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.


Prof. Uli Weinberg

Studied fine arts and design at the Academies of Fine Arts in Munich and Berlin. 1980 to 1986 freelance work as TV graphics … > more

Dr. Claudia Nicolai

Dr. Claudia Nicolai studied Business Administration, Economics, and Social Sciences at the University of Hannover. She got … > more

Marie Klooker

Marie studied Arts and Cultural Theory in Maastricht, Madrid and Berlin, and Design Thinking in Potsdam. After her … > more

Dr. Martin Schwemmle

Martin Schwemmle studied business administration at the University of Mannheim; his majors were marketing, management, and … > more