Space matters. We read space like we read people’s faces. Space is an instrument of collaboration and innovation. At the University of Michigan’s Institute for Clinical and Health Research (MICHR), a team was created to creatively and economically enhance our operating space into a flexible workspace that supports privacy, innovation, creativity, and most important, a culture of collaboration.
The team used a human-centered design process to creatively engage the staff at large into analyzing our existing space, identifying latent needs, proposing solutions, generating feedback, and economically building the rethought process.
The redesigned workspace embraces the differences among MICHR’s teams while encouraging collaboration and teamwork and keeping costs at a minimum. It has resulted in a flexible space that includes co-located teams, spaces dedicated to different work goals, an open area for collaboration, quiet zones for focused work, and better wayfinding.
Through our Rethink Space project, we hope to have demonstrated that, by initiating the project internally and by engaging the users of the space themselves in an empathetic, visual, and human-centered way, a space redesign can be undertaken economically while also leading to improved levels of employee and team satisfaction.