INNOVATION? Space Makes A Difference

A growing number of companies are dedicating time and resources to spur innovation among their teams. For some, it’s about maintaining a competitive advantage and strengthening their growing organization. Others see a culture of innovation as a way to improve employee engagement and retain talent. Whatever your company’s reason, making space for innovation is a great place to start.

At Creative Adventure Lab, we think about “making space” in different ways.

Physical Space

First there is physical space. High-energy facilities carefully designed to help teams innovate together more effectively. When we designed our suite of Innovation Spaces, we knew business teams would benefit from meeting spaces that had plenty of whiteboards, lots of places to stick ideas to the wall, great presentation technology and fast, reliable internet.

In addition, great innovation spaces aren’t designed like your typical conference room with tan walls and fixed seating. Innovation spaces incorporate flexible furniture and a little bit of fun (bright colors, bold graphics, etc).

These design elements are small signals that this space, and the work that happens within it, is not business as usual.

Many companies are beginning to build or share physical spaces where teams can get away from the day-to-day business and think “outside of the box.”

Calendar Space

In addition to physical space, there’s also calendar space, which is equally — if not more — important.

Calendar space is all about having a deliberate approach to ensure there’s time for innovation. The most innovative companies dedicate time for their teams to try new things and hatch new ideas.

Google is well-known for letting employees dedicate 10% of their time to new ideas, even to work on their own thing. Locally, we are seeing companies like John Deere, Alliant Energy and MercyOne making time for their teams to get out of individual business units and work together to leverage new opportunities.

A great example of how to combine both physical space and calendar space is Hodge, a local company that specializes in logistics and material handling. It has created an off-site innovation space for teams to use freely throughout the year and made time for teams to participate in innovation processes to generate new ideas.

The combination of both physical and calendar space is helping the business foster high levels of employee engagement that results in new solutions and opportunities. By creating both physical space and calendar space for innovation, companies can empower their teams to create new ideas, find new ways to work and to be more innovative.