HBI Inc. :: Blog http://blog.hbi-inc.com Mon, 14 Aug 2017 21:52:00 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.1.9 The New Office — Ideas to Fuse Inspiration and Performance http://blog.hbi-inc.com/the-new-office-ideas-to-fuse-inspiration-and-performance/ http://blog.hbi-inc.com/the-new-office-ideas-to-fuse-inspiration-and-performance/#comments Mon, 14 Aug 2017 21:52:00 +0000 http://blog.hbi-inc.com/?p=17442 Continue reading ]]>

The New Office

There’s no question about it. Employees around the world are rejecting standard, bland offices and demanding something fundamentally different. This anti-corporate backlash is loud and clear. But the solution isn’t as clear.

Organizations have added spaces that feel more like home, which are emotionally comfortable, but can become physically uncomfortable and often lack the tools required to get work done. So, what’s the “recipe” for a high-performance space that is informal and inspiring? Why are some spaces always busy, while others remain empty?

Here’s what we’re learning:

1. Healthy Postures

You don’t have to sit up straight all day, regardless of what your mom told you. People need to be encouraged to shift postures throughout the day, move around and sometimes even given permission to put their feet up—research shows a more relaxed lounge posture promotes creative thinking. Make sure to provide a broad range of options so people can sit, stand, perch, lounge and move.

Healthy Postures

2. Bring the Outside In

People thrive in environments that incorporate natural sunlight or provide accessibility to the outdoors.

3. Materials Matter

Activate people’s senses with a wide range of textures, patterns and colors that can be soothing and relaxing, or energizing and stimulating and choose a variety of products and materials that display a level of craftsmanship.

Material's Matter

4. Make it Real

Place meaningful artifacts and accessories to encourage innovation and playful thinking.

5. Consider Proxemics

When people need to collaborate, provide enough space between them so they spaces feels comfortable.

Consider Proxemics

6. Create Boundaries

Use screens, walls, other furniture or even plants to define spaces. This will create spaces that feel more permanent, and provide a place for focus when needed.

Create Boundaries

7. Location, Location, Location

Be intentional about where to locate a space based on what type of work will happen there and what behaviors you want to encourage. Areas for socialization and informal collaboration should invite people to interact.

8. Power Play

Beautiful spaces get even better when they provide access to power that’s within easy reach.

Power Play

9. Make it Personal

Allow people to personalize the space and make it feel their own.

Make it Personal

10. Nourishment

A well-designed café can invite spontaneous collaboration or offer an energized place for individual work.


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How the Verb Active Media Table is Driving Student Engagement http://blog.hbi-inc.com/how-the-verb-active-media-table-is-driving-student-engagement/ http://blog.hbi-inc.com/how-the-verb-active-media-table-is-driving-student-engagement/#comments Tue, 08 Aug 2017 12:36:54 +0000 http://blog.hbi-inc.com/?p=17484 Continue reading ]]>

Verb Active Media Table Activates Large Classrooms

A new generation of tech-savvy and connected students arrives with radically different experiences and expectations. Aware of the global economy and the competition it represents, students and their families are placing increasingly higher demands on education at all levels. Educators are responding with a refreshing openness, evolving teaching methods, incorporating technologies and looking for ways to promote active learning in more places.

Active learning is fluid and dynamic. The space in which it takes place should be flexible as well. Yet, the majority of classrooms and lecture halls were built as traditional passive-learning settings with inflexible and immobile furniture that can inhibit interactions between students, instructors and content. Many of these outdated classrooms aren’t capable of supporting the varied technologies, activities, and mode-to-mode transitions necessary for today’s active learning environments.

The Verb Active Media Table will be available late 2017. Register to be notified as soon as it is available.


Texas A&M University

One university that has recognized the need for active learning to achieve student success is Texas A&M University. With one of the top-rated engineering programs in the U.S., Texas A&M plans to increase its engineering student enrollment by more than a third, in large part through student retention and the college’s strategy to “transform engineering education.”

To reach this goal, educators realized they needed to transition from traditional classroom and lecture hall approaches. The central question was: How can a large classroom support both active learning and lecture-driven instruction while effectively integrating technology?

Together, the university and Steelcase Education worked to create a classroom solution that will amplify collaboration, engage students and simultaneously resolve technological obstructions. The table created for the university is mobile for flexibility classroom setup, offers access to power for a variety of devices and hosts a 32-inch monitor with an automatic monitor lift. The table facilitates technological needs, improved sightlines, and increased student engagement with professors, peers and content.

Texas A&M1 Texas A&M2

Verb Active Media Table

Inspired by the needs of many other schools to implement active learning at a larger scale, Steelcase Education has since taken the insights from the Texas A&M collaboration and applied them to develop new components to the Verb collection of classroom furniture including the Verb Active Media Table.

The new Verb Active Media Table builds on the Texas A&M requirements to offer additional benefits to education spaces of any size. It includes a pendant to raise and lower the monitor, an integrated wire manager and analog whiteboard storage. It maintains the ability to host a 32-inch monitor, but also offers the capacity to host a 42-inch monitor. This table implements the same versatile technology support for idea-sharing, allowing for mobility and durability to withstand a variety of education environments.

Verb Active Media Table

The automatic monitor lift eliminates the need to mount technology to a wall or column, offering clear sightlines and providing quick transitions between learning modes. Housing built-in, retractable media within this table bridges the gap between students and content, and optimizes student engagement.

Learn more about the Texas A&M Case Study.


Written By:

Tylee Bush

For Steelcase


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The Creative Shift – How Place + Technology + People Can Help Solve 21st Century Problems http://blog.hbi-inc.com/the-creative-shift-how-place-technology-people-can-help-solve-21st-century-problems/ http://blog.hbi-inc.com/the-creative-shift-how-place-technology-people-can-help-solve-21st-century-problems/#comments Mon, 24 Jul 2017 11:30:50 +0000 http://blog.hbi-inc.com/?p=17349 Continue reading ]]>

The Creative Shift

“Ideas are the currency of the new economy.”

That quote came from Richard Florida, an economist and social scientist who authored The Rise of the Creative Class… over fifteen years ago in 2002.

Florida argued that creative work is not exclusively about artistic pursuits but rather a focus on generating new ideas and solving complex problems. He maintained that creativity was a critical skill for people to develop and for cities and businesses to foster if they wanted to thrive in the coming century. It was an idea that took time to build momentum.

Design thinking, the notion of using the same creative strategies designers employ to solve problems, was gaining traction around the same time. Ideas about creative work generated plenty of conversation — and Florida’s work spawned its share of debate — business leaders weren’t losing a lot of sleep over the creative output of their organization. They were far more focused on efficiency, getting lean and going global.

CreativityFast forward to today and creativity is an idea whose time has come, on multiple fronts. Cities around the world that fostered great environments for creative work have thrived, as Florida suggested. People who lived through the cost squeeze of multiple recessions are looking for a deeper sense of meaning and purpose from their work, and stretching their creative muscles helps scratch that itch. Meanwhile, recent college graduates aren’t content to sit in a beige cubicle and do routine work just to make a paycheck, causing employers to rethink their strategies for attracting new talent.

Emerging TechnologiesAt the same time, emerging technologies have grown so exponentially that they’ve ushered in “The Fourth Industrial Revolution,” according to Klaus Schwab, founder of World Economic Forum. “We stand on the brink of a technological revolution that will fundamentally alter the way we live, work and relate to one another,” he states. “In its scale, scope, and complexity, the transformation will be unlike anything humankind has experienced before.” Faced with these kinds of advances — which offer opportunities as well as stiff competition and disrupted markets — businesses realize that they can’t cost cut their way to growth. They need to refocus innovation. And it’s this drive for innovation, in increasingly complex conditions, that is causing a macro shift toward more creative work.

