Cognitive scientists say our short term memories can only hold on to between five and nine things, max, at any one time. Which means, if you have a brilliant insight on, say, how to solve your company’s supply chain problems and your brain is already at capacity, that idea could be bounced by a fleeting thought, like “Wonder what I should have for lunch?”
Won’t likely happen at the new Stanford d.school. The entire space is designed for idea capture, with whiteboard walls, Post-it Notes proliferating like confetti, big 3-M pads of paper, and markers and crayons readily at hand.
In the most radical, Zen-like space in the place, a small room, furnished only with a big white ottoman, is literally painted in whiteboard paint. If your ideas outgrow the walls, brainstorm on down to the floor.
“This white room is one of our most-used spaces,” says d.school executive director George Kembel (above). “Your ideas are the color that fill the room.”