Can you design a workplace where innovation thrives?

Yes. Good design can help create a workplace where ideas flow freely, where people from different areas and with different perspectives can meet, mingle, interact, and cross-pollinate their brains, and where innovative ideas germinate, take root, and thrive.

But according to designer Gina Berndt, the best office design in the world won’t make a significant difference without five other factors in place first.

The first is vision: An organization has to know where it is going, so people can get behind and be guided by something tangible. A close second is culture. Positive culture is palpable (and so is its opposite). Number three, leadership, makes the two aforementioned happen. Number four, talent, is critical — and doesn’t tend to stick around in the absence of strong leadership, a firm vision, and a supportive culture. Number five is an obvious one: fiscal responsibility — which, as we’ve seen in recent years, can be surprisingly lacking. Without these five, your physical work environment is not going to produce the results that design and management consultancies would like you to believe.

If those five factors are in reasonably good shape, Berndt offers some ideas about how design can influence innovation.


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2 Responses to Can you design a workplace where innovation thrives?

  1. Bonnie Robertson says:

    Agree with all of the 5 elements… Not sure of priority order…
    Culture of “no fear” and cemented purpose in something or someone outside of the organization are key…

    • Roy Jacobsen says:

      Thanks for the comment. The more I think about those five elements, the more it seems to me that leadership should be in the number one position. An org will struggle with vision, culture, talent, and fiscal responsibility without solid leadership.

      What do you think?

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