This presentation is a consolidation/distillation of a number of presentations I’ve done in the last year on actually implementing some of the concepts discussed in the 2014 Presentation .



Notes Slides Additional Reading
This presentation is a product of a number of intertwingled processes that I have been involved in. First, there are the efforts I’ve made to understand innovation, what stimulates it, and how to facilitate it. Second, there is the work I’ve been doing since 2010 with the New Media Consortium on the Horizon Report. Lastly, I’ve been thinking and reading a lot about the sources of creativity and how to develop organizations that facilitate creativity as I think this will be a central trait going into the new economics of the near future.  150707ideaspaceschange.001 The New Media Consortium, Horizon Report 2015 Higher Education Edition
The coming economic future spelled out by Brynolfsson and McAfee, among others, is driving the need for the creation of IdeaSpaces. As machines take over the mundane functions of our existence we are faced with two choices. We can either use them to augment our existence and liberate us for creative work or we can become irrelevant. Companies need to shape their employees to prepare them for the former outcome. Education needs to both reshape itself around the new reality as well as prepare it’s employees and students for an environment of constant change where those who can adapt and innovate will have critical advantages.  150707ideaspaceschange.002 Brynjolfsson, Erik, & McAfee, Andrew; Race Against the Machine (Digital Frontier Press, 2011)

Brynolfsson, Erik & McAfee, Andrew; The Second Machine Age (W.W. Norton, 2014)

Moore’s Law on Wikipedia

The Rice and Chessboard Story on Wikipedia

Salmon, Felix, “Star Trek’s Utopia is Already Here” Fusion.net

Innovation is a fundamentally human process. It has less to do with technology than how we adapt ourselves to the technology and adapt the technology to augment human needs.  150707ideaspaceschange.003 Kelley, Tom; The Art of Innovation (Currency, 2001)
 As I have gone further into developing the IdeaSpaces concept, I have come to realize that the three elements (Space, Time, Structure) get progressively more difficult to achieve. Good design is the key to making the space work. That’s a tricky thing and one that I’ve explored extensively in my 99% Invisible series on the NMC 150707ideaspaceschange.004 99% Invisible: Technology, Design, and Communication

