Innovation at Work – How Space Interventions Change the Behavior of Individuals, Teams, and Organizations

PI: Dr. Claudia Nicolai, Prof. Ulrich Weinberg


Given the high relevance of innovation work places for companies against the background of digitalization, this research project continues our previous work and focuses on the last stage of the conceptualization and creation process of a space, its usage. With this focus on the role of the user of a space, we take a user-centric perspective in line with our conceptual background of Lefebvre’s interactionist understanding of space and seek to answer the question of which behaviors support the usage of existing innovation work spaces to better leverage the space to impact individuals, teams, and organizations. We approach this overall question along two-research questions. First, we want to understand how the usage behavior of spaces in education and companies can be changed through space interventions. Based on a collaboration with researchers from Stanford University, we first analyze current behavior during Design Thinking activities in an educational setting to then design and test space interventions along experiments. We then want to test these interventions in a real-word corporate setting. Second, we seek to conduct qualitative interviews with companies having established an innovation space to derive success factors for its usage and to help users understand the purpose and assigned functions of a space with the aim to enable them to hack the space accordingly. In essence, we shed light into the phase of bringing an existing space to live through changing users’ and organizations’ behaviors and conclude novel insights for practitioners, educators, and researchers.