Creatively high ceilings


Behavioral economics and other fields are delving ever more deeply into the human mind. Tapping the increasing level of knowledge in this area for improved quality of work and quality of life is a particular passion of mine.

The latest research done by Ohio State University and The National Institute of Mental health has discovered that a red color scheme helps with tasks related to attention to detail (e.g. proofreading a book chapter). Blue, on the other hand, is conducive to coming up with creative ideas. High ceilings allow people to make connections between seemingly unrelated topics. Click here if you have a Wall street journal subscription and would like to read more.

This information syncs with the book I have been reading lately – Agile Development by James Shore and Shane Warden. In it, they describe the need for Extreme Programming teams to sit together in a space that allows people to overhear each other’s conversations. Personally, I have seen this “cocktail party effect” in action in our offices at Positive Purchasing. We ignore conversations that have no relevance to us, but hear those that we can provide answers to.

Being in the same room allows for rapid answers to questions that would otherwise end up in an email that may take hours or days to answer. We often underestimate the information bottlenecks created when we can’t get immediate answers to questions or in hierarchical situations when one person needs to sign off on too many things. Sitting in a well-designed room, along with having the right people can go a long way to developing an ‘agile’ organization.

We’ll continue blogging about we believe needs to be in place to become agile, but room design is a key starting point.


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