Foster Innovation in an Open Space

“Consciously or not, we feel and internalize what the space tells us about how to work. When you walk into most offices, the space tells you that it’s meant for a group of people to work alone. Closed-off desks sprout off of lonely hallways, and in a few obligatory conference rooms a huge table ensures that people are safely separated from one another.”

David Kelley

If this portrayal by leading design educator, David Kelley, describes the typical office space, then the T.E.C.H. Playground is the picture of collaboration and innovation.  As professors and students meet in the Playground, conversations happen and ideas are shared about the use of technology to engage students and interest them in subjects they might find dull or boring. Research projects commence when these conversations raise fascinating questions that require answers.  

I was recently involved in a conversation with one of my dissertation committee members in the T.E.C.H. Playground .  As we brainstormed ideas on my newest area of research interest, I felt as though he and I were colleagues working alongside each other, not merely as the teacher mentoring his student.  The transformation of our interactions was facilitated not only by his seemingly genuine interest in my ideas, but also in the comfort and design of the environment.  As students,  we often fight the fear of failure so we don’t share our ideas, try new things, or take the opportunity to make mistakes from which we could learn. The T.E.C.H. Playground welcomes faculty, staff, and students to hold meetings, learn and play with new technologies,  and even make mistakes without the fear of “messing things up” or being judged for not knowing something. We look  forward to those opportunities to celebrate those who are willing to take a chance.

Alesha

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