Microsoft has announced today that it has teamed up with office furniture manufacturer Steelcase to invent the workplace of the future. This new collaboration starts with the launch of five Creative Spaces, which are workspace environments that bring together Microsoft's Surface devices and Steelcase's leading workplace design to unlock the creativity of teams.
"Creative Spaces are designed to help people better harness their own creative potential, transfer their creativity into their work and improve how they collaborate with their teams," epxlained Ryan Gavin, General Manager, Surface Devices. "Creative Spaces unlock people’s imaginations and optimize their interactions with both their teammates and Surface devices, unleashing the full capabilities of Windows 10 and Office 365."
The five different Creative Spaces called Ideation Hub, Respite Room, Focus Studio, Makers Commons and Duo Studio will available exclusively through Steelcase, and they feature the latest Surface devices such as the Surface Studio all-in-one PC and the Surface Hub digital whiteboard. Steelcase will showcase Creative Spaces in 10 of its WorkLife Centers worldwide including, New York City, San Francisco, Chicago, Los Angeles, Munich and London. Here is what you can expect from Microsoft and Steelcase's take on the modern workplace:
- Ideation Hub: A high-tech workspace that encourages active participation and equal opportunity to contribute, as people co-create, refine, and share ideas with co-located or distributed teammates.
- Respite Room: Creative work requires many brain states, including the need to balance active group work with solitude and individual thinking time.
- Focus Studio: Individual creative work requires alone time to focus and get into a flow. It’s a place to let ideas incubate, or to work with a co-collaborator, before sharing them with the group.
- Makers Commons: Socializing ideas and rapid prototyping are essential parts of creativity. This space is designed to encourage quick switching between conversation, experimentation and concentration.
- Duo Studio: This space supports a trust relationship in which two people can co-create shoulder-to-shoulder, while also supporting individual work. It includes a lounge area to invite others in for a quick creative review.
Overall, mixing well-designed workplaces and Surface devices seems to be an interesting way to get Microsoft's hardware in the hands of more creative people. Additionally, Microsoft announced today that select Steelcase dealers in the United States and Canada have now become Surface Hubs resellers, with additionnal markets to come later this year.
Steelcase seems to be all-in on Microsoft's solutions, as the company will also introduce new workplace solutions built on Microsoft Azure IoT technology later this year. "These solutions will provide companies with analytics that improve workplaces and solutions to help employees find the best places to do diverse types of work within the office," added Gavin.
You can learn more about the different Creative Spaces on the dedicated website. Let us know in the comments if you think the right combination of technology and design can help employees become more creative.