Article by: Angelika Molk

Personalities

Interview with BOICUT: “Work feels quite different for me”

BOICUT inspired by PIXEL

The Austrian artist, BOICUT, lives and works in Vienna. His works are abstract, impulsive, colourful and quite brilliant. BOICUT has painted a special edition of PIXEL edition for Bene – with colours, shapes and lines that all somehow relate to ideas, office life and work.

How does anyone become an artist? Did you always want to paint, or was the path not quite so straightforward?
The path wasn’t quite that straight. There are some people who start drawing as kids and keep going. But it was a bit different for me; I drew a lot when I was young, but then other things got more important, like my first girlfriend and skateboarding. Then I studied in Vienna and worked in a call centre. It was only later that I studied graphic design. I wrote a dissertation about “The artist as a brand”, and that is also when I created BOICUT.

And where did it go from there?
At first I did small commissioned projects and worked at an agency. That often meant waking up at 5 in the morning, working on my own projects for a few hours and then heading into the agency. It was during this time that I had my first exhibition in London, then some work for Converse and, on my last day at the agency, I got a commission from Kaufhaus Steffl - the first big project under the name BOICUT.

Bene News

Fun instead of boredom: The Bene 2017 New Year card

New Year greeting Bene

The Bene New Year card is something quite special and new every year. Read the story behind this season’s card in our magazine.

Architecture & Design

Inspiration is three-dimensional: Welcome to the future.

Office of the Future, Dubai

It took only 17 days to build the Office of the Future. In this period, no concrete needed to be mixed, and not a single wood chip fell to the ground. The building was printed with a 6 meter high and 46 meter long 3-D printer. Fully functioning and equipped with electricity, water, telecommunications and air conditioning, it is the first office in the world to be built in this manner.

Trends

Teamwork works

PARCS

The concept of innovation is not new. However, just like the business models that are based on it, innovation is constantly evolving. The possibilities it brings and its importance are growing continuously.

Success in the 21st century is achieved differently than it was before. One can own the most successful taxi company, without owning a single car or rent  out millions of rooms in cities all over the world, without owning a single property. It is possible to be the largest trading centre worldwide, without producing a single product.

However, it is not only business models that reveal that things have changed. Our priorities have changed. We are communicating, living and working differently today than we did ten years ago. If you want your company to be successful, you have to adapt to change, keep up with it or even  overtake it. You have to be ahead of the game.
 

Innovate or die

Companies are now under a great deal of pressure to innovate. Management guru Peter Drucker summarised this situation with the phrase: “Innovate or die”. If you do not develop new approaches, or bring new momentum to the company, you will, sooner or later, be beaten by smaller, innovative new companies or start-ups. That is why innovation has been a key issue on the agenda of many companies for years now. Nevertheless, according to a study by McKinsey, 94 percent of all company directors are dissatisfied with the innovation performance of their company.

Personalities

Innovation is on the agenda: Festo

This German company is a global market leader in automation technology and industrial training. Festo AG & Co. KG in Ostfildern provides 300,000 customers from 35 different industries with pneumatic and electronic automation technology. We spoke to Christian Kubis, Director of Factory Maintenance Engineering at Festo Scharnhausen, about productivity, processes and basketball hoops.


In cooperation with Bene, you have installed four innovation rooms in your company. Why did you decide to do this?
We wanted rooms that specifically promoted innovation and creativity. We also wanted to create an environment that motivates employees to get involved and share their ideas with others.


How are these rooms received by the employees and in what way are they used?
Initially, our employees were quite sceptical. However, this changed after we had explained the rooms to them – they then understood how they could be used and how they work. Everyone who is familiar with the rooms and has already worked in them is enthusiastic.


What does innovation mean to Festo?
Innovation not only takes place in research but in all areas of the company. It does not have to be something completely new, it can also develop out of a combination of already existing ideas. The innovation process is influenced by many different aspects: employees and methods play a role, as does the organisation and the time invested. However, these are not the only factors to take into account – the ambiance and the room are also very important.

Workplace in motion: Create a dynamic office

Stand-Up Wilkhahn

Movement is healthy – everyone agrees on that: "A rolling stone gathers no moss," as the saying goes. Nevertheless, the average office worker today spends far too much time sitting. Despite the fact that there are good, creative ideas and high-quality furniture that not only make the work day more dynamic but also healthier.

Sitting at your desk hour after hour? No thanks! In a well-designed office, employees don't have to spend the entire work day sitting at their workspace. "Choose the place you need" is the motto of the modern office, as knowledge workers today can select the area best suited to the task at hand. Versatile, well-designed room solutions with a wide variety of features boost inspiration during the work day, as well as providing health benefits. Bene divides its office zones into We-places, where employees can meet and interact, Me-places, where the employee can withdraw for privacy and concentration, and Work-places, which are more conventional workspaces. It’s our vision of a dynamic office that promotes the movement of both mind and body.
 

Movement is learned

Even if the office environment provides the optimal conditions for an active work day, the following fact holds true: People are creatures of habit. For this reason, new behaviours have to be learned that complement the spatial conditions. Already established workflows and processes should be modified to include more movement. For example, one could stand up when making a phone call, discuss matters with colleagues at standing tables, and frequently change one’s location in the office.

Burkhard Remmers, Wilkhahn

Wilkhahn

Work and lifestyle on the cutting edge. In discussions with contemporary figures we review the assertions, clichés and ideals which circulate around work envi-ronments. On this occasion we chat with Burkhard Remmers, spokesman for the German furniture manufacturer Wilkhahn, about ergonomics, motion and office trends.


