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Four Workplace “Solutions” to Reconsider

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Image titleEstablishing an effective workplace design to increase innovation and creativity can be daunting. Most websites and other research will give you workplace “solutions” to better the overall work environment; but in a Forbes article by Barbara T. Armstrong, she offers more in depth analysis of these “solutions” and gives you a better sense of what design solutions to actually best meet your business needs.

1. Build an Innovation Lab - Building an innovation lab is not a cure-all. No space, for instance, can change a culture that is risk-averse or that stifles experimenting, partnering, or sharing. Bottom line, you can’t build your way to innovation prowess. Culture trumps construction.

2. Tear Down All The Walls - Yes, open workspaces may well influence collaboration and creativity; but they can also impede progress. Noise is a significant problem in open-plan offices;  new scientific research shows measurable declines in workers’ performance in cognitive tasks, such as reading, writing, and other forms of creative work. Sara Armbruster, vice president of WorkSpace Futures and Corporate Strategy at Steelcase, describes the nature of innovation and the human behaviors that foster it as a paradox; to fuel creativity, there’s a need for group work and individual work.

3. Copy Company XYZ’s Best Practices - There is no one-size-fits-all approach. Only by understanding how your company works can you design an environment that supports your unique model of innovation and gives rise to your own best practices.

4. Acquire the Latest and Greatest technology and Gadgets - Acquiring a lot of gear can backfire if users feel annoyed or overwhelmed by it. However, before you invest in anything, big or small, high-tech or low-tech, consider your culture and users’ needs. Innovation is the direct result of people transforming imagination and creative thinking into action.

When deciding how to design best functions in your workspace, ask if your company’s physical environment supports or squelchs imagination, creativity, and innovation?


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