PURPOSE DRIVEN SPACES?
Much is being said about the importance of purpose driven organizations. Whether companies, startups or NGOs, they guide their professional activity by means of the achievement of higher purposes (the so-called leading thoughts), beyond the income statement, which their members can connect with and feel aligned to be the most authentic version of themselves. This is that “leitmotif” which drives them to want to be part of that organization, to feel that “they are where they want to be” and to be able to develop themselves both personally and professionally. We are talking about “The Why” of Simon Sinek‘s “Golden Circle“, that personal mission that connects to a higher purpose and that has been the starting point of the great leaderships over the history of humanity.
Frederic Laloux (author of “Reinventing Organizations”) points out that every time humankind has reached a new stage of consciousness, it has also created a radically more productive organizational model than the previous one, attending to the “self-realization” level of Maslow pyramid. Laloux calls it the “teal-evolutionary,” an evolutionary thrust toward more complex and refined ways of facing the world, and identifies companies or organizations whose purposes or principles work under the principles of self-realization.
In this rise to a more complex level in organizations, what role does the design and construction of physical space play in its purpose?
Numerous psychological studies have shown that humans respond to specific configurations of the environment in which they live. The psychology of architecture takes physical space into account as a generator of psycho-physiological responses: the design of spaces can reduce or increase our productivity in work environments, directly affects the daily behavior of individuals and plays an active role in learning environments, among others. Space has been the faithful material expression of collective culture since the beginning of time, closely moving forward the processes of change of civilizations.
Space will be part of the purpose of teal organizations if it reflects the spatial brand of that organization which it is intended to host, if it reflects a mission, values and principles in which individuals can feel identified, and if it strengthens the user’s spatial experience. In education, this space-education relationship has already begun, as the entry into the educational ecosystem of new educational methodologies is demanding a new spatial paradigm that allows experimentation, innovation and individual and collective development of students.
In short, design and spatial construction should be an integral part of the purposes of the organizations, because they are part of them and because they contribute to its strengthening. Architecture will be an active part of this evolutionary process as long as it looks at more holistic and cross linked professional ecosystems. It will no longer be worth designing a space as the ultimate goal; it will have to be one more link within the chain of an organization’s creative process, and contain those ingredients that reflect brand, purpose, user experience and identity.