We get asked all kinds of questions about innovation. Over a decade ago, we were asked to recommend an approach to designing R&D spaces for a Fortune 100 firm. After a fairly extensive research effort, we recommended the approach you seen in the diagram to the right. We found that innovative spaces were spaces that allowed for accidental, spontaneous interaction among researchers. According to a recent piece by Ben Waber, Jennifer Magnolfi, and Greg Lindsay in the Harvard Business Review, the idea is catching on:
We’ve learned, for example, that face-to-face interactions are by far the most important activity in an office. [Scott Birnbaum, a vice president of Samsung Semiconductor] is on to something when he talks about getting employees to “collide,” because our data suggest that creating collisions—chance encounters and unplanned interactions between knowledge workers, both inside and outside the organization—improves performance.
That’s exactly what we found a decade ago. It’s good to see our advice has held up. Any other questions about innovation? Let us know.