Imagination at Work

What is your preferred way of leaving a meeting, by fireman pole or by slide? Companies that work in the realm of creative innovation have designed environments for their employees that encourage imagination, activity, and fun.

Lego’s Denmark office is such an example. The design of the open ground floor, scattered with couches and Lego displays, encourages interaction amongst designers during the creative process. And when business meetings must take place upstairs, the slide provides a quick get away.

Lego’s employment philosophy is intrinsically tied to their product, proclaiming that, “Creativity is at the heart of the LEGO Group. So we build it systematically into everything we do. In the same playful and highly imaginative way that children transform a pile of bricks into a jumbo jet or a fairytale palace, we bring imagination to work everyday – in the way we go about our jobs, our experience-based approach to learning and our inventive career development.”


Google too is known as an innovator in the work environment. Its engineers in Google’s Zurich office can use fireman poles to get quickly from floor to floor, have meetings in gondalas, and scribble ideas of brilliance while on their way to the bathroom on the whiteboards lining the walls.

In a BBC Interview with Nelson Mattas, the vice president of engineering, he explained, “The lava lamps, free food and games are all part of the Google culture. It is informal and a structure that isn’t dictated from the top.” It is Google’s belief that their engineers work best in an environment that is, in itself, creative and open.

Google's Gondala Meeting Rooms

This perspective may well have proved itself already. Another of Google’s innovative policies, which allows engineers to free 20% of their time to pursue their own creative projects, has resulted in the creation of Google News, by an engineer was frustrated with the limited news post 9/11, and Google Trends, which analyzes and compares search terms.

These companies, which rely on a constant innovation of design by their employees, have institutionalized creativity and out-of-the-box thinking in their very work environments to encourage and inspire their designers. It also reflects a change from the traditional hierarchy of corporations to a more open or ‘flat’ structure that promotes communication, exchange, and equality.

Google's Zurich Office

This entry was posted in Design!publiC and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *