The lessons my children taught me about the importance of place

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As facilitators in the Capgemini Accelerated Solutions Environment, we know that environment impacts behaviour. Creating a sense of place for my home-schooling children has been key for them and reminds us to hold dear the principles and importance of place in our work too.

Up and down the country I can only imagine how many people are managing the demands of working from home and being thrust into new situations, very quickly. In my household we’re no different. My wife and I have discovered that, as well as being parents, we need to find some new skills as teachers as we enter a prolonged period of home-schooling.

We discussed that one of the most important things that we could do was make the current situation feel as normal as possible for the kids. So, the first week of home-schooling would be focussed on building the school and, wow, did they rise to that challenge.

The children decided that the school needed a name, a motto, a flag and a uniform (which has mostly been pyjamas, or our son wearing a three-piece suit). We followed their lead by creating a place to house their efforts and bring a sense of structure and routine, with brown-paper and post-its!

The impact of these seemingly small steps has been massive. The children feel a sense of ownership for their school, have thrown themselves into the routine and even gone so far as to declare, “school is the best!”.

Creating a sense of place was key for them and could be for all of us. Could a chest of drawers turn into a standing desk? Perhaps the next meeting could be outside on the phone? Maybe some music to help vary the pace? How might you build yourself a place that is going to facilitate the work you’re doing?

Equally important is a break from that place once work is done. We make sure we take school down for the weekend, because who wants school at the weekend??!! And, it’s nice to have our dining room back.

As a community of collaboration practitioners in the ASE, we know that environment impacts behaviour. We often hear from our clients that our space makes a difference to their ability to collaborate and make decisions together. We have transitioned into a new place over the last few weeks. During this transition we have continued to deliver collaborative engagements remotely, because decisions still need to be made and groups still need to align on the way forward. I couldn’t be prouder to be part of a team who have continued to hold dear the principles and importance of place in our work. It’s a different place, but we continue to create meaningful experiences.

Thanks kids, for the reminder!



Dev Bains

Facilitator in the Accelerated Solutions Environment

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