Tuesday, 16 July 2013

A space to innovate

This aspect of innovation was a lot of fun to research! I looked at lots of different office spaces, and how company's use their surroundings to support the creative process.

An example of how a whole office building is built around encouraging creativity and collaboration is the animation studio Pixar. The linked article has more examples and information, but a key point is that employees are encouraged through how the building is arranged to meet and work with each other, which leads to more creative ideas being generated. Another point is that employees have control over their own workspace, so they can design it to look how they want.

Picture from officesnapshots.com

A smaller scale example is MindLab in Denmark, which is "a cross-ministerial innovation unit which involves citizens and businesses in creating new solutions for society.". Part of what is available in MindLab is a brainstorming egg, an enclosed space with whiteboards for walls, where teams can share and swap ideas. Maybe a little claustrophobic, but definitely something to provide focus!

Obviously these kind of things are massive undertakings, and is something far, far beyond what we would be considering for our project! What is useful from these examples is to think about how the place in which we work can affect how creative and innovative we can be. If we are planning activities where we are looking for innovation and creative ideas, what can we do with the location to make it as conducive to creativity as possible?

On a personal note, what really helps me to feel creative is being able to look out of my office window at Weston Park. If I sit up in my chair I can see the ducks in the pond, but from my normal (slightly slumped) position I can see plenty of trees and sky, so there is plenty of space to stare into! This gives me a chance to let my mind wander a bit, which helps me when thinking around problems. I know I am lucky to have such a nice view, which this photo doesn't do justice to!

What do you do with your work area to help you get in the creative frame of mind?