99% Invisible Part II: The Essence of Good Design

99% Invisible Part III: The Goldilocks Zone

99% Invisible Part IV: A Holistic Approach to Learning Space Design

We have been implementing IdeaSpaces at HCC for several years without realizing how they fit into the structure but they do. Spaces are the easiest to implement and we’ve done that in a number of ways, from experimenting with Learning Space design to the One-Button Studio. We’ve also developed programs designed to create self-reflection such as the Adjunct Academy and the New Media Seminar. We’ve been less successful with Structure as opportunities to redesign the system in any sort of systematic fashion have not presented themselves.  150707ideaspaceschange.005 The New Media Seminar resources page.
 One of the problems we’ve had in maximizing our structural capacity for innovation has been one of scale. One of the limiting factors there is a facility that gives us optimized space for programs that create reflection time for employees, students, and the community. The Alief Campus and West Houston Institute spaces are specifically designed with those goals in mind.  150707ideaspaceschange.006
In order to realize these goals, we broke down the design challenges into four areas. All areas are designed with one or more of these principles in mind. These design principles facilitate the achievement of the IdeaSpaces goals.  150707ideaspaceschange.007
The new world is a world of experience. In the industrial age a lot of time was spent explaining things to people. This was often a very inefficient method of sharing, much less creating, knowledge. It’s goal was to produce a large number of workers with a minimum necessary amount of knowledge. Today, there is too much knowledge in any given field for one person to assimilate; it is changing far too rapidly; and we have computers and the network for knowledge retrieval. Therefore, it makes less sense to spend most of your time having stuff explained to you that will be rapidly out of date. It is far better to develop skill sets that allow you rapidly incorporate new concepts and learn how to grow them. That is why many, if not all, of our Spaces have a strong experiential component to them. If you learn how to make things, do science, and operate in professional environments, you will be much better equipped for success. 150707ideaspaceschange.008
A central area for the implementation of this concept is our MakerSpace. Before building this space, the core design team toured MakerSpaces across the country. There are many excellent examples popping up across the country. What makes ours different is the scope of its planned activities. We have planned for programmatic support of our engineering, fine arts, filmmaking, and STEM programs but we also want to open its doors to our established entrepreneurial programs as well as the community. The community will be able buy a membership to this space so its members can experiment on their own innovations or just follow a passion. There is no set agenda about where this will lead. We also want all of these groups to come together unexpectedly as our students, faculty, and staff mix with the community and business in a myriad of unexpected ways.  150707ideaspaceschange.009  “We Are Makers” Abilene Christian University
Another key facet of this facility that starts to bridge the gap between Space and Time is the aspect of collaboration. One of the things that our research in this area indicated is that a wide variety of collaboration areas were required but the key is that you have be able to move seamlessly from one kind of area to another. Sometimes a large space is the most appropriate for collaborative activities, sometimes you need a medium-sized space, sometimes you need to work alone. We have all of these in a continuum from the library space at one end of the building, which has individual study/work areas, to the large conference space at the other end, which can host anything from Makerfaires to workshops. 150707ideaspaceschange.010 Brand, Stewart, How Buildings Learn (New York: Penguin, 1995).
Just having Spaces that allow for collaboration doesn’t guarantee that it will happen. Humans are naturally clannish and pattern-driven. Therefore, if left alone, most people will stick within their familiar confines and disciplines. Part of the complement to the collaborative spaces are programs, such as the Teaching Innovation Lab, that complement collaborative spaces. The Teaching Innovation Lab is a interdisciplinary cohort-based entrepreneurial initiative designed to allow teachers to reinvent teaching from the ground up. Along the way we will test Spaces to see how they facilitate different kinds of teaching strategies, collaborate across disciplines with Time given for reflection, and develop a Structure of sharing (conferences, workshops, social web platforms) to scale the innovations from this program out across a wide audience both inside and outside HCC. This is just one of the programs designed to leverage the collaborative nature of the spaces we are designed at the West Houston Institute and the Alief Campus.  150707ideaspaceschange.011  Ries, Eric, The Lean Startup (New York, Penguin, 2011)
 In addition to the informal collaboration areas, we have two spaces designed specially for facilitated collaboration and events. The Collaboratorium is a concept we’ve borrowed from Valencia College. It is a facilitated brainstorming area with a range of spaces designed to accommodate groups up to 35. It is designed to break down problems and then reassemble new perspectives on solutions to them. This space will be used by a wide variety of groups including the Teaching Innovation Lab cohorts, college administration, and the local community. Additionally, we will have a conference space designed to create opportunities to share innovation with the outside world. Possible uses include an annual conference on Teaching and Learning put on by the Teaching Innovation Lab, MakerFaires put on through our MakerSpace, and Entrepreneurial events put on through the Center for Entrepreneurship. These spaces will also be available for the community to book in their groups and events.  150707ideaspaceschange.012
Another key feature of our design was that our spaces needed to support entrepreneurial activities in the broadest sense of the word. Entrepreneurism is as much a mindset as it is a business process. Done correctly, it borrows directly from the Scientific Method so there is a lot of overlap with our STEM focus. Technology has allowed us to test out ideas, whether they be business, teaching, or organizational ideas, for far less cost than was the case even a few years ago. Experimentation should be the norm in the entrepreneurial process.  There are many spaces in the buildings that are designed with the concept at their core. We want our filmmakers to be entrepreneurs. We want our engineers to be entrepreneurs. We want our faculty to be entrepreneurs in the classroom. We want to support entrepreneurism wherever we find it.  150707ideaspaceschange.013
A central hub for entrepreneurism is our revamped Center for Entrepreneurship, which will also house our Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program. We have been nurturing entrepreneurs in the West Houston community for years now. This facility will be used to continue that and expand its efforts to support all of our programs at this campus.  150707ideaspaceschange.014
 The sister to collaboration is diversity. If you’re only ever collaborating with people from your own field, the results will be far more predictable and less innovative than if unpredictable intersections happen between people of different fields. The iPhone is a product of design, engineering, marketing, and logistics. We are deliberately designing spaces where a lot of different people come together. We want our students mixing with students from other disciplines; artists with engineers, filmmakers with entrepreneurs, scientists with english majors, etc. We also want them interacting with the community, whether it be entrepreneurs, artisans, or established businesses. All benefit from these collisions.  150707ideaspaceschange.015 Johansson, Frans; The Medici Effect (Cambridge: Harvard Business School Press, 2004). 
Common areas are where intersections happen. Students have to pass through them to get from their various destinations. Well-designed common areas also keep students on campus longer. If no one is in a space, intersections are impossible. The common areas in the main Alief building have lots of areas with soft seating and ample whiteboard space. While we were not able to fully implement our vision like in the Institute building, they are still maximizing the utility of the space by employing ample whiteboard space and lots of places to congregate and discussion.  150707ideaspaceschange.016
The Institute was deliberately designed to minimize hallway space. The central features of the building (MakerSpace, STEM labs, Collaboratorium, and Conference) are all connected by an innovative Learning Commons design. Technology resources will litter this space including an Open Computer lab installed in the hallway, collaboration desks with large screen monitors, and an interactive video wall. At one end we have the library/digital media commons, which will offer activities to complement those of the remainder of the campus.  150707ideaspaceschange.017
 This is the floorplan of the 3rd floor of the main building, which shows the ample common areas, the proximity of the Center for Entrepreneurship, Film, and Art Programs, as well as the Active Learning Classrooms, which are part of the Teaching Innovation Lab, which will operate out of both buildings.  150707ideaspaceschange.019
This is the first floor of the West Houston Institute which shows the locations of all of the key components discussed.  150707ideaspaceschange.020
 Feel free to contact me with any questions and stay tuned here for further updates as we grow the concept and bring these spaces online.  150707ideaspaceschange.021
Finally, iteration is the key to all innovation. Especially in today’s complex world we almost never get things right out of the box. Actually, they never did. Therefore, we need to be able to fail, learn from that failure and iterate our way toward solutions. This is a mental and organizational shift away from what most people are used to. We have to create Spaces, Time, and Structures to support iteration or we will always struggle with innovation. Constant change demands constant innovation.  150707ideaspaceschange.018 Johnson, Steven, Where Good Ideas Come From (New York: Penguin, 2010).