Creative hubs, co-working spaces, innovation incubators, collaborative campuses are increasingly emerging across the globe, offering individuals the choice of where, when and how to work. Technology is rapidly evolving, blurring boundaries and allowing many to work without the need for a permanent office.

However, a significant proportion of individuals continue to desire a physical need for community, to have access to a space that provides a sense of identity, to be part of a culture to which they can attach values, independent of their personal goals. Where, traditionally, a large corporate presents a vision and expectation of these values on to their personnel to uphold, the modern worker today expects those values to be shaped around them.

So is it ‘out with the old and in with the new’ more innovative designed ways of working for us all? Is this even realistic and how can organisations be inspired to be proactive with design led changes, opposed to being typically reactive and think that it’s enough to simply refurbish their place of work every 5-10 years to keep up with the Jones'. Do we even want to change our working spots and adjust to modern methods, when lets face it, many of us are creatures of habit.

Change is arguably always for the better, but is workspace design in danger of responding too quickly to fads? Innovation isn’t something that can be forced. You can't necessarily have a room called The Innovation Room and expect great things just to happen.

It's a wonderful parody that great innovations are often seeded and grown within a workspace, be it an office, factory, warehouse or laboratory. The workspace as a backdrop for the process of testing, analysing, refining and implementing ideas, such as the development of the first computer at Bletchley Park during WW2 or the discovery at CERN that allowed the internet to grow from a need for better academic collaboration.

Although incubators and accelerators like Beta-I i Lisbon, Wayra in London and of course Google campus are born to promote entrepreneurship, innovation and inspire a generation of ideas; the majority of workplaces rarely encourage let alone see the value in providing space and time to innovate. Surely growth, opportunities and success of businesses begin with the ability to think and work in a space that fuels this.

So is there a place for innovation in the design of current and future workspaces? Is there a real need for more innovative solutions to enhance and improve how we work? Or will our thirst for technology drive our 9 to 5 towards innovative ways of working that we can’t even begin to imagine yet…?

We asked a series of inspiring thinkers to comment on this paradox, from within the Workspace Design industry and from without. Below are their enlightening thoughts. Let’s start the debate. You might even disagree.

Below are comments we received in our old blog post from:

David Simoes-Brown, Co-Founder and Strategy Partner at 100% Open 

Dr. Craig Knight, Psychologist who specialises in well-being and performance in the workplace, Partner at Identity Realization

Lynne Elvins, Design Advisor for Design Wales and Vice Chair of the West of England Design Forum


Title image the innovative Moulton Bike