INNOVATION IN SPATIAL DESIGN PROCESSES: THE USER IN THE CENTER OF IT.
Lately, a furor to use innovation methodologies such as design thinking, visual thinking and so on, has been unleashed so as to structure, define and guide creative processes. In artistic-creative processes, these methodologies miss the magical subconscious moment of creative revelation, but in other not-so-artistic disciplines, it is an interesting approach to the creative world as a springboard to open paths of exploration and innovation.
Nevertheless, the contribution of these methodologies, covering all the relevant aspects in a creative process, is very relevant in any discipline. Something similar happens when designing spaces. Although it is difficult to generate distinctive proposals following a pattern or established creation guide, taking into account more holistic aspects during the process contributes to its enrichment.
This was the case for TeamLabs (campus of innovation and entrepreneurship), that faced the challenge of defining what the learning environments of the future would be like in its new headquarters in Madrid (the former Duque de Alba Palace) and how to create a home for learning communities. The creative approach required a more complex vision than only spatial design, so a more systematic approach, based on design thinking, was necessary:
[creative process in TemLabs]
01. RESEARCH: Listen, empathize, understand, chat.
_Conceptual research: What does the organizational universe is like?, What are the brand key principles? What is its purpose?
_User research: What is his/her spatial experience? What are his/her needs?
_Formal research: How is the space used? How does the organization work?
02. THE WALL: make research visible to generate user interaction.
03. SYNTHESIS: interpret and synthesize the previous information.
_What is the user experience like in terms of spatial usability.
_What are the challenges the brand faces at a spatial level.
_What are the conceptual inspirations, that allow them to keep dreaming.
04. THE BRIEF: document.
_Create a spatial principle guide or style brief to turn to when acting spatially.
05. THE SPATIAL PROPOSAL: Now, imagine future scenarios.
The spatial creative process cannot be limited to a methodology. Nevertheless, we can support them in those aspects we consider the most relevant, creating our own creative roadmap. We need to place the user in the center of the process. And we need more “teal” spaces (Frederic Laloux, “Reinventing organizations“). By understanding these methodologies in a deeper way, we can achieve this.