Human Resources

Platforms for People. How the convergence of physical and digital space design is enabling organizations to behave and grow like communities, inside and out.

Published 25 February 2020



Andy Swann

Founder/ Mirador

MAT, United Kingdom

The idea of user experience is not a new one; it has just taken far too long to be applied as a standard by businesses and organizations. When we use an app on our phones, we all expect a great user experience, driven by an intuitive interface that provides:

  • Simple, user-friendly features that benefit me.
  • A clear understanding of how to use it.
  • Reasons to return.

If we don’t get these simple basics, we stop using the app. And so it goes with organizations.

For any individual or team to do their best work, they need to be able to thrive as part of the community and have the best possible tools and environment at hand in order to do what they need to do at any given time. It’s simple and complicated at once, but let’s break it down.

The era of the user.

We all know that employees can be customers, customers can become employees and that there are a number of others (suppliers, local populations) in and around an organization who interact with it. Anyone who interacts needs to do so in the most productive way, so human-centric design is about more than just colorful sofas and ping pong tables; it’s about enabling everyone to have their best possible interaction with an organization at any given time.

It’s a platform for success.

If people are enabled to can do their best work and contribute to the organization at their optimum level, then everything else will take care of itself. Because if the platform is right, those contributions create positive impact and the business (or community) functions the way it should. Look at the way Facebook works and imagine that instead of being a social media platform, it’s an organization mapped out in front of you. Look at how it works to best fuel its own success – by enabling its community to thrive – then translate that approach to your own organizational design.

Unlocking organizations.

When we start platform thinking strategically, we start to collaborate. The overlapping of every business function required to build the platform drives new integrated approaches, which breaks down many of the previous barriers to the organization’s success. The job of the executive function is to deliver the best-functioning platform for people to thrive in their work. In effect, CEO stands for Chief Experience Officer.

This is simplifying the challenge, but strategically, if we view organizations as communities and build platforms that enable everyone involved to make their best contribution at any given time, then everyone wins. New thinking drives new approaches.

And so it is with workspaces that go beyond the physical environment. Each member of the community is connected to the organization in a different way and has different requirements to make their best contribution. Providing these requirements is essential, but breaking down the key elements to enable them goes beyond a working environment that is purely physical or digital – it’s a combination of both.

The key questions you need to answer:

  • Mission: What are we trying to achieve?
  • Mindset: What’s our current attitude?
  • Approach: How are we going about it?
  • Adoption: What’s enabling or blocking our path?
  • Tools: What do we need to achieve our mission?


We call this the Catalyst exploration and it’s an essential starting point. Way before you choose a workplace designer or select collaboration software, you need to map your user experience and plan your platform. Break down the barriers to organizational success!



Meet Andy at the

18 - 20 March 2020
Berlin, Germany