“Creativity isn’t a linear process. It’s not even a predictable process. It has a rhythm of different activities and requires both convergent and divergent thinking.”

James Ludwig | Vice President, Global Design, Steelcase

Understanding Creativity

In many organizations, however, creativity isn’t bubbling up spontaneously. Most employers say their organizations aren’t creative enough and most employees say they’re not living up to their creative potential on the job, according to Adobe’s State of Create 2016 study. Contrary to popular myth, creativity isn’t about a “Eureka!” moment that happens among truly brilliant people. Creative work is a process in which everyone can engage, if the conditions are right.

Steelcase and Microsoft joined forces to begin thinking about the challenges organizations and people face as they try to engage in more creative work. Understanding that both space and technology have a role to play in supporting this work, it was critical to begin with insights on how creativity happens.

“Creativity isn’t a linear process. It’s not even a predictable process,” according to James Ludwig, head of global design and product engineering at Steelcase. “It has a rhythm of different activities and requires both convergent and divergent thinking, with people coming together in small or large groups, and moving apart to do work alone.”

Linear WorkLinear Work: Segmented tasks completed in a progression

Creative WorkCreative Work: People and ideas diverge, converge and iterate

“Creativity is an inclusive process in which something new emerges,” says Ralf Groene, general manager of Microsoft Devices. “As creativity becomes central to our work, the importance of where we do it is being reaffirmed. The cloud and mobile technologies may be untethering us from the office, but our need and desire to do creative work is luring us back in.”

Yet, despite the desire to be more creative at work, the majority of people don’t believe they’re living up to their creative potential. The solution is finding the right balance between convergent and divergent thinking, and having the right range of spaces and technology to support all the diverse stages of creative work. In a recent Steelcase and Microsoft study, people reported the things that would help them be more creative are to have more time to think and time to be alone without disruptions.

“The way to support people is to provide the ability to move between individual time and collaborative time, having that rhythm between coming together to think about a problem and then going away to let those ideas gestate,” says Donna Flynn, vice president of WorkSpace Futures at Steelcase.

Dive deeper into our creativity research. Register to download 360 Focus immediately or have it mailed directly to you. Find out more.

Maker CommonsMaker Commons: Socializing ideas and rapid prototyping are essential parts of creativity. This space is designed to encourage quick switching between conversation, experimentation and concentration.

The collaborative side of creative work is not without its challenges either, despite the investments organizations are making in group work spaces. The vast majority of leaders feel they’re providing the right kinds of spaces for group collaboration, but only 25 percent of respondents in the Steelcase/Microsoft study said their spaces for groups and teams are good places for creative work.

“We’ve come to realize there’s so much value in people coming together,” notes Groene. “We’re no longer coming to work because that’s where your files and phone and computer are, or because it’s the only place where your laptop connects to the corporate network. Now we’re coming to work because it’s where we share, collaborate and build on each other’s ideas.” That makes supporting the modes of thinking, communicating and creating a super relevant task.”

Creativity is fundamentally about problem solving. This means it’s difficult, iterative and messy — an often nebulous exploration of unknowns. It also means creative work is intensely demanding — physically, cognitively and emotionally. Just one type of solution can’t support the range of people’s needs.

Focus StudioFocus Studio: Individual creative work requires alone time to focus and get into flow while also allowing quick shifts to two-person collaboration. It’s a place to let ideas incubate before sharing them with the group.

“We’re starting to see movement away from the traditional corporate office toward workplaces that are more like creative studios—a plurality of spaces, each designed to support people and the technologies that can make their work easier.”

James Ludwig | Vice President, Global Design, Steelcase

Creating the Conditions for Creativity at Work

Steelcase and Microsoft are collaborating to explore how the workplace can more successfully drive creative performance. Accelerating creativity, they say, starts with understanding the behaviors and modes of creative work, and then envisioning how place and technology can help.

Ideation HubIdeation Hub: A high-tech destination that encourages active participation and equal opportunity to contribute as people co-create, refine and share ideas with co-located or distributed teammates.

“It’s really all about the intersection of the digital and the physical — having the right place and the right technology at the right time,” says Ludwig. “That’s why we’re starting to see movement away from the traditional corporate office toward workplaces that are more like creative studios—a plurality of spaces, each designed to support people and the technologies that can make their work easier.”

Duo StudioDuo Studio: Working in pairs is an essential behavior of creativity. This space supports a trust relationship in which two people can co-create shoulder-to-shoulder, while also supporting individuals work. It includes a lounge area to invite others in for a quick creative review or to put your feet up and get away without getting away.

“Traditionally, technology has not always been leveraged during the early stages of the creative process,” says Groene. This can put people and teams at a disadvantage. Something arises in our heads. It’s usually incomplete and we jot it down, find a whiteboard and pull in colleagues. Computers usually came in at later stages. But now technology can be a tool to amplify our thinking throughout the entire process. We can take our content with us wherever we want to work. It will always be there, with the right security and the speed of light,” he explains.

The Creative Spaces Ecosystem

To help organizations accelerate the shift toward more creative work, Steelcase and Microsoft co-developed Creative Spaces, an interdependent ecosystem of spaces and technologies designed for the diverse modes of creative work, such as uninterrupted focus, developing ideas in a pair, generating solutions as a group, converging around ideas and allowing time for diffused thinking — allowing the mind to wander. They are places that build trust, inspire new ways of thinking and fuel experimentation. This initial collection of thoughtfully curated destinations bring together design and materiality without compromising performance to enable creative work.

“The future will be powered by ideas,” says Ludwig. “How we create, identify, foster and makes ideas tangible — that’s how value is created. Our spaces and technologies need to help ups solve problems, not cause friction or get in the way. When space and technologies come together to really support people’s work and really support their wellbeing — then we’re removing the drag on their experiences. They can naturally be centered on ideas instead of what’s not working for them. And, as a result, ideas will flow through the organization faster.”

Respite RoomRespite Room: Creative work requires many brain states, including the need to balance active group work with solitude and individual think time.

The Creative Spaces Ecosystem People + Place + Technology

To help organizations accelerate the shift toward more creative work, Steelcase and Microsoft co-developed Creative Spaces, an interdependent ecosystem of spaces and technologies designed for the diverse modes of creative work.

These spaces deliver key spatial attributes that address:

Privacy: acoustic, visual, territorial and psychological
Posture: seated, standing, lounging and perching
Proximity: people-to-people, people-to-tools + technology

Maker Commons

Maker Commons_2Posture:
This space supports a full range of posture—seated, standing, lounging, perching—encouraging movement without breaking flow.

Brody® Workounge is a micro-environment for privacy and focus in open areas with included amenities, like integrated lighting, power and bag storage. The Brody screens create a cocoon within the open plan to sketch or take notes on your Surface Pro4 between brainstorms.

Centrally located in the ecosystem, this space is a communal atmosphere to gather and play with new ideas. It allows people to shift easily from “me” to “we” activities and different stages of the creative process.

Focus Studio

Focus Studio_2Posture:
The Gesture™ chair supports the wide range of postures people take when using the Surface Studio with Surface Dial and Surface Pen to create; The AirTouch™ table lifts with just a touch to switch quickly and effortlessly from sitting to standing to encourage movement and boost energy.

The space is configured to keep information private and reduce visual distraction. V.I.A.® walls keep ambient noise out so you can stay in flow.

The AirTouch™ table facilitates brief, shoulder-to-shoulder collaboration. Storage with integrated lighting slides open to secure your bag and become an extension of the work area.

Ideation Hub

Ideation Hub_2Posture:
Stool height seating encourages movement and quick shifts from interaction with personal devices to group collaboration at the Surface Hub™.

