In November 2018, a cooperation agreement was signed with the renowned Senseable City Lab of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to help conceptually shape the establishment and development of the new innovation campus. The MIT Senseable City Lab from Cambridge will support LabCampus as a research partner initially over a period of three years to develop the campus into an innovative smart city.
The idea is to offer people and companies an ideal urban environment in which to work out and develop promising product and service innovations as efficiently and creatively as possible, and above all to test them directly on site.
YEAR 3 Innovating Munich
How can recreational areas be used optimally? Three teams of the Senseable City Lab asked themselves how digital technologies can be used to better experience spaces - such as LabCampus - and allow creativity to emerge there. In the third year of our collaboration with MIT, each of the teams has come up with their two best ideas for making life on campus even more valuable.
Can the best spots to work at LabCampus be found more quickly with digital help? Sometimes you need a quiet spot to focus your work, sometimes you're looking for random encounters to get inspired. The application RUHE uses sensors to measure the noise level in the public areas of the building and makes suggestions to residents via the community platform based on their preferences.
How can we promote informal networking with playful elements? With the app wARu - short for Where are you? - you don't receive messages, but search for them on campus. Similar to a scavenger hunt, you only find out the content of the message once you've found it. Using a group function, you can even solve puzzles together and break down the messages. A great way to meet new people outside of meetings!
It is well known that the well-being of employees is directly reflected in their performance. But how can we find out how residents are doing and support them? The solution could be a smart elevator: It measures the stress level of the people who ride from floor to floor - provided they have agreed to the service - and uses the data to make recommendations to adjust their behavior.
The lobby is the flagship of any office building. But how does it become a place of interaction? Agora, the marketplace in ancient Greece, was the inspiration for the idea: Back then, the agora was used for referendums. Today, the lobby can be used for this purpose. If a company wants to ask for an opinion, it can gather the residents there to raise its questions. The floor of the lobby is marked by different colored LED tiles, and depending on which color area you are moving on, you give your answer.
Share knowledge and project ideas? Sounds like a no-go at first glance, but it can help if you're not making progress with an idea and need feedback from the community. Collaborative corridors could be the solution: Project teams project their questions and challenges on the walls of the publicly accessible corridors. Anyone who passes by can look at the problem and contribute their input to the solution. A content management system collects all contributions and plays them back to the team.
How can residents be helped in their search for contacts? The basis is various seating groups in the outdoor areas of the campus. Here, people come together just like at a campfire to talk and discuss. Artificial intelligence recognizes the conversation topics that take place there and feeds the information into the Social Bubble app. Anyone who wants to meet people and have good conversations searches the app for the most interesting round and joins them.
What will need to be considered by employers in the future when designing their office space? What do working environments need to look like in order to strengthen employee loyalty to their company? And are the Corona-related restrictions on collaboration causing a long-term change in the way people think? - these are all questions that we asked ourselves in the second year of our cooperation with MIT and addressed together in exciting workshops.
Over the past few decades, the way we work has changed drastically, and with it our working environment. While little communication was necessary in the old days and hierarchical structures prevailed, the collective became more and more important with the digital transformation. Nevertheless, individuals continued to focus on their specific area of expertise, which meant that creativity and cross-disciplinary collaboration often fell by the wayside. Today, multiplied by the consequences of Covid-19, among other things, we understand that flexibility and interaction are essential success factors that must be promoted with the help of appropriately structured work environments in order to innovate more successfully in the future. This is because the working environment can influence results by either activating or limiting them.
How has an environment to be designed that stimulates the creativity of the individual, facilitates collaboration, also across industries, and ultimately increases productivity? We discussed these questions in a workshop with external partners, but also within the LabCampus team.
In a new working world, it is no longer sufficient to offer only functional office facilities. We need to follow up theoretical visions with concrete activities, change the way we work and create places that not only meet individual skills, wishes and needs. In the future, we will need agile space concepts where people not only want to work, but where they can also socialize, discover new things and, above all, enjoy being there. Some companies are already implementing exciting concepts based on this premise.
Year 1 Munich Senseable City Guide
Building on the expressionist art movement "DER BLAUE REITER" this idea proposes using art to promote social interaction. At REITER, autonomous vehicles and street furniture exchange data to create digital art landscapes. Interactive display units distributed around campus encourage residents to create a work of art that is visualized in real time on passing vehicles. Why we like this idea? It combines Munich's avant-garde artistic tradition with the city's strength in technological development - and that's exactly what we're aiming for with LabCampus, too!
Perhaps one day, residents will be able to simply create a profile, rent a garden, choose their desired plants, use predictive systems to control water levels and temperature, and determine what is grown and eaten in the restaurants and cafes on campus. Businesses decide whether they want to get their hands dirty or simply let a robot do the work. Employees can water the plants even if they work from home. It doesn't take a genius to see the metaphor behind the idea: LabCampus is all about growing together.
In its most complex form, Skyface aims to create a spatial experience by merging and visualizing large data sets. A simple scan of a boarding pass, for example, could one day activate a projection of individually generated visualizations glowing in the sky. More simply applied and expressed, Skyface is an art installation of outsized scale that reminds residents every day of LabCampus' role: connecting people around innovation.
Soundflux does just that, using sensors embedded in the environment to evaluate noise levels. Water fountains placed across campus can respond to the data provided, offsetting distracting noises with the sound of bubbling water. What excites us about this idea? It represents a wonderful opportunity to improve quality of life through technology. And it combines elements of nature with human interaction and space.