Digital Workplace Strategy and Design – Oscar Berg and Henrik Gustafsson

by | Oct 1, 2018 | Digital workplace, Reviews

It is quite probable that somewhere in the world there is the Digital Workplace Schematics Award Show. The stream of these schematics is growing to be a flood, each trying to present a highly dynamic situation in a totally static way. ‘Digital Workplace Strategy and Design’ is the perfect antidote to a surfeit of schematics. The sub-title of this 240 page book by Oscar Berg and Henrik Gustafsson is ‘A step-by-step guide how to create an empowering employee experience’. That focus on the employee experience is why this book brings reality to the digital workplace hype. At last!

I would like to start this review with the production quality. The reason for doing so is that the innate complexity of digital workplaces is addressed by a book with great language fluency and a very well thought out structure. It is so pleasing on the eye that it almost begs to be read. The chapter headings are Drivers and Challenges, Adopting a New Approach, Shifting Focus to Value Creation, Developing a Strategy and finally Designing Great Services It is of note that strategy development has to wait until Chapter 5 as there are so many other aspects of digital workplace delivery that need to be considered right at the outset.

So what is the ‘new approach’? This is what the authors have to say.

“We believe the digital workplace has to be defined in a way that separates it from a digital work environment that has not been designed holistically or with the user front and center. It needs to make clear how we should think and act to get it right. We need to see and understand the entire digital work environment from the point of view of the users in order to design it in a way that empowers them. The principles that mark out this approach are user-centered, holistic, co-creative, evidencing, a value focus, and an iterative way of working.”

This is a book that you need to sit down and read from the beginning to the end so that you appreciate the overall framework and guidance that the authors have collected through their own experience and now set down for your benefit. Then, and only then, should you restart your journey, taking it a chapter at a time and reflecting on what has been presented in the summary at the end. This is a thoughtful book that you will find speaks to you. It does not shout at you with a prescribed set of actions but sets out a framework that leads from vision to implementation and beyond. The graphics are elegant and appropriate and there is a well-constructed index.

Only Jane McConnell (NetJMC) matches the insights presented by Oscar and Henrik. The difference is that Jane is coming at it from a survey of global good practice, complementing the expertise and experience of the two authors in guiding their clients towards a digital workplace that delivers an employee experience that empowers both the individual and the organisation. For some reason the 2016 edition of the NetJMC survey is not listed in the references, which leads me to comment that the list of references misses what I would regard as some important pieces of research.

Overall this book is a pleasure to read. I will admit that there were rather too many instances during my journey through the book where my perceptions about workplace development were not just challenged but put to flight. I think you will find you have the same experience. The book is published by Unicorn Titans. Drop the title into Amazon and order it today.

Martin White