V.I.A.® walls integrate the Surface Hub and provide unparalleled acoustic privacy to prevent disruptions and enhance remote user participation via Skype for Business.

The furniture elements are scaled to allow ample circulation and the ability to engage or step back from the action and reflect or gain a different perspective.

Duo Studio

Duo Studio_2Posture:
Ology™ height adjustable tables are side-by-side, making it easy to sit or stand, work individually in parallel or lean over to collaborate, maintaining flow and consistency using Surface Dial and Surface Pen. Umani™ lounge creates a place to relax and reenergize during intense work sessions.

V.I.A.® walls help mitigate distractions from ambient noise and allow private conversations — in the room or with remote participants on Skype for Business — to stay that way. The “I’m Done” security feature on Surface Hub safely removes all content from the previous session to encourage rapid starts for new collaboration.

The configuration is an intimate environment that supports easy access to technology, storage analog content and your teammates. It offers an informal, theater-like setting for reviewing work at the integrated Surface Hub™.

Respite Room

Respite Room_2Posture:
Relaxed postures can help support diffused attention and allow the brain to wander which can lead to ‘Eureka!’ insights. It also supports active brainstorming while away from your personal workstation.

Boundaries create visual relief reducing external stimuli, and allow the brain to rest, form new connections and access spontaneous ideas.

Thread™ Modular Power makes it easy to charge devices.


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Restoration Office – How Biophilia Reduces Stress and Promotes Renewal at Work http://blog.hbi-inc.com/restoration-office-how-biophilia-reduces-stress-and-promotes-renewal-at-work/ http://blog.hbi-inc.com/restoration-office-how-biophilia-reduces-stress-and-promotes-renewal-at-work/#comments Mon, 10 Jul 2017 11:30:59 +0000 http://blog.hbi-inc.com/?p=17313 Continue reading ]]>

Restoration Office

Today, more than half of the world’s population lives in urban areas, and according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the average American spends nearly 90 percent of their time inside. Yet nature and the outdoors have a powerful hold on our wellbeing.

These are the places we’re drawn toward, the elements that we recharge in and that bring us respite. Humans evolved in nature’s rich, varied environments. So how do we learn from nature and create equally varied environments inside? As modern work is evolving to require more creativity and connection, designers are turning to biophilia, the principle that human beings have an innate desire to connect and bond with nature, to help workers thrive. The elements of biophillic design have been found to be building blocks of emotional, cognitive and physical wellbeing, including productivity, happiness, stress reduction, learning and healing. One study of workers in Europe (Human Spaces Global Report by Interface) reports levels of wellbeing and productivity increase by 13 percent in environments containing natural elements. Far from being superficial or ornamental, nature is an integral factor in the creation of vital workplaces.

Researchers at Steelcase studying wellbeing discovered that the presence of nature was a predominant advantage that could be explored for healthier outcomes in the workplace. Based on the work of pioneers E.O. Wilson and Stephen Kellert and culled from other wide-ranging sources, Steelcase researchers and industrial designers developed a framework for the range of ways humans interact with nature. This led to recommendations about design inspirations and applications specifically for the work environment.

It’s about tricking our brains to feel like we’re in a natural environment by triggering underlying patterns that we’re programmed to recognize and feel good in.”

John Hamilton | Design Director, Coalesse

The problem is that workplaces have become draining, dull and disconnected over time as they’re optimized for efficiency and scale. The average antiseptic, gray office can literally signal to the deepest part of the brain that it’s a barren place that won’t sustain life, which is why people generally can’t wait to get away from them. A surprising number of workers are still deprived of simple access to nature: According to the Human Spaces Global Report, 42 percent of office workers have no access to natural light, 55 percent have no greenery and seven percent lack of window within their environment. “We wanted to see how the restorative effects of nature could reverse that deprivation and inform our approach for designing healthy work experiences that are both creative and productive,” explains Beatriz Arantes, senior researcher at Steelcase.

Dotted PatternThis dotted pattern reflects things we surround ourselves with in the workplace, such as pin boards, while also referencing the irregularity of nature: how nothing in nature is perfect or too orderly.

According to environmental psychologist Stephen Kaplan, nature powerfully engages the mind with “involuntary fascination,” which actually helps to restore directed attention and focus. The result is an effortless mindfulness that promotes stress reduction and renewal while stimulating curiosity and imagination. Kaplan further holds that people can concentrate better after spending time in nature. The Human Spaces Report confirms that people with a view of natural elements, such as trees, water of countryside, report greater levels of wellbeing than those looking over more urban settings of buildings, roads or construction sites.

Geometric FiguresFractals are the curving or geometric figures which exhibit a repeated pattern at every scale. When they occur in nature these shapes create visual complexity, which is automatically accepted as order and form by the eye. A fabric from the Coalesse-Designtex collaboration, whose pattern abstractly evokes the irregular rippling of water, sand or wood grain, engages and calms the senses without being consciously recognizable as natural.

Design is the tool that can interpret nature in many accessible ways, to activate our innate sense of places that are calming, pleasurable and secure. Arantes adds that these expressions of nature aren’t limited to an explicit or literal translation. “It’s about tricking our brains to feel like we’re in a natural environment, by triggering underlying patterns that we’re programmed to recognize and feel good in.”

It is striking to consider that sizable worker absences can be attributed to office design that provides no contact with nature. Spaces developed with properties of biophilic design consequently make a compelling business case. By reincorporating the pull of nature into multi-sensory experiences, businesses can attract and retain talent in evocative environments that alleviate many modern stressors and improve employee perceptions. Biophilic design will help people gain the feeling that they have the places to settle, explore, adapt and be creative. Those benefits lead to stronger connection and collaboration as well as trust in the ability to rejuvenate at work.

Four Facets

The Four Facets of the Human Experience with Nature

Many attempts to integrate nature into the workplace design remain shallow or literal: a screened print of a field of grass; leaves etched onto a glass tabletop. The following facets offer a more nuanced perspective:

Sensory Richness

Sensory-rich environments include layers of color, pattern, texture and other elements that surround the senses. Engaging multiple senses creates experiences of renewal and inspiration and many design sources of sensory richness will boost attention and reduce stress. For example, the severe right angles and flat colors often used in office spaces don’t appear in nature. Instead, nature provides a vocabulary of beautiful organic shapes, such as hexagons, spirals, spikes and spheres. Rounded forms like domes, arches and vaults provide psychological comfort. Natural colors and materials drawn from the landscape and the elements add depth and feel refreshing and grounding. Live elements within an office space, such as plants, have been shown to help prevent fatigue around tasks that demand high concentration.

Natural Rhythms and Signals

People will acclimate to the indoor environment better and experience improvements in mood and sleep when factors such as views, or fluctuations in light, length of day and temperature are more attuned to what’s happening outside. Natural light and color of light can support these rhythms by counteracting the flatness of artificial lighting and the over-stimulation of bright screens. Where windows are not available as a primary light source or view, new technologies can help provide the spectrum of light we need to feel alert, optimistic and well. Air flow is a dynamic natural element that connects us to a sense of climate, freshness and seasons.

Biophilic Design Will Help People Gain the Feeling that They Have the Places to Settle Explore, Adapt and Be Creative

Challenges in Nature

Encountering challenges in natural settings, from navigating a landscape to creating shelter, is part of how humans learned to overcome adversity and build resilience, according to social ecologist Stephen Kellert. Facing challenges inspires us to creatively solve problems with resourcefulness, empathy, teamwork and awareness. In the physical workplace, wayfinding through environments helps people to build cognitive as well as perceptive skills. Encouraging movement with an element such as an “irresistible staircase” rewards those who forgo an elevator with a spatial experience and active design–exercise.

