design thinking

‘Design Thinking’ is Reshaping the Office Real Estate Industry

Office design is a hot topic, proven to influence company reputation, employee retention, and recruitment, but in most cases, creativity goes overboard and companies are left with eye-catching office chairs that are very awkward to sit on. Design trade-offs are making their way into the workplace due to macro-trends that pay little heed to genuine workplace needs. New, futuristic office design may garner quick wins for companies that are looking to mask old-fashioned real estate solutions but, in reality, conceptual desks, plastic dividers, slippery slides, and disco meeting rooms run dry, rather quickly. Companies concerned with the long-term wellbeing of workers ought to turn their attention to design thinking, an approach that uses storytelling to make ideas and products more relatable to consumers.

When we started our coworking spaces, Mindspace, we applied meticulous design of each of our locations worldwide. We see things differently, and are always asking “Why?” We believe that success, among other things, stems from our dedication to design thinking, rather than from the way our spaces simply appear. To create an environment that will engage, inspire and motivate teams from our varying membership of companies, our team of designers discovers the unarticulated needs of individuals before leading with solutions. We currently operate 16 locations worldwide and it has become clear that workplaces that prioritise fervent research into worker psychology — how they achieve greatness and what their precise professional wishes are — are more likely to succeed in the long run.

It’s time to trade the passing trends of office design for long term solutions which can be found in coworking spaces, driven by design thinking.

Design thinking solves complex problems and finds desirable solutions for individual needs. It informs human-centered innovation and draws upon logic, imagination, intuition, and systematic reasoning to explore the possibilities of what could be, and to create desired outcomes that benefit the end user.

A design mindset is not problem-focused, it is solution-focused and action-oriented towards creating a prefered future. Much like coworking, it grew out of a temporary solution for freelancers and has become a permanent fixture that is redefining working life.[click_to_tweet tweet=”Workplaces that are motivated by #DesignThinking produce loyal, happy and dedicated employees who are inspired to reinvent themselves everyday, and innovate like never before.” quote=”Workplaces that are motivated by design thinking produce loyal, happy and dedicated employees who are inspired to reinvent themselves everyday, and innovate like never before.” theme=”style1″]

The value of design is hard to measure and define as a business strategy. Most businesses don’t engage in the effort to make their spaces look fabulous, but design thinkers use a structured framework for understanding and pursuing innovation in ways that add real value. In 2014, it was discovered that the the most innovative companies in the world employ this type of analytical design as an integrative resource that makes them innovate most efficiently and successfully. The DMI (Design Value Index) revealed that over the previous 10 years, design-led companies had maintained significant stock market advantage, outperforming the S&P by an amazing 228%.

Coworking spaces typically strive to provide an environment that is both a real estate and human resources solution. As opposed to just providing a place to work from, coworking focuses on desired actions and results to increase effectiveness. Workplaces that are motivated by design thinking produce loyal, happy and dedicated employees who are inspired to reinvent themselves everyday, and innovate like never before. While office design is generally developed from a place of revenue and profit interest, coworking spaces like Mindspace are concerned with the deep understanding of key stakeholder needs.

At Mindspace, design thinking leads the way to create a highly productive and inspiring product. We want people to feel welcomed as well as mentally stimulated on a daily basis. To get our members to expand their minds, they first need to trust their surroundings and feel comfortable. It is important to create an environment that can contain two worlds, with a lounging, relaxed atmosphere that is also professional and uplifting. You may want to think of it as a contemporary twist on an old-fashioned living room complete with vintage furnishings, shelves spilling over with old books and records, and an open layout fit with glass-walled private offices, pops of color and interesting textures.

design thinkingArt is at the cornerstone of design thinking, and in the workplace, it defines the attitude and character of the brand, as well as the atmosphere it aims to create. At Mindspace, we research and partner with local artists to curate a balance of both lighthearted and thought-provoking pieces to exhibit throughout the site. Whilst critical art is stimulating and requires deep interpretation, the juxtaposition of tongue-in-cheek creations reminds team members to have a good time.

Contrary to popular belief, the new age of coworking is not about open-space. It’s a shared working environment with private offices, where teams can focus in privacy and still have access to shared spaces and community right outside their door. We design private offices because, at the end of the day, it’s the best way to get things done. Our soundproof, glass-walled private offices house teams of any size and create the ideal balance for being part of a community, but having your own personal space. The coworking space is also equipped with private phone booths, common areas, kitchens, lounges and terraces that encourage informal meetings, networking, sharing great ideas and experiences.

Diversifying working life with a dynamic physical environment is key to getting things done productively, and it’s also wonderful for people who work late and may need to shake things up. Revolutionary design solutions indeed stem from observations and letting consumers take the lead. As Peter Drucker once said, “A designer’s job is to convert need into demand.”

Theoretically, open space is fun but most people require a distraction-free environment to work efficiently.  This doesn’t mean we stray from having a good time; our spaces are kitted out with swings, bean bags, dens, secret hideouts, private booths, and more – devoted to uplifting the working experience. Loving your work goes a long way – the right environment makes workers more devoted and makes a company more attractive to the finest talent.

Design thinking is for everyone, not just for designers. Product managers, CEOs, HR managers, entrepreneurs – think of how you would like something to work or play out, and design it to facilitate that objective. It begins with the end in mind and offers a truly integrative approach to projects. By applying this process everyone can hopefully achieve the desired results of their products. We have been able to cultivate what we think is a unique working experience in our spaces by using this principle and hopefully we can inspire others to use the same approach in their projects.

Propmodo is a global multimedia effort to explore how emerging technologies affect our built environment.

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