Spaces to think, do, deisgn, innovate

Where do I get away to do all this innovation? What about space helps make creativity, idea generation, and innovation work?

In the last 10 years there have been changes in how office workers are organized to help enhance creativity and innovation. What do these spaces look like? Where are they?

Here is a list of several spaces companies can travel for off site collaboration:
Each space offers its own unique blend of space, service, culture, and character. A common theme for all is open spaces, plenty of Post-it notes, candy, toys, and lots of wall space (for all those Post-it notes!). Oh, don't forget the ever popular white board/white wall!

What really distinguishes them is the support staff and facilitation. A great physical space can be ruined by poor facilitation. All the sites will work with a client to setup the site to fit the needs of the group and work to create a plan to help gain value from the experience.

On the topic of spaces, Alexander Kjerulf wrote a blog post on October 2006 about
10 seeeeeriously cool workplaces, which highlights what some companies are doing to engage employees. The pictures of the slide at Red Bull HQ in London looks fun.

If you are going to build a space, please read the article "Stimulating Innovation with Collaboration Rooms" By G. Lynne Snead and Joyce Wycoff. They do a great job to define why a space is important and what characteristics of the space to keep in mind.

Personally speaking, I have been to several of the spaces listed above for various events. Here are some of my thoughts on them.

The Thinkubator at the Solution People space in Chicago is a fun space. The mix of toys is impressive and the giant "Abacus" sculpture from Arthur Andersen's former collection is a great conversation piece. Handling 40 people in the space could happen but it would be cramped. There is not much in the neighborhood so outside excursions would be limited. The Solution People staff are super in helping you with your needs.

The Spark Space in Columbus, Ohio is in a great location of the city to allow for outdoor exploration and to get away during those week long innovation immersions. The Spark Space staff are really excellent (! super !) and will go to great lengths to get what you need for your group. It is large enough for 50 people and can be configured into several rooms so sub groups can break out.

The Infinium site in Kansas City is a very elegant space with several smaller rooms for groups to meet. The mix of toys is more aligned with facilitation techniques than just fun but this emphasis helps you bring to mind why you are there. This space is in an art district of Kansas City, which offers many escapes to interesting ethnic restaurants and art galleries.

Suite-D in Indianapolis is a smaller site tied to Insight2's office and innovation consulting. It would fit comfortably about 25 to 35 people. There are several smaller rooms available to help breakout, plus the main space has an observation window (one way kind) that can be used for various focus group sessions.

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