New Innovation Center Brings Design Thinking Closer
Catalyst Product Development recently completed construction of its new Innovation Center adding over 500 square feet of creative space dedicated to ideation and brainstorming activities. The new area was designed to accommodate large group collaboration specifically in support of Catalyst’s Design Thinking process.
The room was designed to be “collaborative without constraints” allowing multiple participants to use the shared workspace via external connections and enhanced web conferencing if required. Multiple high-definition displays were installed with wireless connectivity to provide more screen real estate and reduce the distraction of “cable swapping” during meetings. This configuration also allows for the workspace and conversation to grow to the needs of the team by providing the ability to resize, layer and move multiple pieces of content across the multiple screens. This gives speakers more flexibility in the way they can present. The room is also equipped with 50 linear feet (350 square feet) of magnetic white board space for ideation, brainstorming, sketching, and presentation.
Jason Andrews, Catalyst General Manager stated “Of the five collaboration rooms we have on site, the largest can accommodate about 15 people. With that many people, it is very difficult for everyone to see the presentation or have small group discussions. The new Innovation Center was designed to fit our process and it works beautifully. The space not only creates an environment that is conducive to creative thought, but also allows everyone to spread out and get comfortable.”
As the space will be primarily used for collaborative design and presentation activities, it was essential that the area have elements that would create an experience for clients and their delegates. To help shape that experience, the designers focused on aspects that would foster creativity and make participants feel comfortable in engaging in brainstorming and free form thought. A food and beverage area was provided adjacent to the room which allows for social engagement and initial “ice-breaking” along with activities to promote team-building.
Comfortable furniture was chosen that provided flexibility for different room configurations and layouts, depending on the need. Specifically, the space has both a circular “fireside” chat area for smaller, more intimate group discussions, and bar height tables/seating that can be configured for large group conversations or smaller break-out sessions.
“Dual Path Design Thinking is sometimes a new thought process for clients and often times participants are reluctant to share ideas simply because they are concerned about how it might be perceived by the group” said Andrew Mendenhall, Catalyst’s Director of Design Services. “This is especially true of individuals from departments that do not typically engage in the technical or development areas of an organization, although some of the best insights often come from these associates. It is imperative that we make these participants feel comfortable and confident in sharing creative ideas. Having the right kind of space and atmosphere to encourage that helps immensely.”