How much does our working environment stifle creativity, and particularly collaborative creativity? The extract below, from some people who do this for a living suggest rather a lot. Glasgow being not always convenient for a handy bit of future drawing, what else could we do? [suggestions containing the phrase 'A0 printer' are at risk of disqualification]
I like to say that if there are more than two IFTF people in a room,
someone’s going to write on a wall (we have whiteboards or windows
everywhere). Not only are we a highly visual culture, but we also tend
to be very public in our visualization: our habit is to construct them
in ways that invite collaboration. To make them inviting, you put them
in a public place– on a whiteboard, not your own notebook– and you
make them big enough so other people can easily see and add to them.
It makes me wonder: how many collaborative work environments
don’t have objects or representations large enough for people to gather
around, talk through, and work on together? For all the fascination
with collaboration in business today (think of the number of companies
who don’t think that collaboration is important), I suspect we
underestimate the degree to which scale and physical layout affect the
way that collaboration happens, and the kinds of knowledge that can be
shared among participants. Of course it’s possible for collaboration to
happen electronically, among people who live miles apart; but there are
things that you can communicate in the room– and things that you think
to communicate– that you can’t over e-mail or blog posts.
And how long before you can replace the room with a wire–
before you can have virtual collaboration that really is a replacement
for being in the same room with other people? Is it just a matter of
bandwidth and processor cycles? Or are there essential elements of
collaboration that can’t be bottled?