Digital Workspace

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Each member of the MAIM Class of 2014 shares their individual experiences of innovation in the lead up to our Degree Show Exploiting Chaos: Innovation in the Making. Here, Ningyi ‘Jonny’ Jiang proposes theories and practical examples of innovation through cross-disciplinary and multicultural collaborations.

My work investigates digital infrastructures that facilitate team communication, innovation and project and organisational development; relationships between the workspace, people and organisations; and the future of digital workspaces and innovation.


To research these themes, I selected a small start-up organisation in London with limited financial resources for a physical workspace but a team of people working remotely. I observed, participated in and managed their activities and processes in order to investigate their perspectives of virtual workspaces. In parallel, I reviewed the evolution of workspace design by analysing the discourses of the office as it relates to work, workers and organisation. By comparing the insights from practice and literature, I was able to propose new thinking for the area of digital workspaces – a key aim of the project.


A lot of current digital software and tools in the work environment lack the holistic approach in their applications that facilitate new patterns of work. However, there are emerging demands by younger workers and organisations for new digital work environments that understand and support current management challenges, especially innovation. The evolution of office design gives us indications that there will be a new era of digital space for work in the future.


My advice to companies:

1. For companies with remote workers – remote working is a matter to be considered by organisational management. It is a complex issue and navigating it requires a good understanding of people and the organisation’s needs. Virtual management is the first thing to explore. As always, one must pay attention to innovation and new developments, as they will help anticipate changes and support successful change management, even if the process feels chaotic.


2. For companies designing digital tools – One must understand that we are embarking on a new age of digital revolution: not only may the digital technologies in ‘The Jetsons’ come true, but also deep cultural and social changes will accompany the revolution. Those cultural, social, management and development issues must be addressed properly in the design.


3. For all companies – Innovation may sound like a buzzword or cliché tagline. However, we believe innovation is vitally important. In essence it is the vital ability to see things differently in order to improve, and to try to make it happen.



To learn more about digital workspaces and Jonny’s research please join us at the upcoming MA Innovation Management Degree Show Exploiting Chaos: Innovation in the Making from 18-22 June.