Local Distinctiveness

Celebrating locally distinctive features, people and events help to create grounding in place and community. In this way, local natural colors and materials have long been part of the architectural and design character of most places. From wood to stone and clay, people instinctively prefer natural to artificial or foreign materials. These elements can provide a positive associations and an antidote to the antiseptic, anonymous look of standard offices and office furniture. Showing past presence and preserving local symbols adds more attachments to community, especially in spaces such as renovated and repurposed buildings.

Through these applications, biophilia is on its way to defining fuller possibilities and priorities for a new wave of workplace design. Ultimately, more creative potential will be unlocked in a replenishing work environment—where nature fosters mindfulness and vitality, and people can find a sense of meaning, belonging and wellbeing.

Colors and DesignsColors and designs that resemble grass may be one approach to biophilic design, but even more subtle cues that trigger our brains to perceive a sense of nature can help create a more peaceful and calming atmosphere.

A Biophilic Design Partnership

Biophilic design is increasingly being integrated into furnishings as well as architecture. Steelcase brands Coalesse and Designtex have co-created a series of patterns, color palettes, textiles and print capabilities in North America that bring the principles of biophilia to core product applications for the design community.

“This process isn’t just about a fabric or an isolated thought about biophilia,” says John Hamilton, director of global design at Coalesse. “We’re interested in subtle cues we can design into products, because the brain is wired to see abstract representations and fill them in. What are the key triggers that we can introduce that will create a deeper emotional experience? With Designtex we’re developing solutions that will suggest nature across a variety of surfaces. We want our fabrics and furniture to make a space feel more connected and emotionally satisfying to the user.”

The collaboration was symbiotic. Designtex had a variety of technical applications that it wanted to implement, such as quilting, embroidery, woven pattern, print methods on a variety of films and material surfaces and leveraging new techniques with non-natural fibers. Coalesse had been developing and employing printed pattern in more colors in its product line, leading to a deeper exploration of natural inspirations and palettes.

To create a biophilic pattern, the process has been one of progression, from direct natural sources through many steps of manipulation and reduction. Ultimately, the motifs have the resonance of a natural form of rhythm, but are experienced as a simple geometric of dimensional texture.

Dimensional Texture

“Solid wood planks or veneer will be less dissonant for the brain than a simulated wood grain printed on tile.”

John Hamilton | Director of Design, Coalesse

In designing fabrics for upholstery, the partnership has also uncovered practical information about the preference for small- and large-scale patterns that can meet irregularly at seams. These scales avoid visual disturbance, echoing the uneven repetition of visual signals in nature.

“We can now weave or embroider or quilt those patterns in right sizes, for example into Designtex’s fabric,” adds Hamilton. “There’s a whole series of fabrics that are coming out in new more natural colors, and other ground cloths with a variety of patterns woven into them.”

For prints and printed surfaces such as film on grass, patterns can be further manipulated digitally or designers can provide their own pattern work for production. Responding to the growing trend for more customization as well as the need to make choices simpler, the Coalesse-Designtex collection is offered as a set of standards to work from. “For a designer, the blank slate can be its own challenge. So, we’ve done the research for our clients around these colors and patterns. They can be used as starting points for further customizing,” notes David Siegel, director of Surface Imaging Designtex. “That process of theme and variation happens to echo exactly how pattern exists in nature.”


Written By: Steelcase


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Healthcare Students Engage in New Classrooms http://blog.hbi-inc.com/healthcare-students-engage-in-new-classrooms/ http://blog.hbi-inc.com/healthcare-students-engage-in-new-classrooms/#comments Mon, 03 Jul 2017 11:30:24 +0000 http://blog.hbi-inc.com/?p=17265 Continue reading ]]>

Healthcare Students Engage in New Classrooms

Learning happens everywhere. For Pennsylvania College of Health Sciences students, this is especially true. The school is designed exclusively for the healthcare field blending classroom and experiential learning. In the fall of 2016, PCHS opened its doors to the Center for Excellence in Practice. Research, case studies, and student surveys led to a partnership with Steelcase Education and the renovation of two campus buildings. Designers created areas to meet everyone’s needs including; 26 classrooms, 18 collaboration areas or study pods, and simulation and learning labs.

Evelyn Potoka, Nursing Course Coordinator and Faculty member, and Joseph Corvino, Director of Simulation Learning and the Center for Excellence in Practice, spoke with 360 about the lasting impact these new learning environments have had on their program, their students and their college.

360: One of the goals of your new facility is to create a flexible, active learning environment. Have you changed your approach to teaching since the renovation?

Evelyn: It’s been a night and day difference from the past several years! It’s just so nice to be able to quickly maneuver all of our equipment to suit whatever it is we’re doing at the time. We have a four-hour lecture twice a week, and we now have the opportunity to very quickly change our classroom setup. This has allowed us the chance to do more breakout sessions and more group activities. Sometimes we reconfigure the furniture in the classroom two or three times throughout that four hour session where before the renovation this was such a chore.

New Healthcare Classrooms360: What kinds of changes have you seen in the students since the renovation?

Evelyn: One hf the things that we’ve noticed among our students is that they’re coming to class and they’re staying in class. Like I said, we have a four hour lecture, which is unusual. I know it’s tough to sit for four hours. However, we take attendance each class session and now they’re staying the full four hours, where before class might begin with a total of 55 students present and end only 40 students remaining for the entire class time. We don’t see that anymore.

I think it’s helped that we’re able to get the students up and moving. We’re always doing something different and we’re able to keep the students engaged. They have their content outline, they know what subject matter we’re going over, but they don’t know what activities we have planned for the day. It’s almost as if they’re excited because they never know what’s coming next.

Joseph: We’ve also seen a large increase in the number of learners who are coming to our clinical skills labs. Spring of 2016, we had about 500 students come through that space, this year we’ve had over 1,000. Part of that’s the accessibility, part of it is changes in curriculum, and part of that is the design of the space.

360: Where else do you see learning taking place?

Joseph: We see it in the collaborative spaces. It’s rare that you see less than two students in one of those. They’re writing all over the whiteboard walls, and on the glass which leads me to believe that they’re having conversations, studying together, and talking about what they’re writing. They’re scaffolding their learning by getting it in the classroom then talking about it afterwards, maybe applying it in clinical or in our lab spaces. It’s pretty much essential for learning to happen anywhere.

Collaborative Spaces360: It sounds like your space meets your needs now, but can you see it adapting to future demands?

Joseph: Most, if not all, of the areas were designed to be flexible in a way that things can be changed on a day-to-day basis or a yearly basis. If we have a space designed to have a specific function, it can evolve based on changing needs of the program. One of the ways we did this was working with Steelcase to install module furniture and cabinetry so it can be easily reconfigured.

360: Have you seen any difference in the overall dynamic on campus since the renovation?

Evelyn: The students really enjoy being here on campus, where before that was not the case. We saw the students here when class was in session. Our study pods are always full now. They come. They stay. They linger. Sometimes, we can’t get rid of them. That’s a good problem to have.

This week was finals week, and I had a student come up to me and say, “I can’t find a study room, they’re all full.” I’m thinking, “What a terrible problem to have.” Honestly, they love writing all over the walls in those study rooms. They rooms equipped with technology are used as well. We can see students put things up on the screen and work through different applications we’ve provided them with. There’s so much collaboration and peer learning that you’re seeing among students, where we definitely did not notice that before.

360: Like most new things, day one in your new space was probably pretty exciting. Has that feeling lasted?

Evelyn: Oh my gosh. Every day is an adventure to come to work. It’s just so exciting!

