New BCG NY office to create higher collision coefficient

18 December 2015

BCG New York is moving into the brand new 10 Hudson Yards 53 story skyscraper, occupying floors 42-47. The new space will have an open plan configuration with collaboration in mind. Key to the new design is to double the number of chance ‘collisions’ between staff throughout their daily activities. These collisions will, according to the firm’s New York Managing Partner Ross Love, increase productivity, efficiency and inspirational thinking.

Hudson Yards
New York’s Hudson Yards re-development project was created in lieu of the proposed West Side Stadium, after the city lost its 2012 Summer Olympic bid. The commercial development, the largest of its kind in the US, is a joint venture by the New York City Department of City Planning and Metropolitan Transportation Authority. The development involves the creation of 16 skyscrapers, which contain an area of 1,180,000m2. The total area is divided into 560,000m2 for commercial office space; 70,000m2 for a retail centre with two levels of restaurants, cafes, markets and bars, a hotel and a cultural space; and around 5,000 residences, a school and a large 5.7ha public open space.

Hudson Yards

The new development also comes with opportunities for new entrants into the office areas, which are large, open and sunny. And as decisions about hard lines and cubicles have not yet been made, companies are given complete design freedom.

Open office space
The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) also signed for office space within 10 Hudson Yards, at the corner of 10th Avenue and 30th Street. The firm’s New York office, with around 500 staff, will make a move into the 42nd to 47th floors, covering 18,000m2, sometime around autumn 2016.

BCG’s New York management started looking for new office space in the summer of this year, after its current Park Avenue location, with its old style management and operational configuration of closed-door offices, became noticeably obsolete. Ross Love, BCG’s New York Managing Partner, remarks that “People were in the usual offices with windows, and the space has lots of columns. We wanted to create the office of the future, and that meant not the old shutting your door and working type environment, but big open spaces.”

Ross love, BCG

The office of the future needed to conform to a number of factors and Love interviewed his staff about what would make for an ideal office format for them, as he reasons that “People should be the author of their own space.” Further considerations included looking at commuting schedules, as well as considering recent discoveries surrounding work process.

Collaboration collisions
While the firm considered a number of options, including 4 World Trade Centre, the final decision was in part inspired by the new ways in which offices and space provide for collaboration – something that the freedom to design in the Hudson Yard development area provided. Love notices that only around 150 staff works permanently from the office, as many of the consultants are working at clients’ offices, while traveling or at home. Like at many consulting firms, an open planned use of the space was decided for, where transient consulting staff could be assigned workstations based on the teams they have been assigned to – with various functional meeting and design rooms providing more intimate collaboration areas.

BCG Reception

The open planned nature of the design has another function however. Love responds to research that shows that a lot of ‘work’ is actually done informally through chance ‘collisions’ of people. The whole office space, even the stairs leading up to the office, is designed around increasing the chances of small informal collisions between staff of all ranks, such that key information may be, seemingly by chance, transferred between staff. These pieces of information are in many cases the key to solving otherwise complex puzzles. Love has designed the space to allow for 20% of the day to be open for chance collisions. “We’re not talking about discussing the Knicks game over the weekend,” says Love. “Someone working on a sales force issue runs into someone who handled a similar assignment a few years ago, and learns from their experience.”

A study by BCG last year earmarked New York as the globe's second best city to work in, ahead of Paris and Sydney, trailing just London. The move to the brand new skyscraper will however come with a hefty price tag – the US city is the second most expensive place in the world when it comes to office rental in a skyscraper, with Hong Kong leading the pack.

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Newcastle consulting firm opens Baghdad office

05 April 2019

A Newcastle-based consultancy has announced it will open its first office in Iraq. The news comes despite warnings that the area remains “high risk” for businesses.

16 years after the start of Operation Iraqi Freedom, the nation remains a shadow of its former self. The continued chaos wrought by the Iraq War – which eventually played a role in the rise to prominence of Daesh, further destabilising the region – means that even now, the nation’s capital is deemed to have the lowest quality of living in the world. According to a recent survey from Mercer, Baghdad ranked last overall – immediately below Bangui of the Central African Republic and Damascus in Syria – despite the other two being determined as the worst cities on the planet for personal safety.

However, as with the wider Middle East, the oil-rich state presents a lucrative destination to businesses willing to take the risk. To that end, a Newcastle recruitment consultancy has announced the opening of its first presence in Iraq’s capital city. Samuel Knight has taken the decision to open its Baghdad locale in order to grow its business in the Middle East.

Newcastle consulting firm opens Baghdad office

While businesses remain wary of the region, Samuel Knight specialises in recruiting talent in the energy and rail sectors, and in a release it said the new office would continue to focus on these areas. It will also allow the firm to make sure it abides by local compliance laws. The new location will be headed up by Haider Kadhim, Samuel Knight’s Iraq country manager, who will work as the first point of contact for clients and candidates. Representatives from the Department of Trade Industry are expected to attend a launch event for the office, which will be held this month.

Commenting on the new office,  a spokesperson for Samuel Knight said, “We probably don’t see it as a risk, but more of an opportunity, as we operate in the Middle East extensively already. We have contacts in place in the country location and with the consultants we have. We felt it was a great opportunity to expand into a country we are already doing work in. It means we have an on-the-ground team to help our clients. From our perspective, it is that we are looking to expand into new territories, but we are also supporting countries that are starting to redevelop after years of warfare.”

Steve Rawlingson, CEO at Samuel Knight, said, “Our aggressive five-year growth plan is manifesting at  an impressive rate, taking the company to exciting new territories. The team is working diligently to surpass expectations set out in the plan, and to ensure Samuel Knight is cemented as the leading global energy and rail recruitment specialist. Our Baghdad office will give us a distinctive edge over our competition and allow for more exciting business opportunities. Once the office becomes more established and client acquisition develops, we will certainly be adding more consultants and manpower in the city.”