Inspiration — Theory

In conjunction with the exhibition Food – Water – Life / Lucy + Jorge Orta, given October 22, 2014.

Inspired by Lucy + Jorge Orta’s 70 x 7 The Meal – a series of large-scale community meals focused on issues of local and sustainable food, health, and community cooperation – the Otis Community Banquet is a large lunch created by students from twelve classes and six departments, who are making everything from the tableware to the food. Lucy + Jorge Orta will in attendance as guests of honor as part of their week-long residency at Otis October 20-25, 2014.

The Otis Community Banquet, connected to the curriculum for the participating classes, is a live praxis of the concepts they’ve been working with in relation to the Orta’s exhibition.


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In the past, there’s been an air of hushed seriousness and opaqueness attached to the image of the conference room. But nowadays, with the disruptive mindset unique to startups, the rulebook on what a conference room “should be” has been tossed out the window. Many companies have realized all that a conference room truly needs is to have common space for collaboration, and how you achieve that is entirely up to you.

At Highfive we like to inspire and discuss the new way to work, which is why we created a list of five conference rooms we love.

While these five conference rooms are very different from each other, they do have a few common tendencies, such as a view, the use of surprising objects or materials, bright colors, a high degree of mobility, accommodating and welcoming to multiple work styles (group or individual, impromptu or planned, in-person or web conferencing), and a bent toward transparency (often literally), personality, playfulness, and unconventionality. See for yourself!

1. Asana

Asana goes for a light, airy, open, and simplistic feel, encapsulating their mission to simplify the enterprise. With a panoramic view of the San Francisco skyline, the abundance of windows means inspiration is never hard to come by. Toys standing by, such as a telescope and exercise ball are perfect for those who want to spend some quiet time playing and pondering.

2. Google

Google, whether it’s their flagship office in Mountain View or their office in Tokyo, pretty much always takes the cake in terms of creative workspaces. The elevation of this space makes it unusual, but gives it an air of privacy as well as providing two different kinds of views, inside and out. The surrounding astroturf is a very simple, surprising, and delightful way to change this space up, and gives it a natural, oasis-like feel.

3. Skype

In this example, Skype has no shortage of ways to hold a meeting (impromptu or not). A scattering of small tables makes it very easy to pull up a chair and join the conversation you’re walking by, while the circular couches might be more comfortable for planned-out meetings. The beanbag chairs and wooden bleacher-style seating in the background are another option which add a light, inclusive vibe.

4. Square

Square’s open, spacious, 3-sided workspaces means there is a high degree of transparency and makes it effortless for others to pop by or join in from the nearby workstations. The padded walls, ceilings, and seats help to reduce noise pollution and increase the comfort, and are ideal for both alone time and for groups.

5. Zynga

Zynga’s conference rooms look more like art classes than a place to meet with an unconventional route by having their employees sit on small wooden benches with no common table surface. Instead, each has a huge blank sketchpad resting on an easel in front of them, encouraging more uninhibitedness, creativity, and participation. The glass walls on 2 sides provide the sought-after transparency.

Volwassenen zijn begrensd in hun wilde ideeën. Dat blijkt uit een experiment waar een groep volwassenen in dertig seconden hun buurman moesten natekenen. Het resultaat, begon vaak met het woord ‘sorry’. Dat is net hetgeen dat ons begrensd.Hoe wilt, of lelijk je iemand getekend hebt maakt niet uit, maar het feit dat je jezelf schaamt over je tekening wel. Net dat ‘die zogezegde afgang’, begrenst ons.

Doe het zelfde experiment bij kinderen, en ze zijn trots op wat ze gedaan hebben. Ze laten het zien aan iedereen die het wil zien. Je zal bij kinderen ook geen ‘sorry’ horen.

Het is de angst bij volwassenen die hen begrenst zotte ideeën op tafel te gooien.

“Playfullness is important” — Het helpt ons beter werken, creatief te zijn en je voelt jezelf beter.

Creativity is just connecting things

In deze quote is niet ‘connecting’ maar ‘things’ het belangrijkste woord.

Het gegeven van een creatieve ruimte met moodboards, muren vol gepind met ideeën is ideaal voor zoiets.

Iemand komt binnen en zegt “Hé da’s interessant, en dat daar ook”. Bam, two things — connected — succes.

Geef mensen een beperkte periode om zaken te realiseren.

Dit veroorzaakt vaak vallen en opstaan. Het is net door dat vallen dat mensen sneller en beter beginnen werken.

Lang nadenken en treuzelen over één opdracht is geen goed idee. Korte opdrachten werken beter om creativiteit te stimuleren.