How Google’s Flexible Workspace Ignites Creative Collaboration (On Wheels)

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On our second trip inside the Google Garage–or what Program Manager Mamie Rheingold calls Google’s “hacker maker design space”–we discover the elements required for the ultimate collaborative environment.

Perhaps most important? Good times.

“The garage is kind of like my playground,” says Nadya Direkova, Design Evangelist. “When you come in you can see that you can write on the tables, you can write on the walls, and then you can reconfigure the tables to be in any position you want–everything is on wheels.”

Alex Cuthbert, who works on user experience design, feels that a sense of play–engineered to break down barriers and encourage creativity–is essential for good work.

“The main thing we teach here is how to have fun,” he says. “I’ve always described Google as a kind of mix between kindergarten and a classy law firm.”

“And in terms of productivity, I think . . . what really makes people work together better is having a sense of fun, noncompetitiveness, non-hierarchy.”SS