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Exploring the Local Technology Scene, Gensler DC Launches Tech Talks  

Gensler's D.C. Office co-hosted the first Tech Talks engagement with AccelerateDC Venture Mentoring Service. Image © Gensler

Last November, Gensler’s Washington, DC office launched Tech Talks, a new series co-hosted with AccelerateDC Venture Mentoring Service that explores issues of people, design, culture and brand in DC technology companies. The goal is to bring together the individuals and organizations that make up DC’s thriving technology industry to discuss why DC is a budding destination for tech companies. The conversations are exploring how cultural trends, spatial design, and brand experience all play in role in successfully running a tech business.

The inaugural Tech Talks brought together leaders from several organizations in the DC tech space – Tim Chi - CEO of WeddingWire, Leslie Albrecht – Director of Operations at Social Driver, Charlie Mayer – Head of Operations & Investor Relations at OPower, and Carl Pierre – Head of DC Operations at WeWork. The conversation focused on understanding the role the built environment, aka physical space, plays for tech companies, from the perspective of the leadership but also the employees themselves. The conversation brought up some true insights.

Learnings from Tech Talks 1: Space, Culture, and the Secret Sauce of Ideas

Tech companies are at the leading edge of all industries responding to a generational shift in how people want to work today. They recognize that employees, increasingly from the millennial generation, are seeking out companies that provide an array of benefits that go beyond salary and healthcare. In DC we’re learning that tech is a limiting term; rather than serving as its own silo, in DC tech is a subset of the creative economy at large who are leading this movement. DC tech and creative companies see value in programming their spaces for wellness – not just fitness. Priorities include taking down walls that create hierarchy in the physical environment as well as culturally, and creating flexible spaces that allow employees to collide organically equally as much as giving them spaces to find calm and respite from a hectic day.

The DC tech and creative workplace is changing dramatically. Creative companies are asking for natural light, bike storage, showers, yoga rooms, solid infrastructure, fiber cable, outdoor spaces, reused and reclaimed materials, and flexible furniture systems to name a few. They want employees to have their furry friends by their side to take some stress away or be able to host a Girl Scout cookie and wine pairing night at the office. The blurred lines between work and life are being stretched and tested to create a comfortable environment that allows employees to do both.

To learn more about the first Tech Talks, watch the recap video.

The second Tech Talks focusing on “The Power of Brand for Creative Companies,” takes place tomorrow tonight, February 24 in Gensler’s Washington, D.C. offices. Follow along on Twitter via #gTechTalks.

Image © Gensler

Jennifer works with her clients to understand their culture and values. She communicates those ideals to both brand and workplace design teams, assuring brand is an essential piece of every project. Jennifer is a project manager in the DC brand design group, and is also focused on the technology practice area in the SE region. Jennifer is currently leading a panel discussion series called "Tech Talks," with the goal of creating conversations around technology, space, and brand. Contact her at Jennifer_Gebhardt @gensler.com.

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