Designing for Insights

Need a good idea? The best approach seems to be to take time out, day dream, let your mind flow, and see what happens. Sitting at your office desk is not going to result in innovation. Or so the current wisdom goes. Neuroscientists working on insights suggest that insight occurs as an "act an act of cognitive deliberation transformed by accidental, serendipitous connections."

How people get to that connection is less clear but it seems that it is not by thinking hard, going over and over the same ground, or sitting in a standard US office cubicle. With this in mind office designers are changing the physical layouts of office space to accommodate informal interactions, lounging spaces, and so on. (Not a very new idea but maybe taking off?)

But what about applying the same loosening of restrictions on office rules, policies, and practices – one ripe for a creative rethink (or ditching altogether) is the performance appraisal, another is the job title denoting hierarchical power, and a third is a tiered pay or grading system that frequently rewards tenure rather than aptitude.

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