IDR Sustainable Workplace

Psychologically, commercially and environmentally viable organizations

A Template for a Genuinely Smart Office

A German sustainability expert wrote the following:


The following citation got my attention:

“Co-author Dr Craig Knight, of Psychology at the University of Exeter, said: “Psychologically manipulating real workplaces and real jobs adds new depth to our understanding of what is right and what is wrong with existing workspace design and management.  We are now developing a template for a genuinely smart office.


I was wondering on your progress and result on a “genuinely smart office” and would be very happy indeed to get an insight.


I hope the following will helpl:


Dear G,


Thank you for your email and for your interest.  We are now exploring three fronts with some rather exciting results.  These are the psychology of design, creativity and effective intelligence in the workspace.  All these variables either influence or are influenced by identity. 


Effective design

It seems that we can re-site design along the organizational paradigm.  To date the evidence is unswerving in indicating that enriching a workspace makes people happier and more productive.  However, so far we have found no significant value in expensive design.  We have consistently been able to surpass the productivity levels of high-end designed spaces using much simpler and cheaper methods.  This has always seemed odd and now we think we know why. 


It seems that design’s flaw lies in the ‘design led’ concept.  Scientific research has found no discernible benefit at all in designers leading the development of space.  Design has much greater effect elsewhere in the development of a workplace. A psychological reapplication of design puts the designers’ skills at the heart of a space where they reap a tangible, significant return on organizational investment.  These data may challenge some designers' egos a little, but they also suggest that instead of design wrongly assuming itself to be crucial to maximizing success it may now genuinely adopt that role.


Intelligence and creativity

At least as important, our latest evidence is suggesting that it is possible to increase (a) levels of creativity and (b) effective intelligence at work.  Thus, for example it is now possible for you or me to be cleverer in Space B than we had been in Space A, as well as being more creative.  This work is consequent upon our 2010 paper exploring well-being and productivity at work, which is attached here for your interest.


I hope this is useful to you and that our paths cross soon.  As you see there should be exciting times ahead.  Good luck in your work.


Bye for now,



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