British Council for Offices Launches NextGen Competition: Imagining the Office of 2035


The Enterprise Center, University of East Anglia, Norwich / Architype; ‘Best of the Best’ winner of BCO's 2016 Awards. Image Courtesy of British Council for Offices

The Enterprise Center, University of East Anglia, Norwich / Architype; ‘Best of the Best’ winner of BCO's 2016 Awards. Image Courtesy of British Council for Offices

The British Council for Offices (BCO) has launched the BCO NextGen competition, this initiative advised by Malcolm Reading Consultants.

Competitors are asked to consider ‘the office of 2035: what it will look like, and how it will support the way we will work’.  The free-to-enter competition is seeking forward-thinking and innovative responses, challenging the conventionalities of today’s workplaces and anticipating future needs.

Established in 1990, the BCO is Britain’s leading forum for the discussion and debate of issues affecting the office sector, with a mission to research, develop and communicate best practice in all aspects of the industry.

The NextGen programme allows the BCO to mentor the next generation of professionals – designers, agents, developers, consultants and others – and provides a platform for emerging talent to share their ideas.

With social, economic, cultural and technological progress changing the way people work, employers and workers’ expectations are in flux.  Ubiquitous and instantaneous technology; a growing interest in health and wellbeing; a greater desire for organisational flexibility; and an increased awareness of individuals’ needs are now all competing factors within the workplace.

David Hamilton, Director of Projects at MRC and competition adviser, said: 

“The social contract between employers and workers is under intense scrutiny at present: working lives are longer, jobs are vulnerable to automation – not to say robots – and creative fulfilment is increasingly sought by employees.

“All of which prompts the question: how can we creatively respond to rapid cultural change and new work patterns?  How can we shape office environments that are humane and flexible and dynamic?  This is the essential challenge of the competition: we want to see fresh analyses and inventive solutions that could change people’s lives for the better.”

Multi-disciplinary teams of between two and four members are invited to enter the competition. Individuals are also encouraged to register, and will receive the support of the BCO to form teams. Each team must contain a minimum number of BCO members – full details available on the BCO NextGen website.  

Competitors will need to submit a 15-20 page report, including at least 10 images, graphics and diagrams and with additional media (including a five minute video) encouraged. The deadline for entry to the competition is Friday 6 October 2017.

During the competition period, teams will be invited to participate in ‘hackathons’ led by senior industry figures, and will be offered the opportunity to receive one-on-one mentoring and advice from an expert in a relevant field. A number of regional launch events are planned for the coming weeks, to promote the competition to young professionals throughout the UK.

Entries will be judged by an expert panel drawn from a range of disciplines and including David Hamilton.  The winning and highly commended teams will be announced at the BCO NextGen Awards Dinner on Wednesday 15 November. 

The competition’s first prize is an invitation for the winning team to attend the 2018 BCO Conference in Berlin, including tickets to all conference events, flights, hotel accommodation, and a financial contribution towards transfers and subsistence. The highly commended team will receive an invitation to an exclusive private dinner hosted by two key industry figures.

For full details of the competition, including team and submission requirements and the detailed brief, please visit the BCO NextGen competition website at http://bconextgen.co.uk/competition/. Details of the mentors and judging panel will follow.

Press release via Malcolm Reading Consultants

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