The British Council for Offices (BCO) recently launched a rather intriguing competition, in which those involved are tasked with envisaging the office of the future, more specifically the office of the year 2035. Participants are asked to define “what [the office of the future] will look like, and how it will support the way we will work”.

The competition is completely free to enter, and seeks “forward-thinking and innovative responses, challenging the conventionalities of today’s workplaces and anticipating future needs”. The BCO are hoping that the NextGen programme, of which the competition is a crucial early component, will allow them to “mentor the next generation of professional – designers, agents, developers, consultants and others - and provide a platform for emerging talent to share their ideas”.

Social, economic, cultural, and technological factors each drive the office environment towards change, as cited by the announcement which read, “Ubiquitous and instantaneous technology; a growing interest in health and wellbeing; a greater desire for organisational flexibility; and an increased awareness of individual’s needs are now all competing factors within the workplace”.

As such, the competition’s query may be more difficult to answer than you may initially expect, as various factors compete for dominance in the shifting office landscape.

As for the competition itself, the invitation is open to teams of 2-4 members, with each team requiring the inclusion of a minimum number of BCO members. Individuals are also able to register, at which point the BCO will provide assistance in forming a team. Further details of the requirements for entry can be found on their website.

Once registered in the competition, teams must submit a 10-15 page report including at least 10 different images, graphics or diagrams. Additional media, such as a short video, are also encouraged but not required. Teams will also be invited to participate in hackathons during the competition period, which will be led by reputable industry figures. They will also receive expert advice and one-to-one mentoring if desired.

Entries will be judged by a varied panel brought together from a range of industries. It is these judges who will then decide which team receives the top prize of an invitation to attend the 2018 BCO Conference in Berlin, including tickets to all conference events, flights (from the UK only), hotel accommodation, and a financial contribution towards transfers and expenses.

The deadline for entries to the completion is Friday 6 October, with the winner being announced at the BCO NextGen Awards Dinner on Wednesday 15 November.

Sam Bonson

Sam is an aspiring novelist with a passion for fantasy and crime thrillers. He is currently working as a content writer, journalist & editor in an attempt to expand his horizons.
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