Spaces for Innovation: the design and science of inspiring environments

Until recently, research investigating creativity within organisations has centred around the psychological and social aspects of motivation and management; there has been little comprehensive thinking around building environments for creativity, and the complex relationship between space, creative behaviour and innovation.

Spaces for Innovation, our new book commissioned by Nesta, explores the link between physical space and creativity in workplaces.

While not intended to be a definitive 'how-to' guide of formulating a creative office, the book offers up much workspace food-for-thought, encouraging readers to systematically work through ten core themes, in order to become better prepared to make appropriate workplace changes to support their workforces and organisations. 

We’ve also tried to bring the content to life with interviews and case studies from around the globe that cover various perspectives – from coworking networks and educational establishments to large corporations.

Through the range of case studies, from Airbnb’s Portland office in the United States to Medibank’s in Melbourne, Australia, we show how successful firms design spaces to foster creativity.

While conducting our research we visited over fifty organisations globally across sector, industry, life stage and size; interviewed over one hundred academics, practitioners, experts and thought leaders; analysed hundreds of sources of literature from scientific journals and PhD theses through to government white papers and surveys to books and articles.

Summary of Themes

  1. The Spark, the external driving forces that are shaping the way we live and work.
  2. The Purpose, the need to articulate goals, defining the parameters and constraints of ambition and clarity of progress.
  3. The Leadership, the importance of ensuring that there’s leadership that understands and can support an empowered and inspired team to
  4. The Invitation, the engagement of teams, stakeholders and the wider community: before, during and after a space transformation.
  5. The Experience, the elements that provide the right conditions for creative thinking and behaviour as well as the expression of organisational culture.
  6. The Spatial Context, what can and can’t be influenced regarding the location and spatial parameters, and how they impact interaction and behaviour.
  7. The Processes, how the new space supports a spectrum of individual, teams and organisational activities.
  8. The Resources, parameters that might constrain – or inspire – the creation of space for innovation.
  9. The Outcomes, how to assess and communicate progress against the initial goal.
  10. The Legacy, the lasting impression of the place; the stories people will tell.

Spaces for Innovation is research-based book, commissioned by Nesta, published by Frame and written by Kursty Groves and Oliver Marlow


Kursty Groves

An award winning designer, innovation consultant, TV presenter, speaker, professor and workplace strategy advisor.

Oliver Marlow

Oliver is a multi-platform designer and the co-founder of Studio TILIT.