I know what you’re wondering. What kinds of spaces are optimal for innovation to flourish? How can you create an environment that boosts creativity? Is it even possible for individual creativity to flourish just by making some physical changes?
You’ve seen the ‘labs’ with bean bags, the ‘hubs’ with a foosball table and the ‘design spaces’ with post-it-note walls. As innovation becomes more of a ‘buzz’ word, it’s important to stamp out the fluff out there and understand what tried and tested methods actually work when it comes to optimising your work space for innovation and creativity. At Inventium, we use a science-based approach to innovation so our office and workshop spaces are deliberately planned with this in mind.
So what’s something that actually works? And importantly, why?
You’ve probably seen offices that have some kind of greenery or flora – and if you’ve dropped into our office, you’ll see that there is an abundance of plants. This seems like something simple and common to do but respected research conducted by Janetta Mitchell McCoy & Gary W. Evans found significant improvements in creative performance when a view of a natural environment was present. Using elements of nature for your innovation space can foster creativity and enhance the performance of idea generation.
Numerous other studies including research by Dr. Roger S. Ulrich of Texas A&M University, Helen Russell of Surrey University in England and Dr. Virginia Lohr of Washington State University confirm that plants significantly lower workplace stress and enhance worker productivity. Natural elements are also less structured than typical office spaces, which provide more stimulus for creative thought. Dr Amantha Imber speaks to this and 50 other proven ways to boost creativity in her book, The Creativity Formula.
If you’re in the process of designing your innovation space right now, you might consider:
- Choosing an office or space that has a view overlooking a park or natural scenery
- Selecting furniture made from natural materials, such as wood
- Including lots of plants in the space
- If all else fails, pin up some posters or frame pictures of natural environments – research shows that this works just as well!
If you have a team working on this, think about upskilling their knowledge on what other scientifically proven elements works best when designing your innovation space!