This week we’re looking at big ideas. Not gimmicky programmes claiming to be the solution to all your work woes, but more fundamental ideas about how we change the way we do work, who gets to do what work, and the place of work in our lives.
Here are your five Friday reads:
JP Morgan announced a new initiative, Pencils Down, encouraging all employees, whether junior analysts or senior directors, to take some time to chill out. Like, your whole weekend to chill out. If it sticks, Pencils Down will represent a dramatic shift in the firm’s culture of overwork and high achievement.
I hate open offices almost as much as I hate buzzwords. The logic of open office plans is that they supposedly make collaboration much easier (and slacking much harder) – it’s taken as gospel that more collaboration is better. But what if that’s not true? Where is the data, asks The Economist?
“[C]ollaboration is much easier to measure than “deep work”: any fool can record how many people post messages on Slack or speak up in meetings, whereas it can take years to discover whether somebody who is sitting alone in an office is producing a breakthrough or twiddling his thumbs.”
Innovation, says HBR, is moving out of the C suite and into, well, the rest of the company. This is less innovation as a directive or a top down plan, and more innovation as an openness to change and experimentation at every level of the business. This change is being pushed by “innovation trainers,” who ensure that all new hires are ready to collaborate and value innovation – so, HR!
Increasing diversity in tech is about more than hiring – it’s also about shifting the balance of funding and power. FastCompany profiled several black female venture capitalists who are changing the shape of the tech landscape.
KPMG CEO Lynne Doughtie sat down with Business Insider to discuss the importance of diverse workplaces and helping more women make it into senior leadership. What’s refreshing about Doughtie is that she doesn’t see this as a simple matter of leaning in – she recognizes that women have had their confidence chipped away at by disappointment and social pressures. She says that women in leadership have a responsibility to mentor and support younger women.