Visiting McLaren’s Technology Centre in Woking recently re-introduced the whole concept of ‘clean innovation’ to me, and thereby a whole approach to the business of technology production.
Is there any one of us not involved with technology in some way daily?
From the external parking, security and minibus transfer to the place of work, mostly hidden from general view, landscaped as though straight out of a James Bond set with little elevation and fronted by a large manmade lake (which provides cooling for the whole site’s air-conditioning), the site includes the awe-inspiring Technology Centre as well as a separate manufacturing complex, all very hi-tech with glass, steel, resins and traditional materials.
‘Clean, immaculate, quiet’ – is the impression that overrides every aspect of the complex, with no posters, rubbish or even music playing anywhere, the whole concept is designed to maximise the work ethic.
Yes, the staff facilities are generous, with a lake view restaurant, swimming pool and gym for all to use, and only two floors – admin atop the various technology and display areas below, the whole elevation is low, using below-level space for the latter.
And the central wind tunnel in all its glory, designed according to Ron Dennis’ brief: 80% technology, 20% Disney, demonstrates the heart of the approach: continuous research and testing to within 2 microns.
Every single aspect of the whole environment has been worked out meticulously, so delivering is made easier and faster. Even down to the white floor tiles which are spotless underneath all the automotive work areas. In Formula 1, if you’re not innovating, you are going backwards.
So, no wonder they deliver an upgrade to their Formula 1 car every 17 minutes, which infuses the wider group, including McLaren Automotive and McLaren Applied Technologies.
It’s definitely a way of life. So … who would like to work there?