The Momentum Interviews – The workplace of the future with Adrian Drury

The Momentum Interviews – The workplace of the future with Adrian Drury

Short into about you, Adrian, and Downstream…
“Downstream is a human centred, digital design agency, connecting the digital and physical worlds, helping to redefine spaces, fusing design & technology to create innovative solutions impacting how we behave and experience environments. Downstream uses advanced spatial, behavioural and technology design principles to create intelligent environments, maximising a brand’s potential and enhancing the user’s experience.”

Q.

Can you tell us a little about Downstream and how the company became what it is today?

A.

Downstream has evolved since its inception 20 years ago to meet the rising demand for software driven experiences in the built environment. Downstream specialises in connecting people, places and technology in meaningful ways. The company is headquartered in Portland with studios in Amsterdam and Melbourne. Our client portfolio includes corporate environments, flagship retail, sports stadia & arenas and commercial real estate development. Over the past four years we have completed projects in 12 countries for clients including Nike, PwC, Microsoft, Telstra, Deloitte, Verizon and Google.

 

Q.

What is your role?

A.

I am the Business Director – I connect with a variety of organisations, establishing relationships that help to foster a human centred and innovative, design thinking approach towards meeting the challenges our partners face across multiple verticals including property, flagship retail, gallery & museums, aviation, stadia and public spaces.

 

Q.

Can you give us a couple of examples of local projects?

A.

The PwC ‘Future of Work’ project delivers a ground-breaking end-to-end client experience using immersive digital design and a variety of connected technologies that are integrated into striking interior architecture. Each experience acts as a purposeful point of engagement for visitors enabling richer, more personalised and memorable interactions.

In 2015/2016 we also completed the design and execution of Telstra Sydney Customer Insights Centre. This is a one of a kind innovation and experience centre helping connect the Telstra brand with its suite of Government and Enterprise Clients in an immersive, dramatic and sensory space.

 

Q.

I understand that Downstream is a very well-developed brand in the US, what ground breaking projects have you done there?

A.

We have rolled out a wide range of projects, such as: Executive briefing centres for Microsoft and Juniper Networks, Innovation Centres for Verizon and McAfee, University of Washington Stadium, University of Oregon’s Matthew Knight Basketball Arena, Edmonton Oilers Fan Experience Centre, North Eastern University Student Information Centre, Nike flagship stores and in Europe the FC Barcelona retail experience, EMAE and the G&S Atrium project in Amsterdam; the list goes on.

 

Q.

What are some of the innovations that Downstream has brought to market?

A.

Some examples include:

  • Media Fountains, which can act as smart wayfinding totems while also broadcasting event information and interactive data visualisations.
  • Welcome Walls acts as a futuristic digital concierge, providing a fast check-in for clients who prefer this option. When in ambient mood, this same experience comes to life as series of digital totems that play back artful, rich media content.
  • The Waterfall is a floor to ceiling digital stream of insights – interactive thought leadership, ideas, people and events.
  • The Innovation Pool, a digital led space designed to encourage client exploration and interactions.
  • The Insight Ring at the Telstra Customer Innovation Centre is a 360-degree interactive screen, which automatically recognises and responds to customer presence and reflects media that is relevant to their business, delivering insights in new and unexpected ways. This is designed for groups of 2-20.

We design experiences as authentic parts of the architecture and an overall choreographed client journey is a major design consideration. We want people to connect with the spaces in a direct and meaningful way that benefits their visit and therefore creates value for the supporting brand.

 

Q.

What concepts are you bringing to market now?

A.

We are just about to start work on a world-first gallery exhibition project that will run for the next 10 years. Standby for more details on that, however it’s like nothing ever seen in the southern hemisphere! By January we will have completed a new flagship retail project for one of Australia’s most loved heritage brands which will really disrupt the market here.

 

Q.

Certain companies are moving towards rationalising their office space and embracing concepts such as activity based working and more of a focus on people working from home. How does this impact your business?

A.

Ultimately, organisations are making their real estate work smarter – and are being more innovative in their designs, which means making these far more flexible and human-centred. The technology, design and content we create supports this style of working on-site, but most importantly beyond the walls of the workplace.

 

Q.

How do you feel that the rapid pace of change in technology will impact the workplace?

A.

Positively. Whether it’s an innovation centre, a flagship retail store, a world-first exhibition or a Future of Work place, technology is providing more meaningful, multi-sensory connections to brand and the purpose of spaces. If these platforms are designed with the vision of helping people collaborate, communicate and work beyond the confines of physical space, then naturally organisations’ ROI will always increase.

 

Q.

What do you think we will see in the workplace of the future?

A.

We know from experience that smart, connected workplaces are integral to delivering diverse solutions and most importantly, diverse users of those environments. When people experience first hand, data, content, technology and responsive interiors coming together to cultivate a progressive, solution oriented workplace, it can give the user a unique perspective or help draw new connections on a problem or issue they’re trying to solve. However, technology will only ever be the enabler.

 

Visit Downstream for more information.

Check out the PwC Australia Digital Transformation ‘Future of Work’ press release.

 

Stay tuned for our next blog.

 

Momentum Search and Selection is a recruitment partner that provides executive talent solutions to local and international organisations. We provide practitioners who excel at:
• Digital, Transformation, Project and Change Management
• Construction, Design & Architecture and Facilities Management

 

Alan Herrity.