Earlier this month, I spent a day in Palo Alto at two places, both of which have a heightened ability to provoke thoughts. I’ll save the second place for the next post.
The first, Playground Global, is a venture capital, early-stage incubator of intriguing business ideas, but what caught my eye was that everything in its physical space caught my eye.
“Everything here is designed,” explained Jeff, our tour guide and the Director of Employee Experiences. That is, everything seemed to have a purpose beyond the mundane, from the unusual arrangement of lights in the ceiling, to which brands of premium coffee would be where, to the space between the counter and the island in the microkitchens, to the height of the back of the seats in gathering spaces. The list could go on and on.
I’ll add some images below that Jeff gave me permission to use.
The basic idea is easy enough to grasp. If you have a very cool idea for a business, but you’ll be competing with gajillion-dollar companies for talent to get it going, could your space be mesmerizing such that someone you want to hire would choose your startup over working at Google?
One of the students in our group, reflecting on the visit said, “I want to work there the rest of my life.”
There’s a win for design.
Which brings us to our schools. Does the space where you and your students learn and teach inspire you and them? Or does it look like a slightly more colorful prison? (Let’s recognize that there are companies that specialize in techniques that go into building both prisons and schools).
Can you add something to your school space that generates discussions, isn’t an obvious choice for a school, and prompts thoughts from students who don’t speak up much?
Have you tried?
images used with permission