Joseph: It sure is. I’ve been here 11 years and I’ve felt that throughout. Before we had this space I felt we had a great group of colleagues who share a common purpose, a mission, to educate future health care providers. I felt like we did awesome things as an institution in our previous less than inviting environment. We’re now empowered to take calculated risks, to be creative, and to come up with new and different ways to do things. Now, when I come to work here, it is like what Evelyn said. You don’t know what the adventure is that you’re going to get into.


Written By:

Tylee Bush

For Steelcase


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Steelcase Partners with HBO’s Silicon Valley http://blog.hbi-inc.com/steelcase-partners-with-hbos-silicon-valley/ http://blog.hbi-inc.com/steelcase-partners-with-hbos-silicon-valley/#comments Mon, 26 Jun 2017 11:30:31 +0000 http://blog.hbi-inc.com/?p=17244 Continue reading ]]>

Steelcase Partners with HBO's Silicon Valley

As Silicon Valley creators prepared to film the fourth season of the popular HBO comedy, the tech hub’s favorite fictional startup had a new opportunity. Some of the main characters were moving into a venture capitalist’s office. The move had significance to the storyline. Would the rag-tag team of coding geniuses hit it big? Set decorator, David Cook, was tasked with creating the perfect places for this new story play out. He knew the space had to tell a story and communicate a new way of working for the characters. After doing some research, he reach out to Steelcase to help create the ideal work environment. Cook sat down with 360 to discuss the partnership.

360: As a set decorator, tell us about the importance of place to your characters?

David: Setting and place tell everything about the characters. Often those visual references are the audience’s initial introduction to the characters. They help relay everything about them.

Size, space and furniture give you a visual idea of who the characters are. They are a window into their personality. They help viewers understand how they work and how they live their lives.

360: How did you develop the look and feel of the workspace you created in Silicon Valley?

David: When we began working on the Bream Hall office set, we spent a lot of time researching and developing an overall aesthetic that we were aiming to achieve. We scoured everything that was available to us. We did a lot of online research looking at venture capitalist offices and technology company offices. We looked all over the world from Russia, to other countries in Europe, to Silicon Valley itself, of course. In the end, we made selections based on particular characters. We wanted their offices to best represent them and their personal brand.

360: What’s different about decorating a set than designing for home or commercial interiors? What elements need to be considered on set that other design professionals may not need to consider?

David: For one thing, nothing on a set is permanent. That gives us a lot of freedom, but also has its restrictions. It’s always fun to develop a new set and come up with ideas of how you want it to look and feel. Obviously, with a show like Silicone Valley, most of these characters have such strong personalities — it helps form our decisions because we know and love the characters so much.

Our most difficult obstacle is the element of time. Often, we get a new script and have to have it finalized and ready for shooting by the end of the week, sometimes even faster.

Silicon Valley Set360: Your set this season features Steelcase, Coalesse and turnstone furniture. What was the reason behind this partnership?

David: I reached out to Steelcase early on because after just beginning our research I knew these offices would need to look like they were a working, thriving and successful venture capitalist company. I wanted to convey a level of status to the audience as quickly as possible. At the same time, I wanted it to look tasteful and refined. Because of who the characters are, I wanted them to have a level of elegance within the workspace.

Silicon Valley Set360: Tell us about your decision to choose a natural material like wood in many of the settings?

David: We wanted this set to look polished, new and strong. We wanted it to feel approachable, not hard and shiny. Mostly, we wanted something that was strong but also reflect our female venture capitalists’ personalities. We used a graphic walnut finish that was clean and modern. I think it balanced well with the characters.

360: Did any of the choices you ended up making for your set surprise your team?

David: We were very fortunate with the partnership. The entire team — directors, actors, everyone — was blown away at how perfect everything worked on our sets. We would not have been able to achieve the look we were after or had it seem so seamless and appropriate if it weren’t for the furniture provided by Steelcase, Coalesse and turnstone.

Most of the options we are given as set decorators come from prop houses. They’ve been used, and often, aren’t the most current. This was a huge opportunity for the show, and us as an art department, to do something special.

You can watch Season 4 of Silicon Valley to find a variety of Steelcase, Coalesse and turnstone products at 10 pm ET on HBO.


Written By:

Rebecca Charbauski

For Steelcase


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How Patient Room Design Impacts Healthcare Environment http://blog.hbi-inc.com/how-patient-room-design-impacts-healthcare-environment/ http://blog.hbi-inc.com/how-patient-room-design-impacts-healthcare-environment/#comments Mon, 22 May 2017 11:30:47 +0000 http://blog.hbi-inc.com/?p=17196 Continue reading ]]>

How Patient Room Design Impacts Healthcare Environment

Family members support hospital patients emotionally and physically, but these important people in the healthcare process are often underutilized and undervalued. Now, new insights from Steelcase Health released today reveal how patient room design can impact family experiences and engagement in a loved one’s care, and influence patient satisfaction and outcomes.

New Health Insights: Families Face Unmet Needs

With the rate of chronic disease growing, the population aging, and a projected shortage of healthcare professionals, the role of family members to partner with healthcare professionals during a patient’s care is more important than ever. The landscape is complicated by financial incentives tying healthcare providers’ reimbursement to patient satisfaction and the prevention of re-admissions. This complex healthcare picture elevates the value of family members and other loved ones who surround the patient and are often left without many of the essentials they need to be comfortable, productive and supportive.

This complex healthcare picture elevates the value of family members and other loved ones who surround the patient

These mothers, fathers, children and other family members may be the only consistent partner along a patient’s journey, and with guidance, can help hospital staff by providing relevant information, assistance in care, and helpful symptom monitoring during or after the patient stay.

“The benefits to family involvement in care are well-documented in clinical literature,” said Michelle Ossmann, MSN, PhD, Director of Healthcare Environments at Steelcase Health. “Family and friends who are present at the bedside can reduce patient stress, enhance trust, contribute to safety by helping the staff know the patient, and, ultimately, support positive health outcomes. Well-designed healthcare environments can be a powerful tool in supporting a family’s ability to meaningfully engage in their loved one’s care, but many hospitals have yet to fully harness their spaces to maximize this engagement.”

Well-designed healthcare environments can be a powerful tool in supporting a family’s ability to meaningfully engage in their loved one’s care

Steelcase Health sought to better understand how families are involved in the healthcare experience, uncover the contribution of environmental influences on family involvement in patient care, and examine how family members adapt to living in a patient room. Its researchers observed clinicians, patients, family members in maternity and pediatric settings, and interviewed healthcare executives, nursing and facilities staff responsible for inpatient adult care across several service lines, including intensive care. Additionally, the team explored peer-reviewed research and industry trend data, and examined case studies about family involvement in patient care.

The Steelcase Health research team found that the ways in which the physical environment can support the family member in the patient room are not well understand. Healthcare environments are often not designed to support the roles that family members play in a patient’s journey.

Researchers identified five key issues that can affect family wellbeing and engagement in a patient room:

1. Family Members Blocked From Critical Communications

Family Members Blocked From Critical CommunicationsFamily members often want to be active participants with clinicians and the patient, but the layout of most healthcare environments does not promote communication. They may be seated in a corner or on the other side of the room — away or blocked from where medical information is delivered to the patient. If able to participate, family members can share medical and dietary information, take notes and review test result among other things. Effective communication can help family members make a patient’s transition from hospital to home easier, and help the patient follow discharge plans preventing emergency room visits and hospital re-admission.

2. Difficult Sleeping Conditions

Difficult Sleeping ConditionsMany healthcare environments cannot comfortably accommodate family members who stay with their loved ones overnight. Family members worry that they will disturb their loved one as they shift and try to get comfortable in the middle of the night. Chairs, temporary cots and in-room sleepers can be uncomfortable making it more difficult to sleep. Steelcase Health researchers found family members improvising their own “beds” using chairs, duffel bags and pillows.

