By Bond Collective Staff
Does your business need more collaboration and creativity? An innovation space may be the solution.
Setting aside a unique place within your office environment where your teams can gather, brainstorm, and push your products and services to the next level is well worth the time and effort.
In this article, we investigate what makes an innovation space and give you tips for creating your own from scratch.
Before we discuss the innovation space itself, it would do us well to back up one step and examine the root of the concept: innovation.
Innovation is defined as:
The practical implementation of ideas that result in the introduction of new goods, services, or the method by which those goods and services are offered.
It’s important to understand going forward that innovation is very different from the regular, day-to-day work in which a company engages.
Some businesses spend their entirety doing regular work without pushing the boundaries of their industry. Other businesses do nothing but innovate, while most businesses do both to differing degrees.
For example, if your team is building an app, regular work is relying on standard methods to get things done. Innovation is solving a problem in a novel and unique way (perhaps with a new bit of code or a spin on the standard interface) that pushes the boundaries of the industry and, perhaps, has never been tried before.
The key to this discussion, however, is that innovation doesn’t just happen. Sure, once in a great while, a team member may experience a stroke of genius.
But, more often than not, innovation is something that takes time and must be nurtured through various stages of development. That’s where the innovation space comes in.
What Is An Innovation Space?
An innovation space is any room or, well, space, that is set aside for the sole purpose of brainstorming and thinking about how to make the product, service, or business itself better.
It takes a significant shift in thinking to switch from day-to-day work to the business of transformation and change, so innovation spaces are often designed to inspire the energetic exchange of ideas and provide the means by which to test and play with the new concept.
In most cases, this testing and playing revolve around computers and connectivity, but every business is different, so your team may do just as well with whiteboards and sticky notes.
Regardless of whether you outfit the space with the latest VR technology or stick to paper and pencil, most innovation spaces include the same basic design elements, which we’ll discuss in the next section.
How To Create An Innovation Space
1) Choose The Right Size Room
The right size room for your innovation space depends a lot on the number of individuals on your team.
A small team will do just fine in a conference room, but a large team will certainly need more room to spread out.
2) Provide Movable Furniture
In most innovation spaces, team members want to be able to work wherever the inspiration strikes them.
If they’re involved in an intense brainstorming session, they don’t want to worry about losing the magic because they have to stop to figure out where everyone is going to sit. They want to be able to pull a few surfaces together and take advantage of the vision.
Modular and mobile components and furniture make that possible. Equip the space with items such as rolling cabinets, adjustable monitor arms, adjustable-height desks, and tables and chairs that team members can move easily.
When you include movable furniture in your innovation space, you remove a major speed bump in workflow and make it easier for your teams to concentrate on finding unique solutions, getting things done, and pushing your business forward.
3) Outfit Your Innovation Space With Plenty Of Technology
Technology is the cornerstone of the modern innovation space.
Computers, tablets, screen sharing, and the fast internet and WiFi to power it all, give your team the tools they need to get creative, collaborate, and find new solutions for your business.
The technology you choose certainly depends on the type of business you run and the needs of your team, but for some great ideas on how to outfit your innovation space, check out these articles from the Bond Collective blog:
4) Minimize The Clutter
Clutter is distracting. The sense of disorganization that permeates a cluttered workspace seriously affects some people’s happiness and productivity.
So, before you attempt to improve your innovation space by adding things, try removing things first. Here are a few suggestions for decluttering:
Hire a commercial cleaner
Go wireless if possible
Invest in storage solutions
Corral and hide the power cords
Minimize items on the horizontal surfaces
Give this issue some serious thought, and we’re sure you’ll come up with plenty of unique ways to keep your home office clutter-free.
5) Add Color For Inspiration
Color is an important addition to any innovation space. It communicates a sense of atmosphere that can affect your employees in a variety of ways.
If the walls, furniture, and floors are permeated by neutral grays and tans, employees can feel uninspired and sluggish for no apparent reason. If dark colors dominate, employees can feel tired even first thing in the morning.
That’s not to say that you can never use neutral or dark colors. But drab colors do nothing to encourage creativity and inspiration. That’s why modern design esthetics often incorporate vivid colors into the workspaces.
To keep your employees energized, engaged, and productive, punctuate your innovation space with areas of bright color.
Whether you’re organizing different areas according to a certain color scheme or just scattering pops of color here and there, studies show that varied bright hues give your team a boost and improve productivity, creativity, and overall happiness.
6) Decorate With Natural Materials And Textures
Want to make your innovation space feel happier, more comfortable, and more productive? Include natural elements in your design.
Natural accents such as exposed concrete, brick, wood floors, wood beams, and painted steel are simple natural design elements that bring the outside in, boost morale, and inspire your team to greatness.
7) Soften Your Innovation Space With Plants
Another easy way to enhance your innovation space is to soften the area with plenty of plants — both large and small.
You can arrange a cluster of large plants in the corner of the room or line the windowsills with smaller plants to break up all the hard, flat surfaces. You can even hang plants from the ceiling for even more inspiration.
Looking for more on decorating your office environment with plants? Take a few minutes to read these helpful articles from the design experts at Bond Collective:
8) Give The Room A Cool Name
Every innovation space needs a cool name — if for no other reason than to set it apart from every other room in your office.
A unique name also serves to put team members in a creative mood and inspires them to switch their thinking from the daily grind in the rest of the office to the creativity, collaboration, and whimsy that is necessary to do things differently.
For tips on how to choose the perfect name for your innovation space, check out this article from the Bond Collective blog: Room Naming: How To Choose An Epic Name For Your Conference Room.
Innovation Space At Your Fingertips
If you want innovation space at your fingertips without the stress, strain, and expense of building your own from the ground up, base your team in a coworking space from Bond Collective.
Each of our shared working environments incorporates inspiring design elements like natural light, mobile furniture, tasteful and professional decor, and multipurpose workspaces.
And at Bond Collective, the benefits don’t stop with the office space. In addition to our unique work settings, members also enjoy amenities such as:
Daily on-site cleaning
Guest reception and greeting
Private-label mail service
Fast Ethernet and WiFi
Concession food market
Networking and curated events
If you’re looking for an innovation space — or even just a day-to-day work environment — that is sure to increase your team’s happiness and productivity, become a member of Bond Collective.
Tour our gorgeous coworking spaces in New York, California, Washington D.C., Illinois, Pennsylvania, and Texas. Then, take advantage of our coworking spaces, dedicated desks, and private offices to suit all your business needs.
To get started or to learn more about the advantages of coworking spaces for digital nomads, remote workers, and businesses of all types and sizes, visit BondCollective.com today.