The storyboard shows a person presumably in private, having a Bavarian breakfast while listening to loud music. What we haven’t been made aware of yet is that the scenario is in fact taking place in an open space at his workplace. His co-workers are visibly disturbed by the loud music and odor. Not wanting to address this privately, a co-worker is opening up a tool called Solvy, to draft an issue regarding the current disturbance and is then uploading it anonymously. A lot of fellow co-workers are relating to the issue and thus are upvoting and commenting on it, which is showcased by the red light seen on the mood indicator. Some users are leaving possible solutions to the problem, such as setting up a separate room for people to indulge in their Bavarian culture. The solution that received the biggest amount of upvotes is then getting implemented.
Open Space makes you unhappy? Don’t worry use Solvy.
Solvy is a tool, which allows employees to anonymously address problems, concerns and worries in their workspace.
Users are able to share problems through posts which others then can upvote, comment or even suggest solutions for. To show users how severe a problem is, a mood indicator changes its colors according to the importance of that problem which is decided by the amount of upvotes it received.
During our research we identified a common problem amongst offices with open workspaces, which was: “Employees don’t address problems due to the lack of room and fear of consequences.”
Solvy creates that missing space, which enables people to talk more openly about problems without having to fear negative reactions. The tool therefore lowers ones’ inhibition threshold. It also encourages users to propose solutions and collectively find the ones, that will meet the general consent through the upvoting feature.
A way to improve the tool could be establishing rules on what users are allowed to post, in order to avoid cyber bullying and spam. Appointing community moderators could be another method to monitor the posts for a peaceful environment.
OfficeMaps is an online tool, which provides
information about the location of employees, primarily developed for
businesses, who have implemented the concept of “New Work”.
The interface shows an officemap and where the employees,
in form of avatars, are located. Each employee has a status, like “Home
Office”, “in office”, “in meeting”, “out of
How does it work?
The workers are tracked automatically through
card-sensors in doorways. For exact localization, the employee can scan their
card at their respective workplace, if they choose not to, their avatar is only
shown in the room they’re currently in. Only teammates can view their locations
and if desired the location can also not be shared at all and has to be
requested if needed. There is also the possibility to use relaxation rooms,
where employees are not tracked.
OfficeMaps satisfies the need to find coworkers fast
and uncomplicated in an open space workplace.
Their privacy is respected as well, as the scan on the
respective workspace is optional and the location can only be seen by
teammates. Furthermore, if an employee doesn’t want to share their whereabouts,
the information has to be requested for it to be shared.
Calendars could be integrated in OfficeMaps. Meetings
and workshops could be added automatically. That could also allow the workers
to request meetings.
The avatar could also show the mood of the employee,
for example if they’re stressed or tired, their coworkers know to not disturb
Smart Wall is a unique way to lower the noise level in an Open Office without compromising the benefits of an Open Office.
How does it work?
The glass of Smart Wall is equipped with state-of-the-art noise-cancelling technology, which significantly reduces noise levels with anti-sound waves. Thanks to its wheels, it can be set up effortlessly anywhere in the office and then easily stowed away again. In addition, it is possible to switch from simple glass to milk glass at the touch of a button. Also, Smart Wall can be used as an additional display.
Effortless set up
⮞ An acoustic but not spatial separation
Smart Wall can be used as an additional display for own purposes or to share your screen with other colleagues.
After conducting several interviews with people from different professional fields who work in open-spaces, we came up with three insights. The insight we focused on is: “due to an open room design, there are no inhibitions to address someone but inhibitions to reject someone and that disturbs others”.
Our solution for the insight is a flexible wall made of glass, which treats through various options not only one of our insights. One of these options is to make the glass milky which solves our second insight, through mutual control you feel observed and this worsens the atmosphere but increases productivity. However, the main task of the wall is to reduce the noise level in the room and create a pleasant working atmosphere for each employee in each individual working position. In order to visualize our idea of the “Smart Wall” and to present the functions in a comprehensible way, we have created the storyboard shown above.
