How co-creation helped us setting up a flexible lab space


It was this time last year, that we realized our office was just getting too small. While the lofty space had a lot of style and atmosphere, there were major drawbacks to it: at times the noise level killed concentration and our development team was crammed into „the small meeting room“ which in turn led to a lack of real meeting spaces. While holding meetings in the downstairs café can be fun for some time, we soon got tired of being on top of each other all the time and knew: we needed more space.

Now, we are already settled in our not-so-new home base at Heinrich-Heine-Platz. There are project rooms, a big common area, meeting and workshop rooms that proved to be supportive for our work. But how did we get there?

In our attempt to improve our working environment, we not only asked the Service Innovation Labs co-workers but also tapped the ideas and knowledge of the Service Design crowd.

At the Service Experience Camp 2013 we held a barcamp session asking the participants to prototype their perception of a supportive office. With 40 Minutes, boxes of playmobil and bulks of modelling mass, around fifteen „cardboard rooms“ were transformed into inspiring set ups of the ideal working environment.

See here what we incorporated into our own workspace and daily routines at Service Innovation Labs. 



We are really happy about the fact that our office comes with a number of smaller rooms, so that we can sit together in our project teams. Each team can set up the space how they need it for the project, rearrange their furniture and hang up relevant information on the wall. This leads to immediate identification within the team and project. Plus, it helps to keep the noise level down for the other people in the office who might not be that interested in our brainstorming session or passionate discussion. Personally, I also like changing my work place from time to time – it quite literally gives you a new perspective.



Of course, sharing knowledge, experiences and skills is super important for us to help everyone develop their skill-set and deliver high-quality projects. Even in a small company like ours it is a challenge to keep the stream of information flowing despite everyday busyness. To do so we use different irregular formats: people from inside and outside the company are invited to share insights in topics of interest, and in our „After Action Reviews“, we discuss our learnings after a project. 



IKEA provides free lunch for all their employees because they know how a happy stomach contributes to the motivation and wellbeing of everyone. Like shown in the prototype, there’s a big common area in our office, where we hold Monday Morning Breakfast, Wednesday Team Lunch and Friday Beer or Cocktails. In between, you always see someone having a bring-from-home lunch or a coffee break there. For more flexibility, we abstained from one big table and instead are using smaller tables that can be moved around easily. 


… and of course there is play =).

Seeing how much inspiration this co-creation workshop provided us, we do not want to miss the opportunity to discuss another challenge at this year’s Service Experience Camp: in one of our barcamp sessions, we will brainstorm about how to structure a growing business without losing its democratic and egalitarian roots.

Together with Felix Somerville-Scharf, Benjamin will also give back some insights to the community in their talk on implementing Service Design in Multinational Companies. 

We are looking forward to meet you this weekend!