Archive: Feb 2016

Capital State

Previously, the surfacing of this well-worn topic would spark a discussion about how other large British cities could take on the capital at its own game. However, this audience reflected a sense of recognition that London is the capital and always will be. So where does this leave the UK’s secondary cities?

The acceptance of London’s dominance is certainly borne out by the numbers. PricewaterhouseCoopers’s forecast for the UK’s economy says: “London and the South East continue to lead the recovery, with average growth of around 3% in 2015-16.” It adds that, “all other UK regions should also register growth” over the period – though only of around 1.6-2.4% per annum.

Yet just when there appears to be new acceptance of London’s pre-eminence, a number of government moves aim to boost the economies of our other large cities. Chancellor George Osborne’s ‘northern powerhouse’ strategy aims to ‘close the gap between north and south’. By improving transport links between Manchester, Leeds, Liverpool and Sheffield he hopes to combine the strengths and activities of these cities to form an economic unit capable of competing at a higher level than the cities would do acting alone.

So is the British attitude to the hierarchy of cities just wrong?

We could take inspiration from the US, where there is less of a sense that all cities are competing with New York City and more of a feeling of a variety of urban centres, each with their own particular character: The movie industry gives Los Angeles its personality, while Silicon Valley is the tech Mecca and Boston is known as an intellectual and medical centre.

Germany exemplifies this too, with economic hotspots distributed around the country: The seat of government is in Berlin, finance is focused within Frankfurt, business in Dusseldorf, Cologne is the media hub and Hamburg’s strength is its major port.

So if (so-called?) secondary cities take the opportunities that they now have to – instead of worrying about competing with London – go their own way, they can carve out strong, individual identities which offer an interesting alternative to London. Not only will this lift the cities themselves, as places to live, work and do business, but it will add immeasurably to the richness of the UK plc offer.

For a full round up of the Mix Inspired event click here

Sustainability at the Heart of BW’s 2016 Projects

Given Generation’s focus on dedicated, long-term investing and integrated sustainability research it is no surprise that this ethos is reflected in their office environment. They approached BW to expand their elegant Air Street office in London’s West End last year, as they wanted a trusted partner who bought into their vision of embedded sustainability and commitment to responsible citizenship.

Sustainability is key corporate focus for BW which is why we are also proud to announce that we are working on a brand new project with Etsy, Inc. which will be the first in the UK to aim for a LBC certification.

Both project teams are very excited about making their clients’ office visions a reality over the upcoming weeks and making their mark in the industry. We will try and share some office visuals on our company LinkedIn page once both projects are complete.

Generation Investment Management LLP

  • Duration: 12 weeks
  • Architect: Aros architects
  • M&E: Medland Metropolis

Personalities for the 21st Century

This is not the first time a recent study has highlighted the different personality types we find in a modern office environment.

Dr Judith Orloff from UCLA has identified the various divisive characters that so many of us have to encounter in the office jungle on a daily basis, with tips on how to best deal with their behaviour.

Intelligent life forms live in groups and part of the reason (beyond the issues of support, survival and emotional fulfilment) we find the behaviour of others so fascinating is because it gives us social context, helping us understand, reason and reconcile our own place in the collective hierarchy.

Progressive businesses understand the value in acknowledging the different personality types that they employ, matching the right people to the right roles and ensuring there is balance amongst the workforce. Getting this right leads to happier and more fulfilled employees who are likely to be more productive and better for the business.

But are the models progressive businesses use reductive?

Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is the most widely used method to measure personality in the workplace with over 2.5 million people taking the test annually and 89 of the Fortune 100 companies using the 93-question assessment tool. This method has served many businesses very well for over 70 years, however at BW we are challenging its suitability for the modern world in a White Paper due to be released in March 2016.

We know that personnel and facilities are the top expenses for most companies and they need to complement each other. But as technological innovation transforms our workspaces, hours, and practices at an unprecedented rate of change, the dynamic between people and place is becoming increasingly complex. Myers-Briggs that was developed in 1942 does not factor in this evolution.

As the relationship between individuals, organisations, and workspaces is being redefined, it is critical to consider how we can unlock greater potential for different personality types going forward. BW is proposing a new Enneagram with compelling potential for workplace application. Literally meaning ‘nine types’, it is a typology approach to personality, presenting nine core types or patterns of behaviour and thinking.

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