3. No Place to Share a Meal

No Place to Share a MealFamily members often prefer to eat with their love ones rather than in the cafeteria, but current healthcare environments do not support families sharing a meal. Researchers watched as people tried to improvise with whatever furniture they could find. Besides being inconvenient, the situation frequently displaced items needed by the patient and clinicians.

4. Uncomfortable Hospitality Environment

Uncomfortable Hospitality EnvironmentIn many hospital settings, limited furniture makes it more difficult to host visitors. There’s a few places to store guests’ bags, coats, computers, and bedding adding to crowding that awkward and frustrating for guests, patients and hospital staff. Crowding can block access to medical equipment and impede clinical staff’s ability to do their job.

5. Nowhere to Plug In

Nowhere to Plug InOften family members try to maintain some of their routines, including working from the hospital, while supporting their loved one. In most cases, this requires the use of technology. Researchers saw family members struggle to create ad hoc workspaces while their loved ones slept. Their efforts were often complicated by a lack of access to light, power sources, and surfaces to hold paperwork.

“Family members are eager to be involved in their loved ones’ care, but our research shows that healthcare environments often don’t support their participation,”

Patricia Wang
Researcher, WorkSpace Futures, Steelcase Health

“Family members are Eager to be Involved in their loved ones’ care, but our research shows that healthcare environments often don’t support their participation,” said Patricia Wang, researcher, WorkSpace Futures, Steelcase Heath. “Uncomfortable or temporary furniture, lack of storage for personal items and feelings of stress about getting in the way of clinicians can leave family members feeling more like an audience than an active, valued partner in care. This can impact patient, family member and clinician experience.”

Welcoming Environments

Steelcase Health findings show that family members need intuitive, welcoming and hosted environments that both support fundamental needs, such as sleeping, sharing meals and working, and assists them in productively partnering with clinicians to meet their loved one’s healthcare needs.

“Creating spaces that encourage family involvement is a critical challenge that those who design healthcare environments can work to address,” added Wang. “Space constraints, layout, storage concerns, and access to light and power are all important considerations, along with dynamics such as how simple it is to effectively clean a room or piece of furniture. And, of course, flexibility and adaptability are paramount because they is no one-size-fits-all approach that will meet the needs of every healthcare setting.”

The findings from Steelcase Health bolster research on current healthcare trends such as patient and provider satisfaction as quality indicators, the focus on patient-and-family-centered-care, and the adoption of patient and family advisory boards and councils at hospitals and health systems.

For more information about Steelcase Heath’s insights on how healthcare environments can support family involvement in patient care, visit www.steelcase.com/health.


Written By:

Rebecca Charbauski

For Steelcase


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Q + A” ‘The Future of Work is Not Work’ http://blog.hbi-inc.com/q-a-the-future-of-work-is-not-work/ http://blog.hbi-inc.com/q-a-the-future-of-work-is-not-work/#comments Mon, 08 May 2017 11:30:18 +0000 http://blog.hbi-inc.com/?p=17175 Continue reading ]]>

Q+A - ‘The Future of Work Is Not Work’

What does the world of work look like as Artificial Intelligence, algorithms, bots and big data infiltrate more of our lives? Ben Pring, co-leader of Cognizant’s Future of Work Center, asks that question in “What to Do When Machines Do Everything.” His new book, co-authored with Malcolm Frank and Paul Roehrig, offers a realistic and optimistic view of the future of work. 360 sat down with Pring to hear about what his research reveals about our near, and more distant, future.

360: Let’s start with what we all want to know: Is the future of work one with more machines and fewer people or people working side-by-side with machines?

Pring: That’s the question du jour isn’t it? People worry and think about that for good reason. Machine learning tools get more and more powerful all the time and they are going to do more and more of the work people do today. The crucial determining factor is time.

In the next 10 years, we think 10 to 15 percent of work people currently do will be automated away through machine learning and machine intelligence. At the same time, a big part of the story people are missing, is that about the same amount of jobs will be created through developing, deploying and optimizing these new tools.

From a commercial perspective, there’s no point in worrying about 20 or 50 years away, you have to worry about 20 months away. As a business person, if you’re not solving these issues and using these tools for competitive advantage in the next 20 months, you won’t be around in 20 years to have these debates. We think that human wants and needs are infinite and unsatisfiable. Human ingenuity being what it is will continue to think of new things to do and new work to do. The idea that we’re going to sit around and let the machines do everything is nonsensical.

360: What kinds of questions should leaders be asking to get themselves in position to be successful?

Pring: One question we pose to our clients as a provocative conversation starter is: Are you a HPPO (highest paid person’s opinion)? Are you running your business on data? Or are you what we call a know-it-all business? Do you have good data and are you running your business on that data? Or are you still more in a subjective, kind of old school world where it’s: This is how I think it should be done and this is how it’s always done, so this is how we should do it?

The companies who are really changing and getting ahead are companies who are very very data-centric. They’re companies that want the data, want to know what the story in the data says and are prepared to act on it in an objective, cold way. You’d be amazed how that simple question can be very incendiary in a meeting with people.

More specifically around AI is: Where are you hiring from? Where are you getting talent from? This is a huge issue in the marketplace at the moment. Getting top talent that can really move the needle in a business is non-trivial to put it mildly. Where are you recruiting from? How are you recruiting? How are you training? What relationships are you putting in place with partners? What new vendors are you working with? That’s a big threshold test for companies.

You see big companies, GM is one, putting in place relationships with the likes of Lyft and companies you might think are a strange or risky bet, but in ways these are acqui-hires, they are ways of getting talent. Because even though machines are doing more and more, it’s still going to be people, the ultimate x-factor, and you need very, very good people to act on the opportunities and not be completely swamped by the threats.

360: Do you see an increasing need for creativity and innovation as machines take over more mundane tasks from people?

Pring: The good news in this story is that if the machines are going to do the rote stuff, then conceptually that frees us up to do more interesting work. There’s a nice quote from Mark Cuban, who was just as SXSW, he said he’d rather have a degree in philosophy than be a CPA at the moment.

The good news in this story is that if the machines are going to do the rote stuff, then conceptually that frees us up to do more interesting work.

Ben Pring
Co-leader of Cognizant’s Future of Work Center

People need to be able to ask good questions, to think differently and unusually, to be able to put together different aspects of a solution, which are non conventional. I’m reminded of Steve Jobs. Part of his genius was that he had an interesting in calligraphy and supply chain management. That odd combination of interests was very much at the heart of what a company like Apple was able to do. Think about beauty and aesthetics, but at the same time think about the pragmatic fundamentals of creating a global business and supply chain. That sort of odd, hybrid combination of these disparate skill sets is the future of work where we’ll get all the new ideas.

I think people who can exist in that world and be creative and see what’s next and aren’t settling just to do what they’ve always done, will do very, very well in this brave new world created by machines and systems of intelligence. That’s why we’re optimistic because we think this will unleash creativity rather than stifle it. I’m remind of the phrase: “If you do a job you love, you’ll never work a day in your life.” The future of work is not work.

The Future of Work is Not Work

360: With the changing world of work and the advancement in AI, AR, VR, how do you see people’s days at work changing?

Pring: I think the changing dynamic in the physical workspace is really interesting. We have an entire floor in New York that we call “The Collaboratory” where we explore the future of work with clients. To us, space is very important even in the machine world. Our authors live in three different cities. We did a lot of virtual work. But, we realized there is magic that happens in the room especially in the creative process.

