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How we used service design principles to create a better workspace

By Spaces, Explanation No Comments

From November 27th, we’ll be in an all-new set of research labs – and we’ve been able to purpose design them ourselves from the ground up. As service designers, we’ve used the same techniques that we use to solve client problems to craft labs that are user-designed and user-centric.

Below, we’ve distilled our approach down into three steps, and showed you how we followed them:

 1)  Co-create

Engage all stakeholders in the creative process

We knew that keeping the workspace’s users (our clients and our team) central to the design process would be fundamentally important. The very first thing we did was ask them what they wanted out of the new labs.

Our clients told us that they wanted a space that would make their research participants feel at home, while projecting a positive impression of their brand – something cool, contemporary, stylish, but informal enough not to feel intimidating. They also wanted a space sufficiently flexible for a wide range of different types of research session.

We translated those requirements into a plan for a modern and unfussy industrial style. Concrete pillars and brightly coloured metal are softened by pendant lighting, and we incorporated modular furniture that’s easy to move, stack or combine for easy switching between stand up and sit down sessions.

Meanwhile, as a team, we gave feedback on everything from key pain points in the current workspace to opinions on carpet fabric swatches, the kitchen layout, and more. We used this data as the starting point for how we approached designing the team desk and work area – feeding all the info gathered directly into the specification we provided to the architects.

2) Focus on the users

The most fundamental principle

Next, we looked at what we ourselves could interpret about what our users would want, but maybe hadn’t thought to tell us.

We knew that our lab clients often travel to us from outside London, as do their participants – meaning close proximity to a major railway station in London was an obvious priority.

Once in the labs, clients often conduct sessions that last for extended periods, so natural light and excellent ventilation would be basic requirements to ensure maximum comfort.

Speaking and listening are also fundamental parts of most sessions – leading us to prioritise acoustics, with soundproofed walls and carpeted floors chosen to facilitate clear recording of sessions.

When it came to our team, we looked at the less obvious elements that could slow down their work. This led to throwing out our current system of fixed desks, and replacing it with hot-desking and breakout pods.

Then we complemented the usual fixed meeting rooms with ad hoc magnetic, writable walls and smaller workspaces throughout the office – helping to make their work more freeflowing, and meaning they aren’t limited by meeting room bookings and other admin.

3) Think of everything

Every aspect of the service environment must be considered for a consistent, effective experience that leaves nothing to chance

Taking a holistic view of our new space’s design meant considering its surroundings, too.

What would users want from our local area? We decided we needed somewhere culturally rich – good restaurants, excellent bars, and plenty of interesting places to spend a spot of downtime. We think being in London Bridge will help to fire the imagination of our team, our clients and their participants. Free-thinking brainstorms can be tricky in a business park.

Be among the first to try our new labs – find out more here.