The Leader Magazine

MAR 2019

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24 March 2019 the leader d esign for the era of complexity Co-creation regards every stakeholder in a project as a creative contributor without hierarchical limits to their input. The most junior line workers as well as the most senior executives may provide key insights to a successful project when they are part of a disciplined process – and managing that process is the responsibility of the design firm. It's no longer sufficient for designers to have great ideas or lots of data. The most important role of the designer today is to discover and merge the appropriate data, the appropriate narrative, the appropriate culture and the appropriate engineering into an authentic and beautiful physical experience. Complexity expert Chris Clearfield says, "The antidote to complexity is not simplicity – it's transparency." That's a fitting description of why co-creation works. It incorporates all the data and insights I've described into a dynamic, transparent and inclusive process that applies techniques of agile development and open innovation: • Set clear goals but seek flexible solutions. • Gather insights from individuals inside and outside traditional decision-making circles. • Facilitate collaboration, openly discussing problems, challenges and tradeoffs with all stakeholders. • Discover and include a wide diversity of opinion, experience, skills and perspectives. • Prototype, test and revise ideas quickly with end users. • Document the creative process and share openly. How do we achieve co-creation? Our clients possess untapped creative raw material – data, experience, narrative, culture. Our role is to help them visualize their workplace without preconceived notions and teach them a whole new vocabulary to relate their ever-changing work needs to a built environment. When the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) engaged Elkus Manfredi Architects to design its new global headquarters, it brought its own advanced methodology to the project. BCG believes the most effective way to bring value to a client is to become its partner; as BCG's partners, we set out on a multi-year project to express and enable the transformation of BCG through its new workspace design. As world experts in business transformation, BCG needed its headquarters to embody the principles like openness and agility that it teaches its clients. Elite consultancies must attract and retain the most sought-after talent in the world, and BCG's success depends on enabling employees to be as effective and innovative as possible in a turbulent, constantly changing business environment. As data and culture experts, BCG understood that co-creation's combination of data analysis and creative brilliance could result in a spectacular realization of both sides of the BCG ethos – human- centric workplaces powered by expert data acumen. Co-creation includes principles learned from agile transformation methodologies, including rapid prototyping and transparency of information. For several years, our partnership tested and piloted ideas like activity-based workplace design in its traditional workspace, gathering detailed data and rich narrative. This is especially apt with a partner whose core business is understanding which innovations drive success. The final design reflects the partnership: BCG's headquarters on the Boston waterfront is both beautiful and capable of transforming to accommodate new business needs. Emphasizing the firm's ethos of openness and community, we replaced traditional closed-door office concepts with workspace that is hospitable, friendly and easy to navigate. A central "Lighthouse Stair" connects seven levels, each themed to suggest Boston's vibrant neighborhoods like Beacon Hill and the North End. Elements derived from hospitality and residential design encourage interaction among employees, clients and the global business community. Thus, lounges, pantries and seating areas are comfortable and inviting and encourage "creative collisions," where information and insights are shared spontaneously. Private and confidential spaces necessary for consulting work integrate both functional and artful detail with advanced data and communications technologies. The company's culture of openness, innovation and excellence thrives today in its new headquarters. Open for innovation continued from pg. 22

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