The Leader Magazine

MAR 2019

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the leader March 2019 25 1. Heather Stockton, Mariya Filipova, Kelly Monahan, The Evolution of Work: New Realities Facing Today's Leaders, Deloitte, January 30, 2018 Co-creation in practice Co-creation begins like most design projects, with high- level requirement meetings among designers, developers, CRE executives, management and other stakeholders to set requirements, high-level budgets and a broad vision for the project. Then the process opens to a larger circle, including current or potential occupants (for example, employees of a company for corporate headquarters, or tenants and customers for a retail project). The leadership team might choose to involve its larger community of clients, customers and business partners in a spirit of open innovation. We train project staff to ask open-ended questions and listen carefully to users' stories. For example, we ask employees, "Take me through a typical work day." The answers reveal insights about how work is accomplished – sometimes through silo-crossing relationships and informal networks of peers. Follow-up questions spark design solutions that make the workplace more comfortable and welcoming. Sometimes the process is formalized but still allows a vast range of inputs. Working with the global marketing firm Publicis Groupe, we created ten task forces, including employees, management, designers and technical consultants, in a series of meetings combining data analysis and creative brainstorming. The process unleashed a flood of ideas capturing the authentic experience and creative inspirations of the Publicis Groupe workforce. Our designers and each task force brought those ideas to a high-level steering committee and transformed that narrative into design solutions unique to this client's project. We stay alert for ways to design "creative collisions," which is our term for chance encounters among employees and others that result in new ideas. The Innovation and Design Building in Boston, for example, is fronted by a sheltered pop-up market of food and service kiosks where people from many companies, including ours, meet and chat about their work. Over fusion lunch bowls, they share ideas about everything from web start-up ideas to workstation design. In re-imagining workplaces for such leading-edge companies as Citizens Bank, Elkus Manfredi has found that co-creation results in design solutions that align well to the new patterns of workplace activity. Like today's agile management practices, co-creation is ongoing throughout the design process and responsive to change. Employees who participate in the design of their own workspaces show greater engagement and satisfaction with their surroundings, as well as appreciation for the employer who trusts their judgment. This is the right time for co-creation – a time when we as designers release the untapped creativity of our clients, merge that with our expertise in data and design, and create uniquely useful, timeless and beautiful work. Employers and developers who use the co-creation process make the most of their real estate investment. Elizabeth Lowrey is a principal at Elkus Manfredi Architects, a multi- disciplinary design firm providing interior architecture, architecture and master planning.

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