Adonis Diaries

Is the design of seating arrangements in workplace promoting Inspiration?

Posted on: August 12, 2013

Do the design of seating arrangements promote Inspiration?

Do you think Apple, Google, Pixar, and other giants can be wrong in their seating arrangements?

Do you feel that these arrangement:

  • make the spaces appear homely to promote a relaxed environment, which leads to a mind receptive to unrelated stimuli.
  • integrate multiple types of seating to encourage long conversations.
  • are designed to maximize random encounters, which maximises exposure to random stimuli.

Google studies show that this arrangement was responsible for innovations like Gmail and Street View, and has boosted creativity by 25%.

A few samples of how Google and Pixar designed their seating arrangements.
(Pixar photographs by Sharon Risedorph)

how Google and Pixar design their seating arrangements

Do you think the seating arrangements were adopted to satisfy the best environment to increase inspiration?

As best selling author Robert Greene in ‘Mastery’ gave  the two steps that invite inspiration:

  1. relax: you relax without focusing directly on the problem. you take walks or attend unrelated activities. the tension disappears and you can easily accept incoming stimuli. you invite unexpected ideas no matter how irrational, then explore where they lead. you note down these ideas, especially when you’re most relaxed; while dozing off to sleep or waking up.
  2. widen your search: our minds are limited and cannot explore all possibilities. instead we rely on random stimulation, which leads to inspiration. to maximize this, you widen your search into other fields. most importantly you’ll want to trust this process.
  3. Trust that the mind, when exposed to a multitude of unrelated ideas, will make the most unheard-of associations; associations often labeled as genius.

When we focus on a project, it’s like facing a tiger: Our attention becomes so focused and narrow, and we grow tense, and the mind reduces the amount of stimuli down to only what’s vital.  We fail to notice all the inspiring possibilities around us.

Armed with this knowledge, both designers and hospitality concept-owners can benefit.  Concept-owners can either throw a tiger in front of their designers and create urgency, or they can give them the space to ignore ‘the need for certainty‘, to step into the unknown, and to invite inspiration. each has its pros and cons. the best judge is you.

Designs of seat arrangement and sitting implements are one of the oldest endeavor in human development.

You see people assembled in circles around a fire, students seated in rows, or semi-circles…

Tables in shapes that are intended to provide the necessary connotation of how discussions and dialogue will proceed…

One of the important and oldest field in Human Factors in engineering is the design of workplaces. The beginning was to design mass production facilities, and then it focused attention on the safety of workplaces, and the health of the workers and employees.

It goes without saying that if body comfort is not cared for, all the seating arrangements will not offer the proper environment for inspiration and communication.

Experiment on seats and seating arrangements must simultaneously factor in the body variability and the psychological  well being, the safety and health (physically and mentally).

That’s what make experiments on seats and seating arrangement very difficult and time consuming, since they involve people’s variability and differences.

In a previous article, I proposed that lower echelon employees should enjoy private spaces, while the higher echelon should be working in an open space for all to communicate with easily.

https://adonis49.wordpress.com/2010/05/26/the-door-is-always-open-decide-to-enter/

 

 

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adonis49

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