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Issue 13: Q3 2015 - Designing Spaces for Ideas

Designing Spaces for Ideas

Issue 13: Q3 2015 / July 9, 2015
Charlie Scott
Founder and Creative Director

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.

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Success Stories:
Lego PMD, Billund. Denmark: Spaces for all types of creativity
Lego PMD, Billund. Denmark: Spaces for all types of creativity

At Tangible, we’re big fans of Lego. We’ve featured them in a previous issue of ‘conversations’ for their amazing turnaround from near bankruptcy in 2003 to their recent stellar performance.

It’s easy to say “of course Lego needs a funky interior, they’re designing toys for children,” but the colourful interior elements (including the oversized Lego bricks, aerial walkway dressed as a cloud, and the ubiquitous slide) are only half the story.

The interior design offers a clever mix of office & meeting spaces to encourage creativity & innovation. Designed by Danish duo Rosan Bosch & Rune Fjord, the 21,500 sqft office offers collaborative, light, colourful spaces (open meeting rooms, show-and-tell podiums), combined with private rooms of differing sizes (individual offices & enclosed meeting rooms). The ambition is to encourage interaction between staff in an effort to fuel their imaginations, which is what the Lego brand is all about!

Read more: Top 20 Most Awesome Company Offices

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