Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Fostering Creativity

In the late 90s, when it came time for Pixar to build a new campus for its ever expanding workforce, architects for the project presented Steve Jobs with a plan that envisioned a corporate headquarters laid out over three buildings. One of the buildings would hold computer engineers, another would hold animators, and the third would hold editors, directors and other employees. Jobs immediately threw the plan out. His own vision, which became a reality, encompassed a single large building that would hold everyone. He understood something about the creative process that many managers in large companies don't. Most people instinctively spend time with people who have similar interests. But in order to order to foster creative thinking in a corporate environment, employees need to interact with people who are different from themselves. In an effort to encourage this inter-company mingling, Pixar constructed a large atrium at the center of the new campus that had cafes, meeting areas, mailboxes, and a small store. Furthermore, Jobs insisted that the only bathrooms in the building be located in this central location. According to Jonah Lehrer, many Pixar employees now have a story of meeting someone while washing their hands and then using this initial conversation as a springboard to collaborating with that person on a company project.
- Read more about it here: NPR