Our workspace does a lot more than equip us with four walls and a desk to get stuff done. It influences our behavior, impacts the way we interact with one another, and displays the culture of an organization to visitors.
By purposefully designing our workspace, we can make sure that it is in line with the specific needs and identity of our team or organization.
The design of the workspace is however not a one man’s task. Is not even a one team’s task. It requires strong alignment across departments in an organization, and a common understanding of needs and limitations. To clearly explain to different parties how we want to work, we need to make our requirements tangible.
So, how do we start designing a work environment that reflects our values and fosters our creative potential? And, how do we make our ideas understandable to those who might later implement the new workspace?
Based on its own experience in the design of a collaborative and flexible workspace, the SAP AppHaus team has come up with , a method that empowers teams to prototype their own work environment.
MOSAIC is based on the idea that team behavior can influence the design of the physical space, which in turn, changes the way people behave. Hence, the method does not start with spatial requirements or physical dimensions. Instead, it begins by helping members of a team understand how they want to work together.
The collaborative method consists of three phases.
Phase 1: It all starts with the people and what they do
From a colorful set of MOSAIC cards, the members of a team select activities for their new or future workspace. Not all activities are directly related to work. For example, activities like “prepare food” or “celebrate special occasions” are also included in the set. Even when they might not be linked to a project, these activities are part of a team’s work life and should be supported by the space if chosen.
There are six different types of activities, identifiable by color: Individual Work, Presentation, Recreation, Socializing, Collaborative Work and Making. The participants need to select 18 activities in total, at least 1 of each type.
Every time a card gets selected, the person in turn has to explain the rest of the team why the chosen activity is required. This exercise triggers fruitful discussions that reveal the values and mindset of the different team members in relation to work.
Phase 2: The versatile nature of space
In the second phase, the participants choose the rooms or areas for the selected activities. The back of each MOSAIC card includes a selection of possible areas, such as “workshop room”, “project room” or “sofa corner”.
Space selection: an area is selected for each activity
After selection, the cards are clustered by area names. Clusters consisting of multiple colors indicate high versatility, whereas clusters consisting of one color focus on only one type of activity.
The different colors in the area clusters show their versatility
For example, a “workshop room” cluster containing more than two colors means that the team expects to use it for different purposes. That area or room will need to be designed with this flexibility in mind.
Phase 3: A new space layout
As next step, the participants create a map of the future workspace by rearranging the cards. Decisions about the distribution of the space are made based on the characteristics of the activities on the cards and aided by probing questions from the moderators.
Space building: create a map of your future space
For instance, if the team has a “workshop room” cluster with many cards, the participants might decide between having a large workshop room, or several smaller ones, scattered across the space.
Another aspect to consider when creating the space layout is the expected noise level of the areas, which is identified by the color scheme of the cards. Cold colors like blue, turquoise, and green, typically identify silent areas. Warmer colors like yellow, orange, and pink show areas where louder activities will take place. However, the mapping of noise level to colors can be also modified by the team based on their previous activity selection.
The result of MOSAIC is not only a map of the future creative space, but also a shared understanding of the team’s ideal way of working.
MOSAIC in practice
MOSAIC has already been used globally. The SAP AppHaus has been approached by organizations from industries, such as education, public sector, software, energy, and real estate for advice on space design.
Dial GmbH is a software company in Lüdenscheid, Germany that focuses on lightning and automation of buildings. About two years ago, all 70+ employees of the company moved to a brand-new building.
Even though the building was already designed, MOSAIC helped the team to explore different distributions of the space, based on the way in which they wanted to work. The method made it easier for the participants to translate their opinions into tangible outcomes and identify quick wins.
“MOSAIC is a really good tool, that helped to transform the needs of the colleagues to a solution.”
Jürgen Spitz — Business Unit Director , Lightning and Smart Building
Another example is a co-innovation workshop held with the Saudi-Arabian national gas company, GASCO.
MOSAIC in use at GASCO, in Saudi-Arabia
While GASCO had originally intended to design only one room for a newly formed project team, it ended up redesigning all four floors of the company headquarters in Riyadh, signaling a major transformational vision.
The non-profit organization, SOS MEDITERRANEE, is an example where MOSAIC was used to design a new workspace for a small team. To coordinate operations and support their way of working, the team was looking for guidance on how to better organize themselves.
MOSAIC helped them to utilize furniture to make divisions, to create spaces for interaction, and to keep the working space as efficient and welcoming as possible.
Try out MOSAIC
We believe that our workspace is the embodiment of our values and behaviors. Now, you can start setting up a creative work environment in your organization with MOSAIC.
Download the free DIY version to try out this method and experience the full version with our Creative Spaces Service:
About the SAP Design AppHaus
The SAP Design AppHaus team collaborates with customers by focusing first on users and their experiences. We guide customers and SAP to apply design methodologies in daily business and establish a collaborative spirit while optimizing the usage of SAP solutions for the end user.
Our approach is grounded in fostering creativity in three key pillars: people, process, and place. We help organizations drive innovative cultures by designing and establishing processes that remove obstacles to creativity. We also support our customers through the creation of innovative spaces, which enable people to do their best work. This focus has led to the successful design and implementation of 700 customer projects across a variety of industries.
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