Allowing physical space for innovation helps companies be innovative. Innovation occurs inside the mind, but there are certain environmental factors that can greatly help stimulate innovation. That means that there are certain ways to design an office in order to maximize innovation. For example, the Leipzig BMW factory has an open floor plan intended to maximize social interaction and thus creative stimulation. By insuring that employees come into contact with employees that they wouldn’t necessarily see in a more traditional office layout, BMW’s floor plan helps to enhance the flow of creative ideas.
Some companies have invested in more major physical redesigns to foster innovation and creativity. For instance, Grip Limited, an advertising firm in Toronto, wanted to expand the types of clients it was attracting. The company had survived primarily by doing beer marketing, but those at the top of company worried that Grip was becoming type cast as a company that only did beer commercials. Grip leaders felt that in order to successfully attract and retain a wider range of marketing clients, they needed to increase the creative output at their office. So they redesigned the office itself. Grip added in a slide, a fire pole, and a hot tub-like conversation pit. The new white walls double as projection screens and contoured window seats are scattered throughout for impromptu conversations. Although those sorts of changes seem whimsical and perhaps pointless, there is significant value to adding elements that encourage both physical activity and conversation, as both of these things are tied to creativity and innovation. In the case of Grip, the changes certainly seem to have worked. After its building redesign, Grip picked up GlaxoSmithKline, Honda, and Acura as clients.