Ideas are the lifeblood of business. Generating a continuous stream of ideas helps a company to innovate and gives it a competitive edge in a saturated market. And while some ideas will fail and others will be scrapped before they are even taken into development, they all need a starting point: a space that promotes creative thinking.
You might picture creative spaces as one furnished with sofas and cushions, but this is something of a cliche. It’s much to better to focus on furniture that is both flexible and lightweight so it’s easy to move around to maximise space, than that which looks
According to one of Google Ventures’ designer partners Jake Knapp, a dedicated space with walls can help to achieve better work. It can improve a team’s brain power, provide a canvas for smart collaboration, and also act as a sort of memory bank where ideas can be stored and returned to at a later date.
His tip is to fit as many whiteboards into a space as you can, whether they’re mounted on the wall or ceiling. He even recommends scribbling on walls if need be.
"The key is a minimalist environment, keeping the creative war space airy and clean and bright, with white walls and nothing fancy, says Adam Barker, CEO and co-founder of MagnaPass, a fitness tech start-up that helps people to access independently-run fitness classes.
"For us keeping things simple allows us to have simplicity of the mind. This means our innovation and creative thought-pattern has a simple outcome," he adds. "Everything relates back to our product – our users want something that is simple to use. The more distractions for the team, the harder it is to create this simplicity and develop a product the way we intend it to be used.
For Haddy Folivi, founder of Clarity Media, a space that inspires is one that maximises natural light – most of her brainstorming sessions with clients take place over Skype.
Folivi says that with modern day working, entrepreneurs are often not tied to a location or a desk. This can be both a good and bad thing. On one hand, all you need is a stable WiFi connection. On the other, it’s much easier to be disturbed by background noise and other elements you can’t control.
The colour of a space can have an influence over productivity, as psychology research shows that people can find it difficult to block out the colour noise of their surroundings. According to a study published by the University of British Columbia, red walls can help promote attention to detail, while blue ones can spark creativity and brainstorming.
Barker isn’t entirely convinced. "Like funky furniture, colourful walls may work well in a design agency - where aesthetics matter - but as a tech startup we don’t want anything getting in the way of the mission," he says.
Every business will find a different approach works for them, but for Barker and his team creating a minimalist environment has had a positive impact on business. They’ve seen a 12 per cent month-on-month increase in user growth and quick turnarounds in product development.