The Creative Environment P.2: Designing For Innovation

16 10 2007


Creative environments and how to build them has fascinated me for some time. A good primer is a Squidoo Lens built by Russell Davies on Creative Spaces.






How cool are these workspaces. Good luck getting your manager to pony up for a slide in the office. However, there are three primary components to building a creative environment.

1. Redefining the environment:

Building spaces like those in the pictures ab0ve redefines the environment. An office is a place where we are trained to put our heads down and hammer away at TPS reports. However, these environments challenge that preconception and make workspaces into embodiments of innovative thinking and also prove to the employees that the company is committed to forward thinking and pushing them to reach their creative potential. This is probably the easiest aspect of creative spaces to change. Kill the cubicle. Have open unconstrained spaces, sprinkle some cool rugs, pastel sofas, and quirky lighting around and your good to go.

2. The Bump Factor:

The bump factor is a number calculated by how many opportunities you have of bumping into co-workers in a given work day. It’s about facilitating random encounters with a wide range of people and building spaces where people can congregate. It’s about freeing communication and working collaboratively. Think about the path from your nook to the toilet. Imagine if you simply walk down a dark corridor, do you business, and walk back to your desk. Now imagine an orientation where you were forced to walk through the digital team, the creative director’s desk, and the intern from Dallas. You are creating more opportunities for spontaneous innovation through the sharing of ideas. This is a hot topic today in the architectural world and for further reading check out a series of articles in Metropolis Magazine. In addition, this week’s BusinessWeek has a couple great articles too, on Offices 2.0.

3. Visualizing Ideas:

The last component of a creative space is building areas where people can visualize and share ideas. For example the first picture in the series above is an egg shaped room where the walls are one big white board. Create areas where people can display ideas in a way where they can be collaboratively manipulated. Once your idea is out there let others mess with it and mash it up with other ideas. Building these types of spaces into the bump factor floor plan makes for a powerful combination.

Try to be more conscious of how you operate in different environments and optimize a creative space for yourself.

Finally, building creative spaces always impresses the clients, which is never a bad thing.






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