The Work Hackathon event is an interdisciplinary approach to come up with ideas and to design radical alternatives on current problems considering the way we work and live. Therefore, hacking can be seen as a tool to deal with challenges and solve them by optimizing existing conditions. It has become obvious that new concepts can´t provide universal answers for every problem, but rather have to react on a contemporary state, to deconstruct processes, disrupt and transform the status quo. Hacking is no longer just a way to intervene in the digital space, but to redefine collaborative processes, objects, rooms, buildings, software tools and new civic ideas.
The most successful companies of tomorrow are driven by curiosity and creativity. It´s the turn for everything from how we learn, to how we work, where we live. By leading to a shift away from efficiency, doing the same thing over and over, only a little bit better to a brighter future. Curiosity is the fuel leading to some of the most innovative and game-changing ideas and products of the time.
Working in dynamic groups and forms has become an essential part of any knowledge economy-related company. With the amplified influence of evolving technologies on working routines and the architectural design of working environments, we have become used to continuous improvements within increasingly shorter time cycles, and never-ending life cycles of beta versions. Christina Bonnington of Wired Magazine states that »the beta designation used to mean that a product wasn’t finished. Now we know they never will be, since today we live in a Beta World... It’s an indication that (advancement - ed.) work will continue indefinitely. Companies like Microsoft and Apple have trained us to expect updates and new versions forever« (Bonnington 2013). Martin Belsky, an IBM manager, claims to have invented the term beta in 1957. IBM stopped using the alpha/beta terminology and replaced it with field tests in the 1960s. By then it was already in use by others in the field.
Co-working environments like WeWork, Beta-House, Collective Works and others already use the beta concept widely. In these environments workers are creative per se. They form a distributed quality control network and evaluate the current state of their workspace in an unending process. Since employees are aware that they work in a beta environment, which is in progress, the friction against change is lower and the ability to change is higher. The environment is recognized as a place that is not yet completed and therefore always a changing subject.
O'Reilly’s concept of Perpetual Beta (2009) – or what he refers to as the 'banana principle' – describes the keeping of software at the beta development stage for an extended or indefinite period of time. Similarly, the potency of the beta work environment lies in its simplicity to lower the friction level, to convince someone not only to change his or her behavior but also to adjust the immediate environment accordingly. As a result, the concept of permanent beta supports and represents a more instant and agile approach to develop, stage and organize work.
There is no alpha state anymore! Permanent beta will be a relief in two ways. It will relieve us from the predominant thinking of optimization, acceleration and control. It will “relieve” the buildings we work in, the areas and spaces - where we produce, create, invent and innovate - from being perfect, and control. Office spaces will not be set for any surveillance or management purpose; they will be designed for exploration and discovery. They even will not be designed anymore, as design will aim for a final state or result, an application in the end. They will be designed, and re-designed by us, and by themself, each day, again and again. Innovation will become the current mode. Learning will be an essential part of our daily “working” life. And one elementary part of the past century will disappear: the idea of becoming better.
During the Hackathon you will get the opportunity to create the »permanent beta« work environments you will need, to change your discipline, profession, as well as the company you are currently working at. The question is not, where you want to be in one year from now, or five. The question should be, where are you going to be today, and what are you going to do in the next moment. What should buildings perform? What elements should they entail, to foster a continuous learning mode that critically reflects hyper-connectivity, information floods and future educational tracks or business models?
To be a part of the Work Hackathon event in Karlsruhe, submit why you or your team (max. 5 person) want to attend. Please send a PDF file in English (1x DIN A4 page, max. 10MB) until November 20th 2018 to firstname.lastname@example.org. The PDF file should described your team, mindset and why you want to be part of it. You can add pictures and graphics to illustrate your application.
We take care to ensure completeness, corectness and being up-to-date, we can not guarantee this. Each Hackathon participant is responsible for his or her submitted ideas. This includes also any copyright violations affecting third parties resulting from these ideas.
Vitra International AG
4127 Birsfelden, Switzerland
T: +41 61 377 00 00
F: +41 61 377 15 20
For further information contact Raphael Gielgen
Vitra invites you to be
part of the sixth of 12 interdisciplinary Work Hackathon events worldwide.
The next Hackathon event will take place in Karlsruhe, Germany at the Zentrum für Kunst und Medien
Be part of the sixth
December 12th to
13th in Karlsruhe!
Submit your idea until November 20th!
As the world is in a seamless stage of changes, conceptional solutions that question the status quo and react to our technological, economic, societal and urban conditions are required.