Creating Spaces for Innovation: Smarter Workspace Series

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Building spaces for innovation is key to all workspaces. Whether they are called breakout spaces or innovation hubs, the underlying goal of the area is for people to co-create and a place for ideas to be generated together. In our latest Smarter Workspace Series we discussed how to create a space for innovation; discussing the environment, the people in the environment, and the work processes that could impact creativity. We explore the what, why and how to creating spaces of innovation below.

What: Engaging the workforce

An authentic engagement within your workforce and the office design process are fundamental to each other. You need to understand ‘what’ will work for your teams, your culture and your brand. Considerations should be made to:

  • Make people feel welcomed and their contribution valued
  • Try to have face to face engagement, through workshops
  • Build a user community that encompasses all levels of the organisation
  • Communicate the parameters of the scope, and the purpose of the engagement

Why: The driving factors of why to innovation

Innovation is an exploration of factors, to decide how your workforce join together to innovate. The work environment no longer has a single use; particularly with agile working and flexible working common practice. The hybridisation of environments need to evolve to accommodate the variety of work settings. As well as this, accommodating the creativity and flow of working within these environments. Wellbeing plays a huge part in employees feeling justified and valued. The workforce of the millennial, and younger than that, are wanting to work more for themselves in either freelance or temporary contracts. Finding fulfilling work with meaning is something that can be aided by having the right environments to allow the work to be produced. This is sometimes seen as how managers are managing their team, but the workspace can be equally as impactful.

A company that was in the Fortune 500 60 years ago would remain in it for about 16 years. This is not the case anymore. Organisations are moving more quickly than ever. If you extrapolate this to 2027, only 12% of organisation that are in the Fortune 500 now will be there. An example of this is Kodak. Workplaces need to completely shift their mindset; not to keep up with innovation, but how they can meet the working changes and adapt to them as quickly as possible.

How: Properties of creative space

Density: What is the volume of the space? How a volume of space feels relative to the activities and assets within it.
Orientation: Adapts human connection with an experience e.g open-plan layout compared to cubicles.
Posture: The physical positioning of the human body and types of behaviour that position elicits. E.g if we were all standing we would start shuffling about.
Ambience: The atmospheric quality of an environment and its effect on the mood of its inhabitants

The space itself is the catalyst for change. It is a platform that can be creative; flexible, open, collaborative. The office design can be user led and curated; highly territorial, autonomous, self-directed and individual. It can also be expert led and created; highly flexible, design creation and cohesive design language. By understanding what your workforce needs, why this needs to be implemented and how to do it, creating spaces for innovation can see communities build and interact, and innovation emerge.