Monday, 26 February 2018

"Designing for Growth"

Before that hard encounter by the roadside in Swanvale Halt I'd been at the new diocesan offices on the Research Park in Guildford. If I wanted to post about something more cheerful, they help: they aim at communicating a combination of professionalism and cuddliness: 'We're glossy and effective, but we're not going to scare you. Would you like a coffee?' I saw three coffee-consuming areas while I was there, two (as I said before) Shoreditch café-like arrangements of colourful plastic seats, one upstairs, one down, and a standing bar round the corner in the upstairs offices. I suppose coffee is the fuel that powers most social and professional interactions so it has to be present, and in fact omnipresent. This is what the main staircase looks like. It wouldn't look out of place in a recently-updated municipal museum:

I was there for a meeting of the local vocations advisors. We were informed that we have lots of ordination candidates going through to selection conferences, but also that an increasing proportion of them are being rejected, so it may be that the drive for more ordinands is resulting in people being passed up the system before they're ready. In the centre of the table was one of those multi-communication pods to allow conference calls, and I wondered how often the Diocese of Guildford needs to do that, or whether all this kit was just inherited from the University from which the Diocese is leasing the building. This new working environment will, at least for a while, make its inhabitants believe that they know what they're doing, though I wonder how long the illusion will last ...

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