Making spaces that are conductive for that type of creative work — the aesthetic of the room, nature of the room, vibe of the room — is still extraordinarily important. It’s going to be interesting to see how the creative experience is reshaped by the hybridization of the virtual and physical. I feel strongly about the importance of the role of the physical environment one is in.


PringPring co-leads Cognizant’s Future of Work Center. Prior to his work at Cognizant, Pring spent 15 years with Gartner as a senior industry analyst researching and advising on areas such as cloud computing and global sourcing. His co-authored book “What to Do When Machines Do Everything” was published in February 2017.


Written By:

Rebecca Charbauski

For Steelcase


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Staying Connected at Work: 1900s to Now http://blog.hbi-inc.com/staying-connected-at-work-1900s-to-now/ http://blog.hbi-inc.com/staying-connected-at-work-1900s-to-now/#comments Mon, 24 Apr 2017 11:30:46 +0000 http://blog.hbi-inc.com/?p=17058 Continue reading ]]>

Staying Connected at Work

Since the world’s first skyscraper went up in Chicago in 1885, people have converged to work together for a common goal. Companies and how people work together have changed dramatically since then and, in recent years, these changes have come fast and furious.

Phones, dictation machines, personal computers — over time, the ways people stay connected to get work done has evolved in parallel with the cost, size and distribution of technology. The workplace has also adapted to accommodate communication tools as they became more prevalent and bigger and, then again, as they shrank in size.

Archive photos reveal how designers have created work environments since the first high rise to bring people, place and technology to help people work better. And, now, for the first time, Microsoft and Steelcase are coming together to develop new spaces designed to unlock creativity at work.


1900-1950: Limited Technology

In the early 1900s as organizations grew, more and more people began working together. Businesses transitioned from a craft economy to a capital economy, and we began to see new philosophies around organizational structure. The efficiency of Taylorism in the early 1900s gave way to more creative work in the 1920s and ’30s. Communication tools advanced as well. Phones and dictation machines were all dedicated to the most powerful people within the organization.


Limited Technology1This 1907 office was likely used by an organization’s leader. At this time, only the people with the most seniority had access to a telephone. The office also includes a letter tray and a place for an assistant to sit and take dictation.


Limited Technology2George Davis, owner of Stow & Davis Furniture Company, sits at his executive desk in 1912. His secretary is likely writing shorthand. Their desks are in close proximity to facilitate dictation. Steelcase later acquired Stow & Davis.




Limited Technology3Larger desks, like this one in the 1920s, helped to accommodate a telephone and an increasing amount of paperwork.




Limited Technology4As the cost of telephone dropped, organizations were able to add more of these tools into the office. As organizations focused on efficiency, some rooms were designed for people to sit closely together and move paperwork from their in-box to their out-box.


Limited Technology5The Ediphone, a dictation machine, was used in offices in the early 1900s.


1950-1980: Democratized Technology

During World War II, the government developed systems to process reams of information quickly and efficiently. Following the war, business leaders adopted these efficiency to speed up repetitive work, like sorting punch cards and data entry.

At the same time, the distribution of technology became further democratized. More people had access to phones and multi-line phones became commonplace. Additional technology meant added connections and wires that all needed space within the office. In the mid-to-late 1970s, panels and moveable walls changed the way work environments were designed to accommodate the wires and allow for easy reconfiguration.


Democratized Technology1In the 1950s, Steelcase employees had phones and typewriters at their desks. Desks were set up with efficiency in mind.



Democratized Technology2This photo from 1956 shows a desk for a middle range manager. A side chair is in place to accommodate quick collaborative conversations.



Democratized Technology3Working from home isn’t a new concept. This 1959 office blurred the lines between work and home — created in someone’s living room.




Democratized Technology4This photo from the 1950s illustrates the overload of paper in offices at the time. Desks were set up with in-boxes and out-boxes to move paper from one to the other throughout the day.


Democratized Technology5The 1958 Swingstallation desk was designed to integrate a phone. At this time, companies began to move away from switchboard and start installing phones at individual desks.



Democratized Technology6In this 1958 photo from Steelcase’s 36th Street headquarters, phones were installed before the furniture.



Democratized Technology7Big computers handled punch cards and other large amounts of data in the late ’60s. This Datacase Computer Console desk and chair dates back to 1968.




Democratized Technology8Punch cards ran mainframes like this one from 1965. Big batch data processing stayed in place until the mid-’80s.



Democratized Technology9This workspace from 1970 was designed to accommodate a typewriter, desk calendar, phone and storage unit.



Democratized Technology10Workplace furniture became more mobile in the 1970s. This desk from 1972 incorporates file storage, a typewriter and a phone.



Democratized Technology11This wood desk from 1977 was designed to conceal phone wires.




Democratized Technology12Moveable walls like those seen in this 1977 photo helped conceal wires and create privacy without requiring architectural changes.



Democratized Technology13Organizing vast amounts of paperwork was a challenge before the digital age. This Paperflo system from the late 1970s included six trays to help with organization and productivity.


1980-1990: The Personal Computer

In the 1980s, advancements in technology were paralleled by improvements to the work environment. More people had access to computers as the decades progressed and furniture helped support the modern worker — designed to allow people to connect to power right at their desks. The rise of the personal computer coincided with a shift in the workforce. It diversified the kinds of roles available, including a dramatic influx of whit collar workers.


The Personal Computer1A major advancement in the mid-1980s introduced power into workspace panels. This removed the technology from the architecture. Now, people didn’t have to drill holes in walls to reach power source. (1985)



The Personal Computer2Computer support furniture in the mid-1980s created more access and mobility for computer equipment.




The Personal Computer3By 1986, the entire design of the workplace had changed. Wires under the floor allowed power to be accessed from anywhere.


1990-2015: Embracing Networks

In the 1990s, the flow of information accelerated and the speed of business sped up as well. Organizations began to see themselves in terms of social networks and cultures, as much as structures. The world was introduced to the internet, while collaboration around technology became an important part of the workplace.


Embrancing Networks1 This wood-paneled private office included Stow Davis furniture designed to support a personal computer, phone and storage for a busy executive. (1990)



Embrancing Networks2This Smart Stuff furniture from Steelcase allowed people to work next to one another while still having their own computer, phone and storage. (1995)


Embrancing Networks3The Avenir furniture line from Steelcase enhanced personal privacy. At the same time, a technology wall and ports gave people access to power and data almost anywhere. (1998)




Embrancing Networks4The Kick Freestanding desk and chair allowed people to work on their individual tasks and then turn around within the same space to collaborate with colleagues. (2002)


Embrancing Networks5By 2010, the internet and laptops were common threads throughout businesses worldwide and people were connected across geographic boundaries instead of within a single office.


Embrancing Networks6The 2010 FrameOne Bench was designed for sleeker devices, smaller power cords and greater collaboration.


Now: Smart + Connected

In today’s workplaces, thresholds to and from space are being minimized. Smart + Connected Spaces are connected distributed global teams no matter where they are working. People, place and technology are intricately linked. At the same time, technology is poised to take on repetitive tasks, leaving people to create and problem solve driving growth and innovation within organizations.

Until now, many organizations haven’t thought about their investments in space and technology holistically. In order to help people reach their creative potential at work, Steelcase and Microsoft have introduced Creative Spaces, a jointly developed range of technology-enabled work spaces designed to foster creative thinking at work.

Ideation Hub

The Ideation HubThe Ideation Hub is a high-tech destination that encourages active participation and equal opportunity to contribute as people co-create, refine and share ideas with co-located or distributed teammates.

Focus Studio

The Focus StudioThe Focus Studio supports individual creative work which requires alone time to focus and get into flow. It also allows for quick shifts to two-person collaboration. This is a place to let ideas incubate before sharing them with a large group.

