Making Space for Better Outcomes

Over the past week I’ve made visits to a number of interactive agency offices and noticed something significant.¬†All of them have a major part of their space under construction.The reasons offered by the senior managers of these firms as to why they are making this investment are nearly identical. They want to more closely connect team members to the arc of the process and elevate the work through collaboration on a natural, everyday basis. The days of sitting with people who have pretty much the same role; take in the assignment, add their part and then pass it along to the next team on the assembly line are over. Thankfully.

The convergence of channels and interfaces has made the need to do great marketing, branding sales and service simultaneously, and primarily in digital, of utmost importance. Every agency had a plan taped to the wall of the open space detailing the objective of the new design, sprinkled with artifacts; tables, chairs, colors and space purposes. All of this is meant to redefine how people work in a world that has been redefined by technology, devices and increased competition to stand out amid the clutter.

Corporations could learn a lot from this. Most of us are still trapped in a meeting mentality. In my opinion, work doesn’t get done in meetings. It’s kind of like planning for “quality time with your spouse or children.” It can’t be easily manufactured. Oftentimes the best experiences are spontaneous and occur at the most unexpected times. It’s the opposite of a meeting. One of the things I hear often among people who work in big firms is the following.

We should get all the stakeholders in a room for one day and knock out all the requirements and make all the tough decisions. When we walk away we’ll have exactly what we want to do and then we can go do it.

If that doesn’t speak volumes about the silos and layers and approval processes and over-collaboration, yes you can over collaborate, then I don’t know what does. There is a strong desire among people to work better, smarter and faster. Certainly no one thing or one space will magically make this happen, but I think these agencies are on to something meaningful here, and all of us should pay attention.