Here’s a piece from The Atlantic that iterates on ideas in my post on the value of face time. The issue: how much face time is needed for productivity? Is proximity needed, and why?

The answer pointed to here is that it depends on the type of productivity. If it’s personal in that you are dealing with clients or writing a column for a magazine then go for your life in being remote.

But if collaboration is in order don’t bet on technology to get your group creativity on: “the communication technology offering the fastest, cheapest, and highest bandwidth connection is – for the moment anyway – still the office.”

The example of collaborative efficiency given is the forced proximity of an aeroplane cockpit where pilots hardly need to talk to be in synchronicity and on top of a problem. Flying an aeroplane by email communication from remote points, by contrast, is not a good idea.

It does seem there is something magical, or magic-producing, about people being closer together. That something lies in proximity of complex interactions, intuitions, in familiarity, and in being able to make instant adjustments. Seems to be on the right track. To be inspired, to create magical things, mostly we need to be together.

I’ve just spent two days with 16 of Fremantle Media’s leaders. This great entertainment company’s dream is “to be the place Creatives call home.” Their focus is on “creating irresistible entertainment” (The Young Pope, American Gods, Deutschland 83, The XX Factor, American Idol etc etc). They were unanimous…connecting creativity needs people to be in the room together.

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Kevin Roberts

Kevin Roberts is founder of Red Rose Consulting; business leader and educator; author and speaker; adviser on marketing, creative thinking and leadership.


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