Welcome to the era of hyper-collaboration, where companies are looking to move faster and be more innovative, which requires the diverse thinking and creativity found only in teams. Today’s most successful teams are close-knit units, constantly exchanging ideas and information to tackle complex problems. They work in rapid cycles, many inspired by design thinking methods.
Design thinking is a physically and cognitively active methodology for creative problem solving. Teams are leading workshops, brainstorming, filling walls and whiteboards with content and coming together to share their ideas. They sit together so they can stay connected and work faster. They also need moments of retreat from the group to focus, absorb information and process their own ideas. People stand, sit, draw, gesture, move materials and objects. The work is dynamic and fast-paced.
“Teams need flexibility to change their day-to-day activities. Particularly, teams using design thinking practices need to be able to change how they work over time. So, we thought about this through a new lens,” says Bill Bennie, design director. By studying the diverse behaviours of different teams, Steelcase designers created the Steelcase Flex Collection, an interconnected system of movable desks, tables, whiteboards and other pieces that can create dynamic team neighbourhoods that allow teams and individuals to adapt spaces on demand.
“This is such a different way of planning a space. Normally, you plan it, install it and it stays that way. But with Steelcase Flex, you’re planning for movement. So, we give people the pieces and show them how we’d set them up, but there’s no wrong way to configure it,” says Jamie Pell, applications designer, Steelcase.
With that in mind, here’s an example of a week in the life of a creative team with Steelcase Flex.
“Creative teams tend to work more on laptops and they also use a lot of physical objects to support their work. They print documents, clip swatches and materials, so they need a lot of pinnable space,” says Pell.
A mix of analog and digital displays make it easy for a team to pin and present work to their creative director. The Steelcase Flex Board Cart carries the Steelcase Flex lightweight markerboards anywhere and the wall rail and stand support multiple visual displays. Plus, the Microsoft Surface Hub 2S and Steelcase Roam mobile stand make digital content more accessible and easy to interact with.
Team members can sit or stand comfortably around slim Steelcase Flex Tables, making room for everyone’s laptops and morning coffee.
Acoustic boundaries and markerboards create the ideal space for ideas to flow freely during a creative brainstorm. The standing-height slim tables keep all participants actively engaged in the conversation.
“With design thinking, you’ll see a lot of smaller breakouts for brainstorming and idea sharing. The Steelcase Flex Acoustic Boundary and pinnable freestanding screens let you divide a studio space into little vignettes within a larger studio space,” says Anne Sprague, applications designer, Steelcase.
Integrated clips hold can hold markerboards and freestanding screens, allowing content to be displayed vertically or horizontally. Plus, Steelcase Flex Baskets and Cups hold dry erase markers, sticky notes and paper clips, and can hang conveniently on tables and board carts.
It’s easy to bring the team together for a design workshop by pushing four standing-height Steelcase Flex Tables together.
“The work tables can be utilized and reconfigured in so many ways. That’s especially important for creative teams where there’s a lot of back and forth between collaborative brainstorming and idea sharing. The directional rollers make it really easy to move, but you still have the stability that traditional casters don’t allow for without locking them in place,” says Sprague.
Surrounded by lightweight markerboards, the team can easily access all of their information and ideas. Plus, the Steelcase Flex Power Hanger makes it easy to stay plugged in while moving around the office. It’s weighted and can hang on a table or stand, neatly storing cords so you’re not constantly tripping over them or diving under a desk to untangle them.
For moments of personal focus, the Steelcase Flex Free-Standing Screens with magnetic edges let team members create boundaries in a multitude of configurations.
“The magnetic, tackable screens have so many uses. You can connect them to divide the tables into little focus coves. Then, when it’s time to collaborate again, just pull them apart and they can be used to hold group pinned content,” says Pell.
Steelcase Flex standing-height tables provide multiple posture options, whether you want to stand or sit. An integrated footrest provides intuitive comfort and pegs offer space for personal storage. One-cord-out integrated power hosts up to seven plugs while still being able to move your desk easily.
Want to explore more ways to work with the Steelcase Flex Collection? Take a look at how an
agile team gets the control it needs to adapt their space fast.
Informed by research and inspired by high-performing teams, Steelcase designers have created a new furniture range called Flex—a collection that creates dynamic team neighbourhoods that can be adapted on demand by teams and individuals.