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everything speaks

A few weeks ago we got the keys to our new Creative Space in Amsterdam West. This new space will facilitate us in our journey towards awesomeness, because environment plays an important role in shaping your ideas. That’s why at GroupMapping we often say “everything speaks”, meaning the environment has a significant impact on the way we as a human being behave.


This notion is also supported by the domain of Choice Architecture within Behavioral Economics. It states that the layout of a building, or the framing of choices affects the way we make our decisions (Thaler and Sunstein 2008).  This in turn, suggests that the way you organize or design a space or environment for a meeting, offsite, or new creative space impacts decisions made during the time you inhabit that space! Interesting!


So how can you design for a productive and healthy environment? What factors do you have to consider?


A useful model to design around (and what we did for our new ‘home’) is called “the Seven Domains of Collaborative Design”. It is a recursive model, created by MG Taylor, in which all seven domains can be considered in relation to one another. One thing you’ll see is that the physical environment is only one of the seven domains, meaning there is a lot more to discover when designing for a true creative space!


  • Body of Knowledge: all the information that the new space/system requires to remain competitive and innovative (think your knowledge base). 
  • Process Facilitation: The culture and methods used within the new space/system to ensure barriers and obstacles are removed efficiently (think how you interact with each other, phone calls, ..). 
  • Education: How the new space/system learns and enables the people within the space to learn. 
  • Environment: The physical and emotional domain. The environment creates the space but is also created by it.. (think set up, a reflection of your organizations culture..). 
  • Technical Systems: The systems in place to amplify, support, or create the other six domains (think your laptops, IT, …). 
  • Project Management: The philosophy and culture of how to efficiently allocate resources and energy flow within the space or system (think how to keep each other energized and focused). 
  • Venture Management: The philosophy and culture of how the space/system enables the discovery of opportunities for growth and transformation (think what the space/system enables the organization to evolve towards). 


Some of the domains are more straightforward than others, but each domain proves its use. I used system and space interchangeably because I believe that if you use your creative space or hub, or office as a system that shapes you as much as you shape your space, more thought will be put in the design, leading you to be a better choice architect, and leading to more sustainable and focused collaboration.


Maybe this makes sense to you, maybe it does so only partially. I’d like to say that a model is only as strong as what it enables you to do, and the seven domains enabled us to design a creative space. A new home from which we venture towards the future and all the challenges and opportunities it’ll hold.  Exciting!