“We believe having mobile offices will enhance creativity by breaking down walls,” my host was pushing his office, a heavy plastic cart laden with stapler, papers, a picture of his daughter, and his candy stash down the hall.
At another visit, another host proudly showed off floor to ceiling whiteboards, “…plenty room for creativity, encourages broad thinking…” WTH, I am 5 ft 6 and 3/4+ inches, so much for the top half of the whiteboard.
At yet another place, excusing myself from the conference room to use the facilities, only to find those next door were closed! I had to walk halfway across the building to a centrally located restroom…the concept was to create opportunities for people to interact! Hey, I don’t talk to people in there!
We can create some amazing spaces in which to create.
So what, you ask, are the three most important features to put in your innovation space?
- You must bring to your space vast amounts of Stimulus. Stimulus is a consumable, you must constantly be recycling and refilling. To maximize the value of your stimulus…
- You need to bring Diversity into your innovation space. Diversity resides in the people you work with, not on the walls you work within. Yes, you need “left brains” and “right brains”. Diversity also includes engineers, sales people, as well as those from marketing, finance, shipping, production, human resources, academics, customers and those who should be customers. You get the idea, the more you have the more you got. But, all of this sounds chaotic, we need to ….
- Reduce the FEAR that comes with trying new things. This is done with alignment, running iterations of experiments, collaborating with others and getting qualitative data to drive good decisions.
You see, all the quirky things we see are fun, they are all good!! Who said work has to be drudgery? But it is not enough to be quirky. Bring together stimulus and diversity while driving out fear in a systematic manner designed to work towards a common objective and you can turn the simplest space, yes, even a garage, into an innovation space.