Work Space: Is Yours Out of This World?

Quick Post. I’m on my way to a creative writing course for a few days. I wanted to share these thoughts before I go.

I attended a Google DC Talk yesterday with Wired Editor-in-Chief Chris Anderson on his new book, “FREE, the Future of a Radical Price.” (Thanks Jesse Thomas of Jess3 for the invite!)

Google DC is located north of the White House, not far from the new DC Convention Center, only a short distance from NASA Headquarters. Though Google DC is close by, it felt light years away in culture.

The offices are open and colorful with fun, funky furniture. I felt at home right away.

Side note: You should see my house. My home office is painted lime green. Yes, I know. You’ve raised your eyebrows at that. But really. If you stepped inside, you’d feel hopeful, energetic, renewed. Color makes a HUGE difference — at least in my life.

So my quick thought before I head out the door.

I’ve wanted for years to RE-decorate some NASA “creative spaces” at Headquarters with fun, colorful, spacey decor since WAY back in the 90’s when our new Deputy-to-be Lori Garver was running Policy and Plans. At the time, I proposed we re-model our Concourse break room after the Motley Fool model — the first business I’d seen at the time decorated with LOADS of color, as well as ping pong and pinball machines for stress release and team building. I was told we couldn’t because we only lease the building. Bummer.

But I haven’t given up the idea. I’ve simply changed my focus.

We have deadzone hallways in the center of the building on every floor (already equipped with sink, refrigerator, soda machine) that could be creative spaces. All we need to add are funky chairs, PAINT, and a self-serve coffee bar.

A place where employees could chat over ideas, unwind, recharge, and build community.

I met this week with Loraine Bjorendahl, Events Coordinator at Origo, to discuss an upcoming project (really aMAZingly cool project that you’ll go CRAZY about) that we’re planning. She mentioned the Swedish tradition of “Fika,” or coffee break, which is a time where they break the day, gather together, and share thoughts. She describedĀ Fika as a time of relaxed reflection where the best ideas flow.

So, here’s what I’m thinking:

Create “Fika Space” at NASA, a space where we can gather together to “share ideas” in a caffeine-charged color-soaked funky-chair inspired environment.

What say you? Are you with me? Arm yourselves with paint brushes. CHARGE!!!

:-D

5 Comments

Filed under NASA, space

5 responses to “Work Space: Is Yours Out of This World?

  1. astra

    At Goddard, I’ve worked hard to make my own workspace friendly, comfortable, creative, and MINE. Our common areas are still, um, retro-tastic… and not particularly conducive to community-building, fun brainstorming sessions, etc. I would love to paint the town (well, building) red and make spaces where people congregate and make stuff happen. I would love to work in a space like Three Rings… but space-themed.

  2. Loraine

    Beth-

    I simply LOVE love love this idea! Recalling our conversation Monday I really think the spaces we work/live/create/converse make a tremendous difference in how we interact, think, and relate. Also, in my opinion it is MORE productive to take this kind of break from focused work to be able to see things peripherally, reenergize, and connect with your coworkers on a human level. In some Swedish companies everyone is encouraged to take fika break together at 10 and 3 in the day (15 minutes typically), in others people come and go when they feel like it. Perhaps we should have a fika to discuss the possibilities… ;-)

  3. Definitely a great idea Beth, and one that I definitely ascribe to (especially since I work mostly out of fika joints – i.e. cafes…).

    I say create the fika space in the dead of night and ask for forgiveness later – management might hate it, but your team will love you :)

  4. The next gen group at NASA Langley is thinking of building labs that are in the vein of what you talk about. Check out the white paper here: http://openlarc.com/2009/04/14/21st-century-white-paper-posted/

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