This paper aims to share recent research to inform the design and facility management community on how to design and operate offices that enhance interaction, creativity and ultimately innovation.
A two‐year applied research project was conducted which involved a literature review followed by field studies. Surveys conducted in the offices of five diverse organisations piloted new methods for investigating interaction, termed WorkWareCONNECT.
Key findings include: more meetings occur in office buildings with more meeting space; on average meeting rooms are used 37 per cent of the time; the quantity and quality of space is important but does not overcome organisational factors; much creative thought takes place alone.
Conducting fieldwork in the real world has its limitations. For example, only five organisations were surveyed and therefore the results may be considered by some not to be representative. However, the paper considers that the data collected in real offices are realistic and valid.
The research resulted in a calculator for determining meeting room numbers and sizes, a system for prescribing the best media for interaction, design guidelines for interaction spaces, and guidance on the etiquette of successful meetings.
In the current economic climate many organisations focus on reducing costs and under‐cutting competitors. However, it is innovation that gives businesses a competitive edge and innovation starts with good interaction and creativity.
The recommendations are drawn from both the design and management communities. The research has resulted in practical advice to facilities managers, designers and the business heads.
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