Innovation is ingrained into our way of life, and we don’t just mean the team here at Condeco! As humans, we have always strived to make our lives easier and more productive, whether that is through gadgets to help us with our daily tasks, or technology and systems to help us manage our working lives.
However, innovation doesn’t always go to plan; over the decades, there have been a few shockers – inventions that didn’t quite hit the mark! It may have been close, but by today’s standards we would potentially laugh, scoff or be absolutely horrified at the thought of having to implement these so-called “innovative” gadgets into the workplace.
One such example of failed innovation is this bad boy, the Isolator, invented by Hugo Gernsback in 1925. It appears finding a quiet place to concentrate in the workplace is an old age problem, apparently plaguing us for nearly 100 years. This helmet was designed to increase the wearer’s focus by rendering them completely deaf. With small round eye holes at the front for vision, the helmet would pump in fresh oxygen and blank out all possible distractions.
Not only does this helmet look like something from your nightmares, the limited oxygen supply and pure impracticality of this device ensured it was left on the shelf, forever destined to remain in obscurity (something we’re rather grateful for!).
In modern times, we’re lucky to have access to more practical devices; true examples of innovation that help improve our concentration in the workplace. Here are our top seven picks for devices, tools and practices, which we think are 100% more useful than the Isolator!
1. Office pods
Many modern offices are now equipped with pods, which come in all shapes and sizes and are designed to create a sense of privacy. Available in a variety of materials, some are even portable, giving employees a choice in comfort levels and other factors, and allowing you to ensure they fit the landscape of your work environment perfectly.
2. Individual lighting
Most office designs opt for strong, harsh overhead lighting, and give little thought to more specific and personalised options. It’s true, however, that a little more flexibility and ambience in office lighting can help make all the difference to an individual that’s attempting to concentrate, so inventions like the Corner Office Table Lamp with Acoustic Privacy Shade by Pablo, are relatively inexpensive and offer a huge return on investment in the levels of productivity then help inspire.
3. Lounge Chairs
Similar to the concept of a pod, the Quiet Time Privacy Lounge chair is both stylish and useful. The cleverly-designed seat has a higher back and sides than a regular chair, creating a sense of privacy within a busy and bustling workplace. This heightened isolation and quiet can only be helpful when employees are looking to step away from the hustle and bustle, and focus on the details.
4. Eyewear that focuses the mind
Luxury eyewear brand Safilo saw a gap in the market for glasses that can help improve your concentration. The result is specially-designed specs that can be worn anywhere, and at the flick of a switch on a paired app, your “mind waves” will be calibrated, and you’ll be taken through a series of exercises to bolster your focus. As Luisa Delgado, Chief Executive of Safilo explained:
“As today's society becomes faster and busier, there's a huge trend to take control of your mind and focus on mindfulness and serenity and we wanted to capture that using brainwave technology with our glasses.”
5. Smart headphones
The ingenious smart headphones by Mindset allow you to channel all your focus effortlessly, by utilising EEG technology that trains your subconscious to filter out distractions, and concentrate on the important tasks at hand. With Bluetooth connectivity, active noise cancellation and premium sound, Mindset’s smart headphones go just a little bit further than your favourite existing pair.
6. Internet-blocking apps
To help with digital distractions, Freedom is an app that helps you fixate on what you need and forget the rest, by blocking distracting websites and apps on your phone or Mac. The choice is yours, as Freedom can block just a handful of sites to the entire internet, if needed!
7. Panasonic's human blinkers
Large open plan office spaces, shared and co-working spaces, and the idea of flexible working including working from busy coffee shops, has seen a rise in the need for a little slice of quiet for every individual. Panasonic’s answer was to create wearable blinkers, allowing for better focus on what’s directly in front of you, blocking out the sights and sounds around you.