Following our ‘conversations’ around design thinking, innovation & change, our third edition looks at designing spaces for ideas.
Googleplex is often cited as a great example of effective design at work, so what insights can we borrow to make your workplace more productive?
Designing corporate offices usually becomes an exercise in cost & space planning, with less consideration given to getting the most out of your most valuable assets – your people. Here are some tips to create spaces that build cultures for collaboration, innovation & productivity.
1. Design space for innovation
Companies who wish to innovate need spaces where employees feel emotionally & physically free to express themselves. If the office culture is risk averse, then start small: identify projects, people & places where innovation can grow.
2. Create spaces for chance meetings
If you have people in your office, then it makes sense to create spaces for them to connect and unlock their human potential. Staircases, corridors, food & beverage stations all are spaces for chance meetings that can reap all sorts of direct & indirect benefits.
3. Design nooks & crannies in common areas
Once you’ve started a conversation around the copier or coffee machine, then you should be able to find some privacy to build the discussion with your colleagues (so design spaces for privacy in).
4. Make your conference room central & visible
Most conference rooms seem to be black holes that absorb time & energy. If conference rooms are transparent & adjacent to public areas, meeting participants will be able to keep their minds active.
5. Balance open & enclosed spaces
We know some people prefer quiet spaces to think, while others like the energy of others to spark off their creativity. It appears that to fuel innovation & imagination there’s a need for both group & individual work spaces.
6. Acknowledge your company culture
By accepting the type of company you are (from highly centralised to highly decentralised), you will be able to create the right kind of environment that supports your model of innovation.
7. Spaces for knowledge transfer
Knowledge transfer is an important part of innovation. Spaces that facilitate visual displays allow groups to express ideas & thought processes and enable others to contribute. Cork boards, whiteboards & glass walls should be designed into every office space to open minds & transfer ideas.