Every organizational change program inevitably requires a workspace transformation project. Every workplace design project inevitably requires an organizational design project.
This linkage between space and organizational culture is really rather fascinating. Almost every organization feels it, yet few have the courage to fully exploit it.
When companies begin to feel the need for change – when productivity declines, when attracting essential talent is unsuccessful, when staff begins to move elsewhere, when competitive innovation is a struggle to achieve – they begin to look around. The leading companies in their industries have deployed a workspace designed to support and enhance the experience of work, to foster the creativity and innovation that makes them leaders. In their own workspace, however, the lagging companies see the remnants of an older management philosophy built for control, a workspace built to reduce interactions, to reinforce hierarchy and process order, to take attendance.
The next move for many companies is to say, "Design us something like Google," assuming that replicating the style of a creative and innovative workspace will bring them the performance that they envy in others.
But, as Tom Goodwin observes, "We’ve come to celebrate the theatre of innovation not the workshop of it. Innovation is sweaty, risky, terrifying and takes balls...It's not a session, it can't be shipped in, or outsourced for a sunny Friday. It's a culture."
The workspace you've been in has shaped your culture. The next one may do that as well, but the right one will be the design the reflects who you truly are. For your next move, make sure you get it the right way around.