Chriet Titulaer was a visionary Dutch thinker. In the 1970s and 1980s he was involved with Dutch radio and television presenting programmes about science and technology. In the 1990s he came up with a couple of futuristic concepts such as “The House of the Future” and “The Office of the Future”.
In 1995 I visited “The Office of the Future” with my then employer and we were given a guided tour by Chriet himself. I remember him showing us innovative, visionary concepts whereby there would be no need for employees to go to the office anymore. Fast remote connections would allow people to work from anywhere and when at the office, you would no longer need your own desk. Chriet showed us a concept where you could sit anywhere and with your own personal chipcard, you could automatically adjust your desk to your favourite settings.
This all didn’t really look that far-fetched for me and my colleagues. We were working for an IT company, and in our imagination it was all possible. Yet on the desk that Chriet showed us there was another device that we laughed about. It was a phone with a small screen! Supposedly you could see your counterpart while being on the phone. I remember us thinking that would be an invention that would never make it! After all, why would you focus on a tiny screen to see the people you were talking to?
Moving forward 27 years and the fast remote connections of 1995 are considered slow by the standards of today. Furthermore, Chriet was not far off in his thinking for it is now a reality; Zoom, Teams, FaceTime and many more tools provide us with video calls where we see our counterpart on a small, albeit portable, screen while we are on the phone. We even appreciate the additional dimension it brings, especially in today’s times when we have to meet fewer people in person.
Chriet was a rare visionary who was way ahead of his time. We probably can’t, and don’t have to look as far into the future as he did. We have just entered a new year, and it might be beneficial to think about the near future for a moment; what will the future of 2022 hold for you, your family, business and alliances?
Happy New Year!