Living and Learning

How does environment impact creativity?
Answered by David Kelley
  • David Kelley

    David Kelley

  1. David Kelley Founder and Chairman of IDEO & Founder of Stanford


    Well my question is: how do you get any work done in a place where everybody's in a private office and you don't see what's going on? So the whole notion of building on each other's ideas and it being multidisciplinary and collaborative stuff is so that you can be together. It's like you don't have much friends if you stay at home. So that excitement of building on the vibe of each other and what each other is doing requires you to be in the same space, in an open space.

    [At IDEO], there is problem of acoustic privacy. You have the problem that you want to see what's going on; you want to see that the Federal Express guy has brought the package that you've all been waiting for and everybody jumps on him and uses it to fix the problem or whatever they were doing. So you want that. So everybody has a different strategy for how they get things done. You see a lot of headphones. You see a lot of enclaves where people have this kind of vital, exciting life -- work space, but there are rooms that are quiet you go to when you need to do something like that. You make a critical telephone.

    But I think that -- but most places so far had swung way over to the place where everybody's in a private office by themselves with their head down. And so the notion is if you want to solve a problem you work harder by yourself in your office. Does that sound right? It seems like you want to get more people involved if you've got a big problem. And having people who are empathetic to the way your work happens when you're in the exciting environment.

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