The Seer
d+a|Issue 110
The Seer

Want to know what the future of the workplace will be like? Raphael Gielgen believes he has the answer.

Low Shi Ping

He reads between 600 and 700 articles, delivers 150 lectures and visits more than 100 companies – all this within one calendar year. These are just some parts of the jobscope of Raphael Gielgen, the head of research and trend scouting at Swiss furniture company Vitra.

As his title suggests, the purpose behind these activities is to predict what is happening in time to come, specifically in the workplace, to guide Vitra, the design community and the end-consumer.

“My job is to go around and find never-seen-before patterns. It is to go to the movers and shakers and find out what they’re doing, and understand what it means for the future,” says the 49-year-old.

“I then create a map of the world of tomorrow to help people understand the long-term perspective and what is happening in the entire ecosystem.”

Another technique in his toolkit is daylong workshops he plans called Work Hackathon that he organises in cities around the world. It involves addressing a major question together with different partners.

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Issue 110