Employers spark innovation with creative work spaces

If you do most of your heavy lifting with your brain, chances are your desk reflects a good deal of your professional identity.

Perhaps that’s why, when some employers want their people to innovate, they try putting a new twist on the old desk-computer-cubicle combo. We found employees of a global aerospace and defense contractor working in an office that looks like a high-end college study hall, a software-development firm modeled after Pixar Studios, and, of all things, a government office that could give HGTV designers a run for their money.

Want your people free-wheeling, yet focused? Try letting them not just personalize a cubicle but an entire little house, down to the building material and interior furnishing. A hammock, a fish tank, whatever you can build into your shack is OK at DeveloperTown.

At Rolls-Royce North America, no one except a few executives has assigned desks or offices. The arrangement breaks down barriers of communication, and it allows the company to house more people in less space. The environment is democratic, yet efficient. Who knew the two could work together?

We hope the long-term vision for Indianapolis, Plan 2020, is as inspired as The Hall, which the Department of Metropolitan Development salvaged from vacancy and disrepair with $150,000 and a MacGyver mind-set. City planners and Greater Indianapolis Progress Committee staff are putting Old City Hall back to work but without the civic stuffiness.

(Click on the links above to open annotated photos of each of the work spaces.)

Check out the rest of IBJ's 2015 Innovation Issue.

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