Empowering Workspaces

Last night I was watching, yet again, The Pixar Story from ’97. I’ve seen this a number of times and each time I usually get something new out of it. This time wasn’t any different – I picked up on something Jobs said about creating spaces to foster ‘unintended collaboration” for the staff and artists at Pixar. The interesting thing here was that although everyone has an office there were also massive open areas to meet. I also picked up on the phrase ‘…offices are like blank canvases…’ In my opinion the environment you work in, that you create in, and that you are supposedly generating your best work in, should be areas that are comfortable and make you NOT want to go home. If your office isn’t comfortable, if it doesn’t reflect your perspective or your point of view, then you’re going to be out of sync. Research has shown that offices and meeting rooms with higher ceilings tend to create loftier ideas. Lower ceilings promote more constrained thinking. I’ll go so far as to say that if everyone’s office looks the same then everyone will be generating the same ideas. Great if you’re a CPA firm or a law office. Bad if you’re creating new products or trying to change the world. Give people some freedom to create an area that reflects their personality.