Transforming Your Workplace: From Cubicles to Collaboration

August 4, 2017 | | View Comments

At July’s Design Museum Mornings, we listened to Jen Teckenberg’s insights on revitalizing our workplaces as we adapt to advancing technologies and changes in company structure. Jen was able us to show that everyone—not just the executives—can take steps to become aware of our work and collaboration needs, and take these ideas to make our workplaces better.

“The first step is awareness”

The typical approach to work is changing, from technology that allows us to work virtually from anywhere to an increased awareness of wellness in the workplace. As Jen puts it, “Work is no longer a place where we have to punch in from 9 to 5; it can be an expression of ourselves.” The first step towards transforming a workplace from a dreary office space into a vibrant environment is to recognize that these spaces truly are a reflection of our interests and values. Since workplaces belong to all of us, from CEOs to interns, we can all do our part to recognize and share the impact of design awareness. At Design Museum, we believe that “design is everywhere,” and that the design of workplaces has tremendous influence in our lives.

“Nothing is too small”

Oftentimes, innovative workplaces are implemented in large corporations with hundreds or even thousands of employees – and these are the case studies we read about and recognize. Smaller or more lean organizations may find this kind of innovation, from analysis to design to build, far from attainable. According to Jen, there is a great learning opportunity here! Those big corporate renovations can be a testing ground for smaller organizations or startups, who can learn from other companies’ projects, and apply those best practices in their own ways.

“Are you Google?”

Jen runs into a particular situation frequently: a company or organization will approach her to improve their office, and they’ll ask, “what’s Google doing? What are their workplaces like?” To which she responds, “are you Google?” What appears to be a silly or obvious question is actually an important one, because it taps into what makes a great workplace. “We partner with organizations to understand the uniqueness and individuality of those organizations, because they are just as individual as the people that work there.” This teaches us that in any working situation, it is important to take matters into your own hands, because it is the people—not the money—that truly harbor the power to innovate the workplace.

Design Museum Foundation is passionate about workplace innovation, which is why we’ve created the Center for Workplace Innovation.

What is the Center for Workplace Innovation?

Well-designed workplaces translate into higher productivity, happier teams, longer employee retention, and increased revenue. Workplace innovation is a multidisciplinary endeavor, involving many design disciplines: architects, interior designers, furniture designers, product designers, graphic designers – it also involves business leaders, entrepreneurs, behavioral scientists, organizational behavior experts, and more.

The Center for Workplace Innovation at Design Museum Foundation exists to demonstrate how design and innovation can transform the way we work. The Center is part think tank and part resource – a hub for content and inspiration, cultivating a global community of thought leaders to advance the field. Our goal is to educate and inspire, to drive change in workplaces around the world.

Each year, the CWI puts on a Workplace Innovation Summit. This time, there will be two summits – one in Boston, and one in San Francisco. Visit this link to learn more!