Explore tomorrow’s sustainable and innovative working life – outdoors
StepOut Malmö is an interactive research project conducted in collaboration between the City of Malmö and Malmö University, with funding from the European Social Fund. The project is about developing a more innovative and sustainable working life by challenging current norms regarding work and it’s whereabouts and to explore different forms for working outdoors, in the urban nearby surroundings. At the core of the idea is that this exploration is best done through an active experimentation and joint learning process and knowledge creation in collaboration between research and practise.
There are many good reasons for strengthening our relation to nature on a daily basis. Research is rich on results connecting outdoors and exposure to natural elements to positive effects upon wellbeing, restoration from stress, health in general, cognitive functioning, creativity and learning and more. As a consequence of urbanisation there have never before been so many people living lives so separated from nature. The urban lifestyle entails that we spend more and more time indoors. The overriding aim of this research is to contribute to a more sustainable and innovative working life by exploring ways in which urban outdoor spaces can be integrated into everyday working life and to deepen our understanding of work forms and norms which can contribute to the wellbeing and functioning of humans at work. In today’s working life high demands are put on a growing number of us to be able to handle complex problems, many relations, generate new ideas, creative solutions and make well-grounded decisions. In spite of this, our ways of working seems rather unreflecting. Many of spend most of our time sedentary indoors at our work places in front of the computer, even though there is a voluminous scientific knowledge showing that this is not good for us and that there is a lot to gain from spending time outdoors. Apart from the potential positive effects from exposure to natural elements, the physical activity that work outdoors means (more or less) can be very important for our health and can also contribute to more creativity. Recent research shows that we think more divergent/creatively when in motion – an effect that is even stronger when it takes place outdoors.
StickUt Malmö aims at developing and spreading knowledge about both norms and forms of work with potential of contributing to a more sustainable and innovative working life; the main function being the orchestration of a learning process and the production of new knowledge. Apart from academic publications a handbook for outdoor office work will be produced within the project and the knowledge that is being generated will also to lay the ground for the development of an infrastructure (physical/ergonomic and technological) for more varied, creative and health-promoting work forms and spaces.
”If you truly want to understand something, try to change it.” This quotation from Kurt Lewin captures the essence of the approach and method applied. In order to become wiser with regards to achieving a more sustainable and innovative working life we try to change existing norms and forms for work. The implementation builds upon a collaborative learning process where forms for bringing (office-) work outdoors is being identified, tried out and assessed; in an active experimentation, in interaction between theory and practise. The process is made up from a number of learning modules and workshops where researchers and participants develop knowledge together. The participants’ experiences are followed by various interviews over a one and a half year period and is also documented in a mobile app has been produced for the purpose, where the participants continuously register what they do and how they experience working outdoors.
StickUt Malmö is a combined research- and change project and builds upon the participation, work and will from many people. The idea and the setup, which got it’s name already 2010, has been developed by Charlotte Petersson, who now has the project as the basis for her PhD-studies within Urban studies, at Malmö University. Through the years, the idea has been received, enriched and spread through the participation and dedication from a number of – for the project essential – people; not the least from the researchers who now constitute the project’s “Scientific Board” and a number of employees and directors at the City of Malmö, whereof many today are a part of the project organisation (se all who are involved below). The project’s current form took shape as Charlotte and Linda Johansson, the former project manager from the municipality, worked together as so called “Boundary Agents” for the Institute for Sustainable Urban Development. Moreover almost sixty participants from the Cultural Department, The City Planning Office, The Streets- and Parks Department, the Environmental Department, as well as the Strategic HR-department, are actively involved in the joint learning process about work forms and norms.
THE PROJECT ORGANISATION
Pernilla Conde Hellman (chair) Cultural Director, Malmö stad
Per Hillbur, Deputy Vice-Chancellor Malmö University
Anna Bertilson, Streets and Parks Director, Malmö stad
Kerstin Åkervall, Environmental Director, Malmö stad
Christer Larsson, City Planning Director, Malmö stad
Lena Wetterskog Sjöstedt, Director of The Sustainability Office, Malmö stad
Lena Wetterskog (chair) Director of The Sustainability Office, Malmö stad
Michael Holmkvist, Administrative manager, The Cultural Department, Malmö stad
Per-Arne Nilsson, Strategic Manager, The Environmental Departments, Malmö stad
Annika Niehoff, HR-manager, The Cultural Department, Malmö stad
Johan Emanuelsson, Strategic Manager, The City Planning Office, Malmö stad
Patrik Widerberg, Planning Manager, The Streets and Parks Department, Malmö stad
Carina Funeskog, Manager, HR-Strategic Department, Malmö stad
Anna Tullberg, HR-Manager, The City Planning Office, Malmö stad
Ebba Lisberg Jensen, Docent in Human Ecology, Malmö University
Susanna Toivanen, Professor in Sociology, Mälardalen University
Christina Bodin Danielsson, Post-doc in Architecture, Royal Institute of Technology
Cecilia Stenfors, Post-doc in (Neuro-) Psychology, Karolinska Institutet
Fredrika Mårtensson, Docent in Environmental Psychology, Swedish School of Agriculture
Per-Anders Hillgren, Docent in Interaction Design, Malmö University
Eva Hoff, PhD in Psychology, Lunds University
Ann Light, professor i Design & Creative Technolgy, University of Sussex, UK
Charlotte Petersson, PhD-student, Project Manager Research, Malmö University
Ulrika Hybrant, Project Manager Change, The Cultural Department, Malmö stad
Caroline Stenberg, Project Coordinator, The Cultural Department, Malmö stad
Olov Källgarn, Environmental Department Coordinator, Malmö stad
Sverker Haraldsson, Streets and Parks Department Coordinator, Malmö stad
Malin Johansson Tziampazis, City Planning Office Coordinator, Malmö stad
Christoffer Frostgård, Cultural Department Coordinator, Malmö stad
Terese Arnqvist, HR-Coordinator, Malmö stad