Musings on designing experiences & (re)engineering complexity

Sep 2019

Remote, Control

Pondering a future of knowledge work, managing flow not controlling it

screenshot from Muse app beta

Thinking about a few recent projects, and a few failed ones, a piece of thought has lingered about the effectiveness of remote work. However, those who engage within remote work are existing in an asymmetrical culture, usually a few generations old, of working in a non-remote setting. Meaning, the things to unlearn in order to work effectively in remote contexts are just as impactful as the new methods and expectations we now engage within. Such a perspective is wrought with challenges, usually verbalized with the phrase “fit.” However, “flow” is probably the better term. Because working away from the boundaries of widgets, time, and place, one needs to create a different relationship with outcomes and opportunities.

Flow is something like what’s been experienced with the app Muse. This app has a premise of boards/cards; yet the strength in it seems to be when you take away the concept of document and replace it with flow. Here, the better parts of association and context get intermixed w/the facility of hypertext and ink to create something jut a bit different. Instead of conforming the reader into a structured reading, they are given a structured context, and room to read into it their own paths. This has only been explored thru testing a beta version of Muse, see their website for the full vision, and to request access to assist in testing.

There’s been some evolution of this control-to-flow concept as Avanceé has been refined. The workstation is still an iPad, yet the communication moves back and forth between hard and soft deliverables. Meaning simply, the role our behavior plays is likely more influential than the containers themselves. Some groups understand this and have literally charted a new world because of it — others are finding their way (Avanceé is the latter). Within the framing that is flow, there’s probably a different metric which needs to be attached to both work and it’s assets.

When it is redefined, what remains is less about get it to me in this format and more about enable me to make the best decisions forward. Knowledge working spaces are shifting to facilitating knowledge — we hope — and not simply repeating the tasks of turning widgets.