I’ve been involved in some recent meetings at work that reminded me of a time at AOL when we were encouraged to ‘innovate’. Those were some good times. We had great employees, leaders and we still had a great spirit in the office. We were each given $50 to decorate our cubicles, and each team were given space on the floor to go to town on. Our conference rooms became stately libraries, or had posters of stars who had worked with AOL, and there was color everywhere! Everyone seemed really inspired during this time.
I really went all out on my cubicle and brought in mats, posters and a hamper FULL of toys – like hats, bats, balls, colored paper and pens. I used these items in meetings that I was involved in to inspire us to think differently. To be more innovative. Think outside the box. It worked. Many new ideas were created during that time. Good ones.
We also started an Innovation Forum where we brought in speakers from around the company to share the latest on Web 2.0, Marketing, Tech etc. over a brown bag lunch. Good times. And then began the layoffs and our ‘innovation’ waned…
I was really excited to start working at my new company. But I was concerned with the sterile office space I’d be inhabiting. I know how I work best and when I’m most productive. I now that some of my best work comes when I’m comfortable, and feeling inspired. The new space? White walls and beige cubicles. No color in site. The view is phenomenal, but is hidden from view for most of the employees by cubicle or office walls.
Me? I have an office – so I’m grateful. But it is an interior office, with white walls and big old dark wood traditional office furniture. I can put things on the wall (with permission). I brought in a number of items I felt might help my team, and might create an innovative and creative environment. Coming up in part 2, I’ll share some of these ideas. In the meantime, check out what one of my favorite companies does. Hail MailChimp!