Unpacking creative spaces: creative corners

By The App Business under Agile 31 March 2016

"Make an empty space in any corner of your mind, and creativity will instantly fill it." - Dee Hock

It’s easy to think that we don’t have enough space to be creative, especially in an office environment, but hopefully last week’s post on ‘working walls’ has provided some tips and ideas on how office space can be used in different forms.

Creative corners - a closer look

In this blog post, we’re going to take a closer look at another aspect of how you can use office space in an effective way: Creative Corners.

It’s easy to neglect the hidden gems buried in corners. Whether you’re in a startup studio, or a larger, more established office, corners are a great use of space for meetings, creative thinking, or even just a simple conversation.

So why build creative corners?

They can be a change of scenery for thinking. We spend our day-to-day working life fixated on our computer screens, sitting in the same seat and looking at the same four walls, practically on autopilot. A change of surroundings is crucial, and can disrupt our thoughts and give us a fresh new take on a complex problem.

They’re a friendly alternative to meeting rooms. Not all meetings need to be formal and held in a meeting room. The great thing about corner spaces is that they can make conversations feel more relaxed and open when there’s a need for a more light-hearted conversations or team bonding.

They help reduce external distractions. Think about the number of emails, instant messages, or questions you receive throughout the day. Corner spaces can be a great place to have a bit of a ‘time out’ to focus your team or to be individually creative.

They can be useful learning hubs. Much like working walls, creative corners can also be used as a resource hub for learning. You can build your own library, stacked with lots of reading material or games. Creative spaces like these encourage open, shared learning.

So to get you started with a few examples below, see how you can get the most out of hidden workspaces in the office, no matter how small they may be.

1. Breakout Points

Breakout points (see below) can be a great source of inspiration, whether you stack a shelf with books, or display past achievements. Remind people what makes your working environment so great, and help inspire the evolution of ideas, products, and people.

2. Huddle Hubs

One of the best uses of corner space can be for huddles (see below). Small workspaces can be a great breakout point for teams to quickly draw out options for activities such as release scheduling and design sessions, as well as quiet space to crack a piece of complex code.

3. Open Space

Open space (see below) is a great way to build an area for a team, in particular when we talk about Communities of Practice. You might have past retrospective actions on the walls, or a ‘Marketplace’ of ideas to discuss at your next team meeting. Create an area to help drive collaboration and conversation away from the daily routine.

4. Organic Shelves

A simple shelf can be a great area of space to help build up an information hub and encourage shared learning. Don’t keep books locked away in a cupboard or a desk drawer, make them visible and keep the list evolving! People are always looking for new inspiration (see below).

A quick tip...

Each workspace (and its occupants) is different, so try to keep an eye out for something that would work in your office. It might be useful to take a walk around your space and think about those hidden gems and how they can be used effectively for your teams.


If you have any questions regarding Agile space and creative corners, tweet us @theappbusiness, and tune in next week when we take a look at flexible work spaces through Desk Diversity.