Collaborative zones

ELIS Smart Alliance

Designing new ways of working

Area of action
Future of work, Technologies for social innovation

Co-design, Strategic Design, Community Building, Futures & Foresight


Palestre relazionali

The project

The collaborative zones are shared work spaces, in which professionals who work for some large Italian companies have the opportunity to experiment with new ways of working.
In this phase of evolution of traditional work contexts, collaborative zones are innovation laboratories, where new organisational models are explored and the aspect of meeting, exchange, and fusion of different companies transform the way of working.

The collaborative zones were conceived as part of the ELIS Smart Alliance project.

The challenge

How can we transform a work space into a place for relationships and well-being in which, through fusion, co-design and exchange of knowledge, it is possible to stimulate people’s creativity and generate positive social impact on the local area?

Palestre relazionali / Sfida

The strategy

New ways of using work spaces require the sharing of new rituals.
A ritual is an experience out of the ordinary, repeated and repeatable, with profound meaning for those who participate. Well-designed rituals are able to open new horizons of meaning and consolidate new ways of interacting between people.
We have therefore started a co-design process with the future users of the collaborative zones, to conceive new rituals for the new spaces and share needs and desires connected to the new working scenario.

Palestre relazionali / Strategia
Palestre relazionali / Strategia

The process

In designing the new rituals we started with the direct involvement of those who will use the spaces of the collaborative zones. During the first phase of alignment with them we identified the three themes to work on: well-being and productivity, creativity, social
The involvement of ELIS Community Managers was fundamental, trained thanks to a course designed by Shifton. They will have the practical task of activating the rituals within the collaborative zones.
The subsequent co-design phase made it possible to map needs, desires and critial elements expressed by the “pioneers” of the Zones. The co-design workshops, facilitated by the Shifton team, led to the elaboration of a total of 21 rituals, five of which were collectively selected to be put into practice during the start-up phase of the collaborative zones.
Finally, in the Sense-making phase, we collected and shared rituals, tools and methods in a strategic document, which provides the guidelines for starting the experimentation.

Palestre relazionali / Processo
Palestre relazionali / Processo

The impact

Thanks to the new rituals, the companies involved enhance people’s hidden talents, train the spirit of initiative and encourage the creation of a stimulating environment.
The collaborative zone becomes an opportunity for fusion between different professional and personal backgrounds, facilitates interaction, the creation of synergies, and inter-company and intergenerational dialogue.
For the companies involved, enhancing the quality of relationships between people means improving a series of important indicators on which the challenges of the future of the world of work are played out: employee retention rate, productivity, quality, level of employee engagement.
The future of work is already here, and we have started planning it.

Palestre relazionali / Impatto

Photo credits: eFM SpA

Palestre relazionali / Impatto

The Smart Alliance project involves 31 companies in the telecommunications, energy, transport, finance and food sectors.
The collaborative zones are active in 5 cities: Milan, Rome, Naples, Trapani, Catania.

Smart Alliance is an ELIS project.

Palestre relazionali / Imprese

The project in numbers

Palestre relazionali / numbers
Palestre relazionali / numbers

Looking for inspiration?

Sign up for the Shifton newsletter. You will receive one newsletter per month with the best social innovation stories and the most important updates from our community.
No spam, lots of ideas.

    I have read and approved the Privacy Policy