"The true leader takes no part in the action," says Californian winemaker Don Schroeder, introducing us to Happiness at Work (TVB Pearl, Thursday at 9:35pm), a two-part documentary looking at disembodiment in the workplace.
A bunch of chief executives and company owners the world over are exploring a new management style, which hands power to the employee, now euphemistically called the "associate", as a way of liberating companies from hierarchical structures. By delegating decisions to the people who do the work, this model seems to offer a sense of engagement, contentment and freedom to those who actually produce the goods and services instead of condensing the power and decision-making within senior management.
The new approach, of course, is bad news for consultants, so don't expect this flat management model to take off in a village near you soon. The corporate global entities do not follow this new thinking, thank you very much!
The questions this fascinating French documentary raise include: what makes a happier employee - free lunch, yoga classes, chill rooms and transport, or employee ownership of the processes of production? Great thinkers such as Karl Marx and Thomas Piketty would no doubt love this programme, not because it makes political statements, but because it asks questions that affect social cohesion, innovation and, perhaps, models of growth that align better with the newly evolving second industrial revolution, a revolution towards innovative economies based on renewables and sustainability. One could argue, however, that reducing middle management and flattening employee structures only increases inequality. For every action there is a reaction, it seems. Perhaps you just can't win.
Loving Earth: Cities of Tomorrow (TVB Pearl, Wednesday at 9:35pm) is the first in a three-part documentary series that looks at urbanisation and the development of "new cities" in Saudi Arabia, South Korea and China.
China leads the world in urbanisation and the mass movement of people from rural communities to cities is placing huge strains on the ability to manage and deliver resources. The authorities in King Abdullah Economic City, Songdo and Tianjin Eco-city are attempting to offer a solution with environments that have fully integrated and automated resource management, where every aspect of life is monitored and controlled in an attempt, it seems, to lower the carbon footprint. This brings up obvious questions about privacy and data hacking, or am I just being paranoid?
One of the challenges new cities face is how to develop an identity. For the consultants master-planning Songdo, the answer was simple; just take existing iconic buildings as your inspiration - so we have edifices derived from the Sydney Opera House and New York's World Trade Centre plonked down just to the south of Incheon.
Having spoken at a number of conferences exploring ways to develop and support sustainable creative economies, I'm not so sure this is the answer. One of the things missing from the new-cities approach is the growth that rises from the ground, from the people who inhabit other built environments and shape their development.
Lee Tung Avenue, a new development in Wan Chai, illustrates my point. In place of a rich and chaotic street scene we now have an anonymous, insipid pedestrian precinct that could be in London, Florence or Macau - or Tianjin, Songdo or King Abdullah Economic City, for that matter.
Perhaps we don't need new cities at all, but rather a better voice in how we develop the existing ones.