The only appealing thing about arriving in Melbourne on a wet Sunday evening was I was spending four nights in the same place! Although I had visited Australia’s Second City on a number of occasions over the years this visit gave me the opportunity to have a proper look around. I left with a lot of new experiences and much more aware of all the city has to offer. It certainly lives up to City Council’s ambition of being a smart city.
In contrast to Sydney the city is a planned urban environment with lots of space for expansion. Overall, the greater Melbourne metro area is home to circa 4.5 people and it was interesting to learn that within it are 7 of Australia’s top ten growth areas. The CBD itself anchored on the bank of the river Yarra is laid out on a grid pattern and is an easy city to navigate. In 2007 the size of the CBD effectively doubled with the inclusion of the Docklands area. The city has lots of interesting places to explore such as Southbank and Fletcher Street/Federation Square; made all the easier by the free tram ride available in the central zone. One interesting point of note from me is that there are very few if any underground car parks. It seems that Melbourne’s subsoil is mainly composed of mud!
Part my visit focused on looking round the wide cross-section of examples of agile or activity-based working. I was struck by the scale of take-up of this new form of office working and the volumes of workers actively working in a non-traditional manner. It was interesting to see how some of the early adopters have evolved if not expanded their agile working initiatives, since my last visit . I also discovered that this smart working approach is not only the preserve of the retail banking sector but other industries and the public sector have embraced it.
Over the coming weeks I plan to delve into this in more detail.
The centrepiece of my visit saw me facilitating a Corenet Global mini symposium where the theme was– is the future of work really all about the workplace? Thanks to my friend Chris Alcock and Corenet Australia for organising this event. It was interesting to gauge the reaction of the 120+ audience to my view that for the most part we are looking at the workplace through the wrong end of a telescope! The world café discussion helped participants realise that everybody has a different point of view. Regardless of which of the tribes of CRE, consulting, broking, design, contracting, developing, facilities management or investing one belongs to. Hopefully participants grasped the key take away;- how can bricks and mortar keep up with the level of change we are experiencing? The outputs from the event will be the subject of further blogposts and for starters one of the attendees Maxine Bazeley summed it up nicely in her blogpost – change at the speed of change.
I left Melbourne wiser, better informed about the state of play on the smart working scene and encouraged that there are further conversations to be had which are truly not about place in isolation.