Why collaboration is the future of work and what this means for designers going forward

It is during the two-hour commute to his San Francisco office that Oliver Wenz, director of user experience at Cisco Systems, first begins pondering how fundamentally flawed the North American system of work is.

A self-described non-traditional worker, Wenz despises conventional offices and the day-to-day lifestyle that comes with them. He sees the energy of the commute as “a complete waste of a lot of brains that sit there in a chasm of being unable to do anything else.” He says it’s ecologically and economically “just wrong.”

He is instead drawn to this new world of work where collaboration reigns supreme and creativity and innovation are not forced to fit into the confines of a 9-to-5 work day, a siloed job, or a tiny, segregated cubicle. He turns to companies like Google as an example and sees the tech industry as the leader of the pack, questioning the conventions of the typical office and creating spaces that weren’t seen in the decades before.

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