Fostering Creativity in the Workplace Through Design

MKDA New York’s Creative Director Edin Rudic attended Interior Design’s first annual Innovation Conference, where 11 program speakers gave inspiring lessons on future trends and groundbreaking ideas that can help shape the way we innovate our companies. One specific program led by Michael O. Cooper – founder of Innovators + Influencers – spoke to the need for leaders in the office to promote creativity in the workplace, and the type of environment needed for employees to accurately express their creativity.

We often hear how important it is for businesses to think outside the box in order to stand out from their competition. By fostering creativity in your workplace, you create an environment where employees are passionate and excited about their work, which can lead to big ideas that may potentially attract new clients and talent. In his presentation, Michael discussed that there are parts of your brain that are activated when you’re rewarded and able to express your creativity, and there are parts of your brain that can actually shut down from overwork and fear of failure, leading to lower engagement from your employees. He explained in detail the countless ways in which you can promote creativity at your company like rewarding employees for outstanding work and considering experimentation, where rather than dismissing ideas that seem novel or original, you build upon them to create an even bigger idea.

From the Innovation Conference

As an interior design firm, this specific program really resonated with us. We know that a great way to foster creativity in the workplace is through design. We’ve seen this in action at numerous NYC tech spaces we’ve designed – like Taboola and Schierson – where the offices are fitted with open workspaces that promote teamwork, barista bars, colorful conference rooms and lounge areas, open pantries and rec rooms with games for employees to take a break from the workday. Our Stamford office created a co-working space for Workpoint with colorful open lounge rooms and meeting spaces to help focus on creative collaboration.

Workpoint design by MKDA Stamford

“Innovation does not come out of a vacuum, but from real life experiences” Edin explained, and Cambridge University Press is an example of a company that wanted to break the mold from the corporate world and use their strong real-life history to create an inspiring new space. Being the oldest book publisher and a very well-known brand, it was important to them to create a space that would extract their tradition into the digital age, and have an all-inclusive campus placed within a vibrant new ecosystem. With open, collaborative, colorful and accommodating designs, the new office creates an employee experience that meets the needs of all individuals and generations to facilitate well-being, teamwork and inter-generational knowledge sharing, which ultimately fosters creativity throughout its employees. We understand that rewarding your employees with an inviting office space allows them the opportunity to express their creativity. But tech companies, co-working spaces and publishers aren’t the only sectors that use their workplaces to foster creativity in their employees.

Haber Law design by MKDA Miami

We created a space for Site Centers, a real estate investment firm in NYC that focuses specifically on retail, that would be expected to have a more corporate feel but was designed with calming light whites and grays, a large pantry with seating, and even an in-office gym and locker room for employees to de-stress from their day. Our Miami office designed a space for Haber Law that differs drastically from your average law firm, reflecting the color of the area it’s located in with art pieces throughout and a private gym with graffiti walls. We learned from Michael O. Cooper that creativity thrives under external stressors such as moderate resource constraints, and we know that innovation comes from being away from the desk, so providing your employees with the proper resources like an amenity space will aid further in setting all employees up for success.

Cambridge University Press design by MKDA New York

We’re not saying that all offices have to be colorful or have a start-up feel. Some businesses call for a more corporate environment. But there are simple ways to break away from the mundane in any office environment that can ultimately lead to your employees feeling supported enough to express their full creative potential. Each of the speakers throughout the day shared their expert insight on how we can improve our ecological footprint through smart design, incorporating eco-friendly products and materials into our designs, while modernizing the way we think about our company culture and work day. We hope to implement some of the takeaways Edin gathered from his experience at the Innovation Conference into MKDA as we celebrate our 60th year!