Building Employee Engagement in Bangkok: Pixels and Playfulness

The MahaNakhon and 7 lessons for Employee Engagement – An  Open Architectural Metaphor

The MahaNakhon from the Furama Rooftop pool. By David Zinger

Ole Scheeren is the architect behind the MahaNakhon, the 77 story tallest skyscraper in Bangkok. The name of the building means “great metropolis.” The building’s shape creates the image of being unfinished, something like a Jenga game. It feels like a pixel building that is either being constructed or destructed. I keep thinking of the word fragmented as I view the building from many perspectives around Bangkok. I believe Scheeren is preparing us and giving us the space to dwell more comfortably in an increasingly fragmented and pixelated world, and this resonates with the world of work and engagement.

Here is a comment from a CNN interview with the architect:

“MahaNakhon is a vision of a tower that is very much about process, about becoming, about developing,” Scheeren says of the building. Scheeren says the design’s distinct façade and use of space is intended to strike an ongoing dialogue with the city and capture its intensity. “I believe in the interest of space and also the power of space to do something to the people that inhabit it,” Scheeren says.

The building captures your eye and often creates a strong emotion when seeing it. About half of the people I talked with love the building and the other half don’t like the building. In some ways people living and working within the building will become more transparent to the city of Bangkok. Scheeren added, “If you look at my buildings, they are not all the same. They are different because different situations inspire and require very different answers.”

Here are 7 mini lessons for engagement I derived from this new structure in Bangkok:

  1. Make engagement different where you work. Create ongoing dialogue with the full environment of engagement within your organization.
  2. Make what is going on more transparent as you move up the building or organization (leaders can learn a lot from this).
  3. Strive for engagement to be different through simplicity not specialness. (keep engagement simple in form while open to interpretation).
  4. Imagine things that are not there and consider what is there already (know where we are and how what we are building in engagement, changes things).
  5. The building exemplifies process, becoming, unfinished, incomplete, and developing (as we build engagement let’s not lose sight of these elements in our architecture of engagement).
  6. Ensure that what you are building with engagement is intriguing, visual, and engaging. If your approach to engagement is strong don’t expect everyone to like it.
  7. Ensure you create open space in your building or engagement for people to “move around.”

What stands our for you as lessons for engagement when you view the MahaNakhon?

For more on the building:


David Zinger is a global employee engagement speaker and expert. To read a similar type of post from Doha, Qatar see Employee Engagement in Doha: Geometry and Sun Light.


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