Rethinking the Workplace
Turning Leadership Aspirations into Everyday Moments

An introduction to Touchline

Touchline is our proprietary human-centred design tool for identifying and exploiting the ways in which human experience is influenced by contextual factors, including the set up of the environment, technology, and ways of working.

While we typically assume people’s thoughts, emotions and actions are based on their own choices, there is a very well established distinction in the field of psychology between “attributional” explanations for human behaviour (e.g. they are diligent, or motivated, or talented) and “situational” explanations (e.g. they are equipped with the right tools, given the right opportunities, provided with adequate trust and inspiration, given the right prompting).

Touchline Interaction

We experience the power of situational elements constantly in every day experiences: feeling creative in a café, motivated at the gym, and perhaps a little intimidated in our manager’s office. There are powerful forces at play in each of these situations.

Touchline maps these forces and makes them available to use intentionally. Specifically, the tool works with three layers to an environment (e.g. an office, retail space, or classroom). These are called the three ‘Touchlines’: Physical (any physical feature of a particular space), Information (digital or analogue media for the flow of information, Understanding (the assumptions people bring to the context).

The tool hones in on combinations of elements across these three layers that can work together to promote particular behaviours or experiences, described in the form of ‘moments’.

Aspirations. The Big Eight

From our research on workplace cultural architecture, we have identified eight aspirations for which leaders strive in the workplace, using the Touchline model as our own enigma decoding machine.

In our book 'Rethinking the Workplace', we study how the eight aspirations should shape decision making about the workplace.
How the Collaboration paradigm shifts is not always characterised by dramatic business moments. The real magic might instead come in minor packages that build up tremendous impact over time.
Innovation can take the form of new big ideas, but also small moments of change and progress. Once the innovation engine starts, unmanaged it can overheat with too many new ideas.
Cost Control
Cost-control aspirations can come to life in many small ways that add up to a big number. Creating an awareness of how small decisions or actions can make a significant impact to the bottom line is central to building a cost-control culture.
The pace of change in your business will be specific to your world. Understanding and designing a change velocity that suits your organisation is an important step in shaping your change culture.
Health & Wellbeing
Health and wellbeing extends beyond physical health. To be fully immersed in the welfare of your workplace, all aspects of wellness need to be considered.
Give employees the right tools and encourage trust as the management and cultural centrepiece. Take away the stress of worrying about ‘being present’ then employees can truly focus on the task at hand, with purpose and without distraction.
As the business world grapples with the engagement dilemma, one of the central questions raised by leaders was that the concept of maintaining a shared purpose would be under threat with diminished physical presence.
A flexible working environment, where employers focus on output rather than input, gives rise to enhancing diversity and inclusivity, opening up enhanced opportunities.