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workspace design and creativity in organizations.

January 12, 2008

Traditionally the workspace has been designed favouring one particular setting – offices or cubicles vs. open-plan space – and this pattern cannot accommodate the different phases of creativity. As a consequence, it is to be expected that offices offering hybrid infrastructure will become more popular in organizations, suggesting that if the firm is to invest resources in the creation of a dedicated innovation environment, then it is essential that the strategic intentions underpinning this space are explicit. In this sense, VanGundy persuades companies to design a creativity room specifically for this purpose and load it with materials, books, idea generation aids and group setting. Design firms such as IDEO also develop spaces that support visualization, exploration and inspiration through access to materials and artifacts. Another example is a space developed to improve and advance pharmaceutical products, as they provided a separate area with walls and floor filled with objects and models, bulletin boards, flat tabletops, drawers, cabinets, progress reports, sketches, computers with CAD, metal and wood workshops, competing products, props, wood and metal workshops, recording of previous sessions, bulletins displayed previous attempts, isolation from disturbance. Companies can add to this list by providing different layouts for the activities taken in the office; such as access to information and support, gathering zones and interaction areas for informal as well as formal meetings and sections and moving furniture for different thinking processes. Other organizations might want to adopt some guidelines to creativity and problem solving. A well known model developed by Alex Osborn and Sid Parnes is called the Creative Problem Solving (CPS). Supporters of this method use stages to move between steps. Those stages can be installed in the design blueprint and plan for rooms that can be called: The Clarification Chamber ® (CC), The Transformational Hall ® (TH) or the Implementation Lab ® (IL). (more on these room names soon)

As per the architectural design, while some design values are targeted at encouraging specific behaviours (i.e. futuristic, playful, minimalist, etc), the use of imagery can reinforce actions, i.e. triangular room for creative divergence. I am not suggesting constructing the building itself as triangular, as this might impede future changes to the place, but the use of temporary architecture has more to offer than meets the eye. Those installations can exist without a determinate function, because they are free to suggest uses rather than being governed by them, and because they are free to exist on sites inaccessible to permanent architecture. As in the unfinished, one can imagine new realities.

In conclusion, the essential meaning of the space is to allow emotions to surface in the work area to further enhance the performance of the occupants and not necessarily suppress them for productivity sake. Whether it is the movable walls that support small and big group sizes or the warm colors that contrast a high-stress environment, movable furniture that accommodate informal idea development, or the geometrical propositions that stimulate various expressions of movement, serious effort on understanding the effects of such atmosphere will stimulate creative behavior in the work environment.

 

you can read more about design issues and creativity by reading”Organizational creativity through space design” – 2008,Randah Taher.

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One comment

  1. Very Insightful.

    Thanks



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