Wilkhahn specialises in the design of high-quality, ergonomically designed chairs and related furniture. What developments have you observed in the last few years? What have been the noticeable trends and most important innovations in the world of work, and how has Wilkhahn responded to these?
Working cultures change much more slowly than people generally think. A good example is the paperless office, which people have been predicting for over 20 years now. It is only now that the internet allows us to work practically from anywhere that the paperless concept has gained real practical relevance and led to a decrease in demand for storage furnishings. It is important to distinguish between narrowly focused, often marketing-driven fads targeted to a very small minority and actual long-term trends. Digitisation with smart technologies is one of these trends that has an impact on all of our lives. It is exciting to see smartphones, tablets and related technologies being brought out of the world of consumer electronics and into the office — even with the related security concerns and the headaches for staff in IT departments. A second trend is related to this first one: the boundary between a person’s private life and their job has grown murkier. This in turn leads to a demand for offices to be more in tune with the way people live, warmer and more liveable. Furthermore, these new technologies, and the changes they have brought in terms of how and where people work, have forced people to rethink the key strengths and competences when it comes to office buildings. These have increasingly become places for communication and cooperation, especially since focused individual work can theoretically be done anywhere you like now. And this means, too, that it is all the more important that people come together in one place for cooperative work.


It is unhealthy to spend too much time sitting down. In spite of this, we spend hours every day sitting in front of our computers. What should a good office chair provide to prevent the user from developing back pain?
We have spent the last five decades researching this very topic and transform what we have learnt into constantly updated product standards. Back in the 1970s, the first Wilkhahn study advocated a transition “from stationary sitting to mobile sitting”. Since then, it has broadly been recognised that a lack of active physical movement plays a role in almost all illnesses associated with the developed world. On the other hand, when it comes to micromotor work, sitting is an absolute necessity in ensuring the concentration and efficiency required. And finally, sitting, along with standing and lying down, is a basic natural position for our bodies to take. It is not the fact that we are sitting that is the real problem, it is how we are sitting.

225 years of Bene - a short company history, Part 2

225 years of Bene

Bene celebrates its birthday. Founded in 1790 by Michael Bene as a small carpentry workshop in Waidhofen an der Ybbs, the company has now , 225 years later, 80 subsidiaries in 37 countries. 225 years of family history, 225 years of office history, 225 years of Bene history. Happy Birthday Bene.
 

Part 2: The Bene Logo

Most people, especially in Austria, connect the Bene Logo with so-called "Bene-folders". True connoisseurs of the brand, however, know that these folders have only little to do with the core range of the office furniture manufacturer Bene. Why then are these two logos so similar?

225 years of Bene - a short company history in ten parts

225 years of Bene

Bene celebrates its birthday. Founded in 1790 by Michael Bene as a small carpentry workshop in Waidhofen an der Ybbs, the company has now , 225 years later, 80 subsidiaries in 37 countries. 225 years of family history, 225 years of office history, 225 years of Bene history. Happy Birthday Bene.
 

Part 1: The name Bene

in 1790, when Michael Bene founded the small carpentry workshop in Waidhofen an der Ybbs, he most likely did not expect that this business would still exist 225 years later at a scale which was hardly imaginable back then .

The carpentry workshop was extended more and more over the years. In 1951, the business switched to industrial production and instead of household furniture, it switched to business only office furniture. In the 1980s, the company started its internationalisation by Manfred Bene, the owner at the time. He is on the supervisory board of Bene AG today and still connected with the company.

Thomas Fundneider, Markus Peschl, TheLivingCore and University of Vienna

Thomas Fundneider, Markus Peschl

Work and lifestyle on the cutting edge. In discussions with contemporary figures we review the assertions, clichés and ideals which circulate around work environments. This time Désirée Schellerer und Angelika Molk asked Thomas Fundneider and Markus Peschl, the Knowledge and Innovation Architects, some questions. In this interview, they tell us about spaces which allow innovation and the fear of the new. Furthermore, they show us what makes an office into an oasis in the wilderness.

DI Thomas Fundneider, MBA
is Managing Director of theLivingCore and an expert for innovation and strategy. He uses his varied experience in setting up innovation culture within organisations to create sustainable impact for his clients. He also teaches at several European universities.

Univ. Prof. Dr. DI Markus F. Peschl
is Professor for the Philosophy of Science and Cognitive Science at the University of Vienna. His research focus is in the interdisciplinary area of creating knowledge in cognition, science and organisations, knowledge management, enabling spaces and (radical) innovation.


Our magazine deals this month with the topic of "New". On the one hand, "new" has a positive connotation and stands for progress, change and improvement. On the other hand, there is always also a bit of scepticism. How do you see it, specifically based on your research work?
Markus Peschl: It is a curious thing with the "new". It gives us awe and joy, yet at the same time it triggers a certain basic fear since we are suddenly confronted with something that does not fit into any of the categories known to us. You then often reach the point where you have to make a decision: Do I pursue this new thing or do I rather leave it alone. Innovators, entrepreneurs or more artistic people want to track and experience this new thing. The initial awe leads the way to more questions. This brings you closer to an understanding but also to the insight that certain things simply have to remain open, they cannot be explained. And this is exactly where the potential can be found for creatively handling these insights and making way for potential innovations.


Is there a difference between innovation and "new things"? And if so, how would you define it?
MP: Innovation is when something new is implemented into something that shows success and effect. New things that have success in their environment are innovations.

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