What would you do with 1000 square feet?

You’re given 1000 square feet of real estate in your business’s headquarters, and have the financial resources to build it out and staff it as you please, as long as it becomes a major hub of activity for IT and the Business.  You need to make it a place that buzzes, where things get done.  What’s the plan?

© Michael C. Simonelli, onthegocio.com, 2013

4 responses to “What would you do with 1000 square feet?”

  1. Amit Sarwal says :

    I would setup an information exchange. I have noticed a significant number of questions in the minds of employees across all divisions, that somehow never get answered, or take too long for each one to find out. These questions related to strategy, vision, business environment, technology, and a number of policies and processes. Organizations invest a lot on communications, but still many of the messages leave employees wondering with their follow-up questions. Additionally, a number of project resources spend a lot of time gathering information about process, other systems, business rules etc. Typical formality associated with getting the answers sometimes even discourages employees to even ask.

    I propose to have a team of some very smart people, analytical, from a variety of disciplines, and able to connect the dots and make business sense using all the information that is being published or available to everyone. They consolidate information from a number of sources, understand it, and are able to respond to a variety of questions. People could just call, walk-in, ask a question, and get some immediate responses – a typical 2-5 minute interaction. In some case, the team might need time to do more analysis, gather additional data, and will respond in a reasonable time-frame.

    This would go a long way in improving employee morale, managers making more informed decisions, and reduced overhead of information search for everyone. Additionally, the team will facilitate information sharing sessions on specific topics as needed. I see this as a big differentiator between a progressive and a shrinking business.

    • Michael C. Simonelli says :

      Thank you for your comment. An interesting concept – a real time consultancy of sorts, a brick & mortar information mart that cuts through the protocol, brings people face to face, to communicate on the broad organizational topics, as well as the more targeted interests potentially. You mention staffing it with a team of smart folks from across the disciplines; I think this is one of the keys to upping the value per transaction that would occur in the space, and making it a place to draw returning frequenters. So much of what we do is calendar-driven and takes place in boring rooms. The alternative of more dynamic interaction in creative environments is one that deserves more exploration,

  2. Cassandra John says :

    Mike, first thing, it’s very nice to see your real estate on the web. I enjoyed your insights when we worked together.

    Secondly, in thinking about 1,000 square feet of space, the first thing I would do is consult this book, Make Space (http://www.amazon.com/Make-Space-Stage-Creative-Collaboration/dp/1118143728) authored via the d.school at Stanford (http://dschool.stanford.edu/).

    Having worked in various office settings, you can either setup a space that encourages and creates collaborative moments, activities, and process, or discourages it.

    After that I would consider what I call “dissonance in hiring”. I like to structure teams that have fundamental agreements in goals, but different ways to getting there. It’s so easy in today’s work environment to chase and focus on deep specialization, but creativity and breakthroughs I still believe to be interdisciplinary and driven by a measure of creative conflict. Ginni Rometty (IBM) said that “comfort and growth cannot coexist” and that’s something I take to heart.

    • Michael C. Simonelli says :

      Thank you Cassandra for your comments. “Make Space” indeed appears to be an interesting reference for this discussion. While at E&Y and Capgemini, we had a global network of 2 key environments, the Accelerated Solutions Environment (ASE), and the Advanced Delivery Center (ADC), both very specifically constructed to motivate preferred behaviors for people working in the space. These environments were constructed to dynamically reconfigure to accommodate various capability patterns that might be exercised in the space. The ASE is actually patented as such. Knowledge, sound, music, color, textures, people, collaborative spirit, seasoned facilitation, bring life to these spaces, to deliver an out-of-the-ordinary spin to working through the challenges and the opportunities of the day. You enter the space and you are invigorated, you creatively and intellectually understand what you are to do. As opposed to , as you mention, entering a humdrum and typical office space or conference room with the obligatory easel, pad, and grease pen, and feeling collaboratively discouraged.

      I agree with your statement regarding creativity and breakthrough being interdisciplinary. I believe this is one part motivation and one part learning. See http://publib.boulder.ibm.com/infocenter/rmc/v7r5m0/index.jsp?topic=%2Fcom.ibm.rmc.help.doc%2Ftopics%2Fc_capability_pattern.html

      Consider specific spaces for specific capability patterns. Some interesting work being done here http://sciencehouse.com/ and here http://collaborationinc.com/

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