Space: The Final Frontier in Making the Intangible Tangible
- January 02, 2018
I’ve been quite literally traveling through spaces to engage in, and experience how my colleagues around the globe think about and implement design for our clients. How do they build physical spaces to spark transformation and create ideas for business disruption?
There is a global trend for companies to create such spaces for various reasons: showcasing innovation and technology capabilities, fostering day-to-day workforce collaboration, client co-creation and others. In October, NTT DATA inaugurated its first European Innovation Lab in Munich. And a few weeks ago, I was part of a space initiative in our new Madrid Design Studio. I also received an invitation to the new C1 Innovation Lab for Blue Cross and Blue Shield in downtown Dallas, which is also in the throes of its own “space” re-invention.
But why are companies investing so much of themselves in creating these new spaces? Concepts and ideas are hard enough to convey between co-workers and companies, let alone showing how these can disrupt a business and help the latter grow. With the tremendous advances in technology today, knowing what value new solutions can provide without actually seeing it, can be difficult. More and more of what companies are aspiring to deliver in terms of cutting-edge experiences that engage the end-user are hard to imagine. Customers need to experience them.
And hence the birth of physical spaces — or design studios, innovation labs or co-habitation — which aspire to do the above.
At NTT DATA Services, my team was tasked with creating such a space, and I found the following most helpful. I would recommend these steps if your organization is planning to create such a space:
- Define the purpose: What is the purpose of the space? Showcase solutions? Attract talent? Generate revenue? Figure that out first, and incorporate it into the vision and mission for your space.
- Define the personas: People are the center of the space; they are the ones to derive value from either exploring or working there. But don’t think you need to be everything to everyone. Figure out your true business need, and how it delivers value to the persona you serve. More importantly, document it. Articulate how you want people to feel and think when they are in your space. Inspired? Excited? Emboldened?
- What will the place look like? How will the space be laid out with furniture, equipment, white boards and technology? Will it be a fixed space or movable? Once you define the “why” and “who” it is for, you can detail what needs to be in the space to deliver the vision.
- What’s in a name? A lot, actually. Branding the space is important, and it needs to reflect the why, who and what the space is serving. Branding also helps to build excitement with the right name and materials behind it — both internally and in the marketplace.
Experiences with my “space”
I’m excited the space my team has been creating over the past eight months was inaugurated in November! Here is how we answered the above questions:
- Our purpose: To provide an immersive, interactive and inspirational space to explore new experiences and solve client challenges
- Our personas: For clients and employees desiring a short-term work space to co-create. It is not a permanent workspace some studios often portray. It is a fluid space for different teams of colleagues and/or clients to come in and tangibly explore solutions.
- What it looks like: Interactive and immersive technology that either demonstrates NTT IP or facilitates the use of the space to educate, understand and solve. This includes movable and re-configurable walls so the space can be fluid, based on end-user needs or technology changes. We don’t want to rebuild the space every year for reinvention, but rather rip and replace the interchangeable parts.
- Our name: Collaboration Center. We believe the emphasis needs to be on the human-to-human and human-to-technology interaction, not design or innovation alone. We believe innovation and design will happen naturally and is not the sole purpose of the center.
Curious to learn how we can help your company explore undiscovered “spaces”? Contact us at PlanoCC@nttdata.com.
Get more information on the Collaboration Center here.