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Build an Environment of Design

May 15, 2015

There is no formula for incorporating elements of design thinking into a business, and while many organizations use different variations of the process, the essential elements of the protocol remain steadfast: observation, collaboration, and experimentation.

Rethinking the Workplace 
Just as design thinking requires a bit of an about-face in terms of the psychology behind how we work, it also mandates a new approach in the physical look and feel of the office space. Just look at the offices of any of the major innovation and design firms in the world— IDEO, Google, etc., or those on the Fortune list of best companies to work for. Communal workspaces and whiteboards are built on the principle of group effort and thought. Employees may sit side-by-side in groups or have separate office spaces built around a communal area, and managers may work within earshot.

Organizing an office around the concepts of collaboration, open thought, and productive discussion averts many intellectual and physical barriers of design thinking. This suggests a paradigm shift in what the office can be—and the possibilities are endless.

Design thinking is a process of recognizing and fulfilling potential—a formula for realizing a more positive future state. To nurture this process, the physical workplace must reflect desired mental states of employees. Intellectual and physical environments are not mutually exclusive. The key is to establish a work environment that empowers workers to think creatively and work collaboratively.