Spaces are important…

But why? Before addressing the question, let it be said that we are on the verge of a global revolution in space design. The beginnings are already happening, starting to filter through the visionary manufacturers, design bureaus and not least corporate identity building of the likes of Steelcase, IBM, Lego, Virgin and Google – not that these are the leaders in any field, just examples.

The simple fact is, we need to take a stance as individuals that using spaces that fail to perform is a 20th century problem that should not exist in the 21st century. Any employer who fails to provide engaging is not taking the responsibilities and standards of the 21st. century into consideration.

So why are spaces important?

FOR OUR WELL BEING – they provide meaning, it’s as simple as that. So we need to create spaces that just feel right. So like food, we need some simple recipes we can follow that allow us to make it our own. There  is no single recipe, just a lot of ingredients that ned to be understood.

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Why?

Our reaction to a space determined our engagement – our engagement determines our experience. Whether it is positive or negative, that affects in turn our engagement. Bad spaces beings negative reaction, limiting engagement – limiting in turn learning and on it goes. In unsuccessful spaces, our environment and our learning are essentially kept apart – they fail to create any change in us.

SO MANY SPACES TODAY SIMPLY FAIL…

MOST, IN FACT, when look at from a learning-centric perspective. So we need to do something about all that. We need to break NORMS We need to open our minds up to what it really means to be PEOPLE. And we can do this, making our OWN RECIPE – USING A USER-CENTERED APPROACH.

We have to look at engagement, motivation, how learning can be supported. We can only do this by first understand the nature of people behaviour – what we do when the brain processes information. Instead of being told what to do. 

Today, we have to take charge of our own learning and think for ourselves. Whoever we are, whatever age we are, whatever we do. Learning is people performance when its best. Its not how many tables per square meter, its about integrating people, space, technology, whatever it is we can conceptualise that provides the value we seek.

TO TRANSFORM IDEAS INTO REALITIES > We need INSIGHTS

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The best insights come from observation.

SO WHAT ARE THE INGREDIENTS?

Let’s start with OBSERVATION. People immerse pretty much anywhere where they feel comfortable. So if we say, what do people do something in a preferred space, then you have to ask yourself: What is it people do when they are in spaces TO LEARN? We can answer this by answering the question:

What is it that creates successful interaction?

To get a handle on this, we can start by looking at people and how they behave, their behaviours and interactions. We do this in DESIGN THINKING – or user-centered design.

Here we can start to define some kind of value base – some kind of yardstick for measuring performance, instead of areas and numbers like space planning: Define zones of meaning – why not look at creating privacy in semi-public environments?

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There is no magic ingredient common to all projects – they have to be DISCOVERED. Lego add experience design into the equation, defining the three elements of WILL, SKILL and THRILL.

Designing and developing spaces can be as as simple – or complex and sophisticated as you want it to be. Any process, any approach is only as good as it is useful, and really, the rule has already been thrown out of the window and good riddance!

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The way to tackle learning space projects can be learned by anyone, learning to invent and re-invent learning spaces by DESIGN THINKING starting by developing some simple values:

  • EXPERIENCE
  • OF WANTING TO LEARN BY FEELING PRIVATE
  • DRIVING A WILL TO ACT
  • FEEDING A CYCLE OF ACTIVE ENGAGEMENT