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How your Workspace could Inhibit Design Thinking

Monday, 14 Nov 2016


Getting people to believe may start with surroundings.

Any organisation hoping to co-opt design thinking into their culture will need to think about how they can get every employee to believe in it – and one way could be through workspace layout.

Speaking on the sidelines of SAP’s TechEd event in Barcelona, the vendor’s chief design officer Sam Chen spoke of SAP’s own journey to adopt a design thinking mindset and some of the lessons learned.

SAP of course is but one backer of the power of design thinking. Others such as Salesforce and Accenture have similarly invested to back the concept into their own cultures.

For Chen, anything that aims to transform organisational culture is likely to be a “multi-year journey” and involve many moving parts.

“There’s so many aspects to really flipping a culture,” Chen said.

“You have to have the right people, you have to start modifying processes, and maybe most importantly you have to have the right mindset.

“But the actual environment also matters.”

SAP’s first experiments with workspace have been via its ‘AppHaus’ environments in Heidelberg, Palo Alto and Korea. They are a kind of design and co-innovation space for SAP and its users to interact in a non-corporate setting.

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