“Broaden your horizons”

Three questions for… Trendspotter Raphael Gielgen

As Head of Research at the design firm Vitra, Trendspotter Raphael Gielgen has been looking into how corporate cultures and forms of working are changing in an increasingly digitised and globalised world. In our conversation, the expert in the future of work provides some tips on how businesses can successfully shape this transformation.

Mr Gielgen, digitisation means that the world is changing rapidly. How can businesses make their organisation fit for the future in what are supposedly uncertain times?

Gielgen: My advice to businesses is always to promote curiosity, to inspire their staff and encourage them to experiment by doing new things, to open themselves to new ideas, as well as to see their own actions in a wider context.

How, precisely, can this be achieved?

Gielgen: I advise businesses to ask themselves how they will still be relevant ten years from now, and what exactly they need to do to continue producing value in future. To get some ideas, I suggest that they surround themselves with people who have nothing to do with the organisation itself. Broaden your horizons. Open up your business. Learn from people you wouldn’t otherwise have anything to do with. Coworking spaces, for instance, are excellent for this.

Could you give us a tip on how to get the innovation processes off the ground?

Gielgen: Go on a journey through time! That always works. Think about how things could be in ten years from now. What will still exist then that already exists today, and what will be new? Your brain will then automatically get into gear, and you’ll realise that the status quo can only be a limited option.

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