We created a tool for knowledge workers, like freelancers or employees, who manage their time themselves. We call it TrueTime. The Main Focus is on Work-Life-Balance. We created TrueTime for you, an individual who struggle to manage your time. Some people work without breaks, others take breaks without working. TrueTime will change it. Generally speaking, TrueTime is a tool that helps you to balance your working time and free time. Nobody should work more than they can handle. Exactly as everyone should work as much as they can.
At the beginning you have to do a personality test just like every other user. Thus, we determine a first approximation of your working method. We record when you work and when you take a break using various techniques. State-of-the-art technology analyses the way you work and compares it with the results of your personality test. TrueTime automatically creates a perfect work plan for the next few weeks. You have a different plan for one day and can’t work? No problem! TrueTime analyzes your calendar and does not plan any work on such days.
With TrueTime we enable you to generate your perfect work-life balance. You don’t have to worry so much about when you work. You can now focus on from where you work. TrueTime is your smart assistant, you’ll always carry with you.
This is Tom, a knowledge worker who loves to spend time at the beach. Enjoying the calming sound of the waves, he totally forgets about his duties. Luckily, „True Time“ reminds him that he has been chilling three days in a row at the beach without doing anything for his job. Tom, who obviously is that „I’m gonna work three days and nights straight, then get back to the beach and do nothing“ person doesn’t know yet, that he’d be much more productive if he had a healthier work-life balance. Luckily „True Time“ helps him to organize his time through the weeks to achieve a better quality of life.
The storyboard shows Karl going to work. As he’s entering the office, the card is scanned automatically by built-in sensors in the doorway. Now OfficeMaps knows that Karl is situated in the building. Every workplace is equipped with a card-scanner, where the workers can scan their card and therefore be visible for OfficeMaps. Otherwise OfficeMaps only shows which room they’re working in and not their exact workplace. Karl decided to share his location with his coworkers. If someone is looking for Karl, they can simply use the search-function on OfficeMaps. On the storyboard, we see a customer asking for Karl at the front desk, the secretary searching for Karl’s location on OfficeMaps and then communicating the information to the customer. With the provided instruction, the client can easily find Karl in the office building.
In our video we show our solution to the following problem: “How might we reduce the noise level for workers in a coworking space?”
In open spaces there are a lot of different noises that disrupt the employees’ concentration. Pen-clicking, moving chairs, people typing on keyboards, phone calls, music and loud conversations are just a few of them.
It was on the basis of these problems that we launched the “Leaf” project.
Leaf is an artificial intelligence which looks like a real houseplant. It provides a quiet and pleasant working environment by moving to the touch points in the room where the noise level is highest. From there, Leaf absorbs the extra sound. This allows employees in the vicinity to concentrate and work undisturbed.
In addition, Leaf’s color-changing ability is intended to draw attention to rising noise levels. At higher levels, the leaves change color from green to yellow and red. This feature is designed to help employees realize that they are too loud and should speak more quietly in order to return the plant to its original state and not disturb their colleagues.
A further advantage of Leaf is that it converts the absorbed sound into energy to supply itself and therefore requires no further power connection.
Leaf – the noise behind.
Another idea, which we could not cover due to the limited time frame, would have been the detection of odors. Just like a real plant, Leaf could provide fresh air by absorbing disturbing smells from certain food or drinks.
Based on the insights we gained from our interviews, we came to the following conclusion: “Too many people in an office massively reduce productivity and concentration”.
Employees are often distracted from their current task by a variety of background noises. Conversations only one table further away already lead to a reduced ability to concentrate and therefore interrupt a focused work environment. (Fig. 1). Our prototype in the form of an ordinary houseplant should help to solve this problem. Based on previously defined touch points, the plant moves to the largest source of disturbance in the room (Fig. 2). The resulting sound is absorbed by the plant and ensures that employees can concentrate again in their surroundings (Fig. 3). The sound is converted into energy so that no additional power source is required (Fig. 5).
Another feature is that the leaves can change their color. Depending on the volume, the leaves turn from green to yellow and then to red to inform employees of the current noise level (Fig. 6). This level is displayed in dB on the pot of the houseplant (Fig. 4).