes, what goes on behind the firewall needs to – for legal, competitive, regulatory or confidentiality reasons – stay there, but it often does make sense to bring the outside in, and expose some processes, people and ideas where there is a business case to doing so. Social media – we usually call it social tools here at Headshift – can be the bridge that enables this to happen.
The approach reminds me, to some extent, of the architectural ideas championed by American Prairie School, of which Frank Lloyd Wright's work provides the most well known examples. In many of the properties he designed, Wright used locally quarried stone to build walls and other structures that are visible both inside and outside the home, seamlessly connecting the two and blending into the natural surroundings. Doors can often be opened to balconies to extend living space, which up until this time had usually been internal, outside. At Fallingwater, probably his most famous work, he built a home on top of a waterfall, filling the building with the sight and sounds of water crashing down beneath – and through – the structure.
The work we're doing to transform businesses into more socially calibrated entities often blurs the boundaries, as in Wright's work, between the outside and inside."