Duo Studio

The Duo StudioWorking in pairs is an essential behavior of creativity. The Duo Studio supports trust. Two people can co-create shoulder-to-shoulder, while the space also supports individual work. It includes a lounge area to invite others in for a quick creative review or to put your feet up and get away without getting away.

Maker Commons

The Maker CommonsThe Maker Commons is designed for socializing ideas and rapid prototyping — both essential parts of creativity. This space encourages quick switching between conversation, experimentation and concentration.

Respite Room

The Respite RoomCreative work requires the need to balance active group work with solitude and individual think time. The Respite Room is a truly private room allowing relaxed postures to support diffused attention.

Explore Creative Spaces and the Microsoft and Steelcase partnership. Plus, read what Steelcase CEO Jim Keane says about the future of work with Microsoft.


Written By:

Rebecca Charbauski

For Steelcase


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Place + Technology Drive Creative Performance http://blog.hbi-inc.com/place-technology-drive-creative-performance/ http://blog.hbi-inc.com/place-technology-drive-creative-performance/#comments Mon, 10 Apr 2017 11:30:27 +0000 http://blog.hbi-inc.com/?p=17004 Continue reading ]]>

Place + Technology Drive Creative Performance

Despite what you may have grown up believing, people are not born creative. People don’t grow up destined for careers as artists or musicians. Research tells us creativity is an iterative process in which anyone can engage, and not restricted to a type of person.

This week, Steelcase and Microsoft announced a new partnership that will help people reach their creative potential at work. Both Steelcase and Microsoft believe we all have the capacity to create. But, joint research by both companies reveals while people feel more pressure to produce creative work, the conditions for creativity are sub-optimal in most work places:

Creative83% People who say they are asked to be creative at work either weekly or daily.


72% Diverse group of workers say their future success depends on their ability to be creative.


40% Less than half of workers say they have a culture that encourages creativity.


44% People who feel like they could be more creative at work if they had a place to work without distractions.


25% People who think they can be creative in places available for group work.

Rhythm of Creativity

Work used to be very linear — a process focused on efficiency with repetitive tasks where people could specialize. But, the need for more creative work requires a much different rhythm. While there are a variety of models for the creative process — as early as 1926, when social psychologist Graham Wallas published “The Art of Thought” — researchers have identified common elements. Creativity is the ebb and flow of activities that involves working alone, in large and small groups or in pairs. The process is fluid and ideas evolve as teams iterate in an organic way.

Ignition to Implementation

Creativity is an Iterative Process

Creativity is an iterative process. Work used to be driven by efficiency. The process was intentionally linear and divided into parts in which people could specialize.

But, the problems we face today are so much more complex. They require creative thinking and a very different work process in which people and ideas diverge, converge and iterate.

The Disconnect between Place and Technology

To support this creative process, we need a new set of creative places and technologies. Until now, space and technology in the workplace have often been planned separately by different teams with different objectives. That’s why Steelcase and Microsoft are working together to develop Creative Spaces, an immersive ecosystem that brings together space and technology to help people generate new ideas and move them forward.

This new set of Creative Spaces includes a range places and technologies to enable a creative rhythm. A balanced ecosystem includes technology that is both mobile and integrated into the physical environment as well as spaces designed for individual “me” work and “we” group work.

Technology and Places

A Diverse Ecosystem

People need an ecosystem of interrelated places and devices to support the different stages and activities of creative work. A diverse ecosystem includes mobile and integrated technology, as well as spaces designed for individual “me” work and “we” work.

Five initial Creative Spaces are on display at the Steelcase WorkLife Center in New York City.


The Ecosystem of Creative Spaces includes:

The Focus Studio

The Focus Studio is where ideas incubate before sharing them with a group. It supports individual creative work time and the ability to get into flow quickly while also allowing quick shifts to two-person collaboration.

The Focus Studio

Key Features

Posture: The Gesture® chair supports the range of postures people assume when using the Surface® Studio to create. The AirTouch® table lifts to switch quickly from sitting to standing to encourage movement and boost energy.

Privacy: The space keeps information private and reduces visual distraction. V.I.A.® walls keep ambient noise out so you can stay in flow.

Proximity: The table facilitates brief, shoulder-to-shoulder collaboration, sharing content from Surface® Pro 4 or Surface® Book or to see the big picture on Surface® Studio through wireless projection. Storage with integrated lighting slides open and becomes an extension of the work area.

The Duo Studio

The Duo Studio was created with the knowledge that working in pairs is an essential behavior of creativity. This space helps build trust — two people can co-create shoulder-to-shoulder while also support individual work. An informal lounge setting creates a place to relax and re-energize during intense work sessions.

The Duo Studio

Key Features

Posture: Ology™ height-adjustable desks are side-by-side, making it easy to sit or stand, work individually in parallel or lean over to collaborate, maintaining flow and consistency using Surface® Dial and Surface® Pen. Umami™ lounge creates a place to relax and recognize during intense work sessions.

Privacy: V.I.A.® walls help mitigate distractions and allow private conversations. The “I’m Done” security feature on Surface Hub™ safety removes all content from the previous session to encourage rapid starts for new collaboration.

Proximity: The configuration is an intimate environment that supports easy access to technology, storage, analog content and your teammates. It offers an informal, theater-like setting for reviewing work at the integrated Surface Hub™.

The Maker Commons

The Maker Commons encourages quick switching between conversation, experimentation and concentration. Here, people can socialize ideas and engage in rapid prototyping — essential parts of creativity. To achieve privacy and focus in open areas, a work lounge with privacy screens creates a cocoon-like environment where people can bring their mobile devices and do focused work.

The Maker Commons

Key Features

Posture: This space supports a full range of posture — seated, standing, lounging, perching — encouraging movement without breaking flow.

Privacy: Brody® Worklounge is a micro-environment for privacy and focus in open ares including integrated lighting, power and bag storage. The Brody screens create a cocoon within the open plan to sketch or take notes on your Surface® Pro 4 between brainstorms.

Proximity: Centrally located in the ecosystem, this space is a communal atmosphere to gather and play with new ideas. It allows people to shift easily from “me” to “we” activities and through the different stages of the creative process.

The Ideation Hub

The Ideation Hub is a great place for brainstorming. It’s a high-tech destination that encourages active participation and an equal opportunity to contribute. Here people can co-create, refine and share ideas with co-located or distributed teammates.

The Ideation Hub

Key Features

Posture: Stool height seating encourages movement and quick shifts from interaction with personal devices to group collaboration at the Surface Hub™.

Privacy: V.I.A.® walls integrate the Surface Hub™ and provide unparalleled acoustic privacy to prevent disruptions and enhance remote user particpation.

Proximity: The furniture elements are scaled to allow ample circulation and the ability to engage or step back from the action and reflect or gain a different perspective.

The Respite Room

The Respite Room is designed with the understanding that creativity requires balancing active group work with solitude and individual think time. Here, people may generate their own ideas without interruption or spend time absorbing information they just heard.

The Respite Room

Key Features

Posture: Relaxed postures can support diffused attention, allow the brain to wander and lead to ‘eureka!’ insights. It also supports active brainstorming while away from your personal workstation allowing quick switches between typing and working with digital ink or touch.

Privacy: V.I.A.® walls create acoustic privacy and visual relief reducing external stimuli, allowing the brain to rest, form new connections and generate new ideas. Easily switch brain modes to active work and focus without disruptions.

Proximity: Thread® Modular Power makes it easy to charge devices. Massaud Ottoman opens to provide a place to store personal items. The highly adjustable LED Dash® light allows you to control the light level.

Explore Creative Spaces and the Microsoft and Steelcase partnership.


Written By:

Rebecca Charbauski

For Steelcase


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