6 Ways IDEO Cambridge Designers Stay Creative

When Metropolis visited the global design company’s new Cambridge outpost, we quizzed its designers on how they stay fresh, collaborative, and imaginative.

ideo creative workplace ideas
IDEO’s Cambridge office feature a large artwork by the French artist Eltono. Courtesy Bob O’Connor

The very idea of creativity is ineffable and subjective, like a painter’s “eye” or baseball pitcher’s “stuff.” Yet, however indeterminable, architects and designers know this essence is what sets themselves apart, helping them to go above and beyond the basic expectations of any given project. So, how does one plant the seeds of creativity in the workplace?

That’s one question Metropolis aimed to unpack when it visited the new Cambridge digs of IDEO, a global design company that works with businesses to devise new products, services, and experiences. While IDEO has many offices, each one of its outposts is unique, and the Cambridge, Massachusetts office looks to become a central node in the local tech start-up scene. The project’s open architecture (designed by Boston firm Hacin + Associates), which include garage doors that literally open the building to local collaborators, was essential to achieving that goal. While the office’s flexible working areas and project team rooms cater to IDEO’s workflow, the well-designed physical architecture was just part of the equation.

The company’s designers articulated a series of strategies that help them share ideas and communicate critiques even as they constantly transition from one project team to another. Many of those strategies use graphic design and installations to build upon the office’s architecture. Other techniques, such as the use of design fiction and sketching, could work in any office. Metropolis distilled these tactics into these six fundamental ideas:

You may also enjoy “IDEO’s Bold New Cambridge Office Uses Architecture to Join a Start-Up Community.”

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