The UK Accelerated Solutions Environment (ASE) recently invested in a centre refresh. That refresh was driven by a desire and need to update technology but resulted in a far larger change programme. Part of that programme saw the physical space in Holborn having a pretty radical face lift. To anyone walking in, they’d never realise the thinking behind the interior design but as a member of the ASE team, I’ve found it fascinating to dig deeper into the philosophy, trends and rationale behind the final product.
A space designed to affect how we work
The ASE has a saying: ‘everything speaks’. It means that everything should be by design, not by default and as a consequence we consider every element of facilitation for our events. Interior design and soft furnishings are part of this as they affect how people move through a space, how people interact with a space and where their brains might be whilst in the space.
Sometimes people think some of the objects we include in our space are odd, but each one has been carefully considered to enhance the work that is possible in the ASE; we use metaphor, stimulating games and intriguing toys to embellish our environment in a way that promotes imagination, creativity and problem solving skills amongst our clients.
And we’re not alone in our thinking
This isn’t a new concept; any Google search relating to working environments and future trends will see a greater emphasis on creating interesting, well-designed spaces that evoke the response an organisation needs from its people at any given time.
We are seeing a big shift away from traditional cubicles and offices, structure, security, hierarchy and secrecy towards open plan, collaborative spaces that allow for creative thinking, curiosity and chance meetings. It is thought that these are the environments that will spark innovation, see businesses succeed in the future and gel best with the multitasking, collaborative minds of the next generation of workers.
The ASE updated our environment but the real success doesn’t come from having a cool coffee station or fancy model V8 engine, it comes from knowing how to use those assets to get the most from your people. To create the culture that embraces the environment that creates maximum productivity and efficiency.
So how about putting an ‘everything speaks’ hat on for 5 minutes and taking a look at your office? How does it look? How does it feel, sound, smell? What about different times of the day? How do you move through it, how do you interact with it? Now, for your people, for the type of work you need them to do in that space – is it right? Does it evoke the right response? Are you setting them up for success? If not, maybe it’s time you had a little re-design too.