Designing Tomorrow’s Innovation Spaces

Innovation spaces can range from business incubators to academic research centers, and as such creative spaces proliferate, a new paper from the Brookings Institution, “Innovation Spaces, The New Design of Work,” points out that they’re converging.

Researchers interviewed scores of architects and building managers to determine how they were designing and implementing today’s creative spaces. The report finds that the key is encouraging communication across specialties. Architects say the goal is to design “spaces that strengthen interactions, communication, and collaboration; and spaces that are open, transparent and contextually responsive.” Instead of focusing on colorful designs or flashy technology, the sites are being designed with an emphasis on bringing people together.

Perhaps most important, these spaces are now being designed in large part by the creative people who need them. The “design no longer evolves only from the client or the leaders of an organization,” the report finds. “Rather, the process now includes those who will use the space. This, in part, moves us closer to the ‘democratization’ of innovation, where workers are elevated and empowered to articulate how a space should be molded to support their needs and ambitions.”

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