Office Space Design: What’s Most Conducive to Creativity?
When it comes to the origins of exceptional design, there are two overarching visions for cultivating creativity. One is a lone master meting out genius in total solitude. The other is a group of peers brainstorming until collaboration yields the best possible product. So what is most conducive to creativity—singular vision or a group voice—and how can we design work spaces that best cater to it?
There’s been a recent surge in the popularity of open-plan offices designed to promote intensive collaboration among employees. But in her recent bestseller, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, Susan Cain explains how brainstorming can actually reduce creativity because it can make people feel insecure and bend to peer pressure. Intensive solo study, it seems, may actually be the best way to generate ideas. Collaboration, however, has its place in the creative process, too. Group settings are better suited for fostering constructive criticism, problem solving, and the implementation of good ideas.
The implication for office design is that flexibility is key. How can we best design nuanced work spaces that allow for both the solitude necessary for creative ideas to emerge, and the collaboration required to see them through?