Monday, September 30, 2013

Design in work spaces

Are you working in an open office environment where the only thing the collaborative spaces drive you to is a deep desire to make another version of the Harlem Shake?

"Excessive collaboration can lead to the very opposite of creativity; groupthink, conformity and mediocrity."

Google's Venice Beach, California, USA offices.

The laggards in the industry, not revenue based but ones who do not have an impetus to relentlessly innovate, are trying to be Googlist in the environments they create for their employees.  With neither an understanding of their employees behavior nor how the users or consumers of the spaces they design, these faux Bauhaus architectures lie around as relics as soon as they are birthed.

"Over the past five years Gensler, a design firm, has asked more than 90,000 people in 155 companies in ten industries what they think of this way of working. It has found an astonishing amount of antipathy. Workers say that open-plan offices make it more difficult to concentrate, because the hubbub of human and electronic noise is so distracting. What they really value is the ability to focus on their jobs with as few distractions as possible."

Design is driving the question of who is the user and the consumer of whatever we engage in, and interior design for professional work environments is no exception.  The corporations that do not live on the leading edge are trying to copy experiments in employee environment development from the bleeding edge companies that are not best practices.  If you are not a Google, which innately has the DNA of allowing to fail fast to learn, you should consider caution as in Schumpeter's article in The Economist here.

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