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Building on the assumption that the physical environment can have an influence on the creativity of designers and design students in particular, the aim of this paper is to provide theoretical propositions and evidences for this relationship. We develop various propositions about the influence of physical environments on creativity, based on eight expert interviews and supported by literature. A particular focus was given to the environments of design educational institutions. We present a summary of the main insights and visualize the developed propositions as a causal graph addressing how space influences creativity. These propositions can be regarded as a first step towards a theory of creativity-supporting learning environments and they can serve as a reference when designing or adjusting creative learning spaces.
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Inspiration*Space:*Towards*a*theory*of*
creativity-supporting*learning*environments*
THORING!Katjaa,b;!GONÇALVES!Milenea!;!MUELLER!Roland!M.c;!BADKE-SCHAUB!Petraa!and!
DESMET!Pietera!!
a!Delft!University!of!Technology,!NL!
b!Anhalt!University!of!Applied!Sciences,!D!
c!Berlin!School!of!Economics!and!Law,!D!
Corresponding!author!e-mail:!katja@thoring.com!
doi:!10.21606/dma.2017.19!
Building!on!the!assumption!that!the!physical!environment!can!have!an!
influence!on!the!creativity!of!designers!and!design!students!in!particular,!the!
aim!of!this!paper!is!to!provide!theoretical!propositions!and!evidences!for!
this!relationship.!We!develop!various!propositions!about!the!influence!of!
physical!environments!on!creativity,!based!on!eight!expert!interviews!and!
supported!by!literature.!A!particular!focus!was!given!to!the!environments!of!
design!educational!institutions.!We!present!a!summary!of!the!main!insights!
and!visualize!the!developed!propositions!as!a!causal!graph!addressing!how!
space!influences!creativity.!These!propositions!can!be!regarded!as!a!first!
step!towards!a!theory!of!creativity-supporting!learning!environments!and!
they!can!serve!as!a!reference!when!designing!or!adjusting!creative!learning!
spaces.!
keywords:*workspaces*for*design,*creativity,*design*education,*creative*learning*space**
Introduction**
Background**
Educating!future!designers!is!more!than!just!designing!curricula,!lecturing!students,!and!
assigning!project!work:!one!of!the!probably!least!considered!aspects!in!design!education!
is!the!physical!environment,!although!it!can!be!argued!that!it!potentially!has!an!impact!on!
students’!creativity,!wellbeing,!and!learning!performance.!The!questions!whether!a!space!
can!facilitate!the!learning!process,!enhance!the!wellbeing!of!students!and!teachers,!and!
!
most!notably!foster!creativity!and!innovation!have!remained!under-researched.!
Simultaneously,!an!increased!interest!in!creative!learning!environments!is!emerging!in!the!
area!of!elementary!schools!and!kindergartens!(e.g.!Boys,!2010;!Dudek,!2000;!Ehmann,!
Borges,!&!Klanten,!2012;!Kaup,!Kim,!&!Dudek,!2013).!However,!not!many!studies!have!
been!conducted!on!the!realm!of!adult!design!educational!environments!(design!schools!
and!universities).!Therefore,!this!paper!aims!to!derive!a!theoretical!foundation!on!
‘creative!learning!spaces’,!based!on!a!systematic!empirical!and!theoretical!investigation!of!
the!topic.!
Related*Literature*
There!is!a!long!history!of!research!that!investigates!the!effects!of!space!on!work!
productivity!(e.g.!Oseland,!1999).!In!the!last!decades,!creativity!and!innovation!became!a!
bigger!part!of!work,!and!therefore!the!interest!in!the!connection!between!space!and!
creativity!grew!(Dul!&!Ceylan,!2014;!Dul,!Ceylan,!&!Jaspers,!2011;!Kristensen,!2004;!Lloyd,!
2001;!Moultrie!et!al.,!2007).!There!are!only!few!papers!that!looked!at!creative!learning!
spaces!in!design!educational!contexts!(e.g.!Cannon!&!Utriainen,!2013;!Jankowska!&!Atlay,!
2008;!Jones!&!Lloyd,!2013;!Leurs,!Schelling,!&!Mulder,!2013;!Setola!&!Leurs,!2014;!
Weinberg,!Nicolai,!Hüsam,!Panayotova,!&!Klooker,!2014).!However,!to!the!best!of!our!
knowledge,!there!is!no!paper!that!tried!to!create!a!systematic!and!evidence-based!theory!
for!creative!learning!spaces,!which!is!the!objective!of!this!paper.!
Creativity*
There!exist!numerous!definitions!of!creativity.!Most!authors!distinguish!between!
creativity!as!an!outcome!(a!creative!solution)!and!creativity!as!a!process.!Creativity!as!an!
outcome!should!be!novel!(in!terms!of!being!original,!unique,!and!surprising),!meaningful,!
and!useful!at!the!same!time!(e.g.!T.M.!Amabile,!1996,!1996;!Boden,!1996;!Sarkar!&!
Chakrabarti,!2007;!Sawyer,!2006;!Stein,!1953;!Sternberg,!1988;!Weisberg,!2006).!Gero!
(1996)!added!unexpectedness’!to!this!definition,!and!Simonton!(2012)!added!surprise.!
Creativity!as!a!process,!on!the!other!hand,!was!first!described!by!Wallas!(1926),!as!a!four-
step!creative!problem!solving!process!consisting!of:!
Preparation!(investigation!of!the!problem!in!all!directions)!
Incubation!(unconscious!processing)!
Illumination!(sudden!insight!and!creation!of!a!solution)!
Verification!(critical!elaboration!and!validation!of!the!idea)!
Building!on!this,!Guilford!(1950)!introduced!the!concept!of!divergent!and!convergent!
thinking,!as!a!mode!of!thinking!to!explain!creativity.!Diverging!means!producing!a!large!
quantity!and!variety!of!ideas,!whereas!convergent!thinking!describes!the!process!of!
narrowing!down!to!one!solution—a!concept!that!nowadays!is!also!very!popular!in!design!
thinking!(Brown,!2009).!Later,!Guilford!differentiated!between!flexibility!(the!variety!of!
ideas;!diverging!into!different!directions)!and!fluency!(the!quantity!of!ideas!produced)!as!
important!elements!of!a!creative!process!(Joy!Paul!Guilford,!1967).!
Since!our!interest!focuses!on!the!ability!of!the!built!environment!to!facilitate!a!creative!
working!and!learning!process,!the!definitions!of!creativity*as*a*process!are!more!relevant!
for!our!study.!Hence,!our!research!question!is!centred!around!the!questions!if,!and!if!yes!
how,!the!learning!environment!of!a!design!school!can!facilitate!(a)!flexibility!of!ideation!
and!(b)!fluency!of!ideation,!as!well!as!(c)!how!it!can!provide!appropriate!spaces!for!
preparation,!incubation,!illumination,!and!verification.!Additionally,!other!creativity!
concepts,!such!as!fixation!(the!inappropriate!repetition!of!existing!solutions,!(e.g.!Cardoso!
&!Badke-Schaub,!2011;!Jansson!&!Smith,!1991;!Purcell!&!Gero,!1996),!priming!(the!
activation!of!a!specificfor!example!creativemindset!(e.g.!Sassenberg,!Moskowitz,!
Fetterman,!&!Kessler,!2017),!and!serendipity!(the!unexpected!finding!of!valuable!ideas,!
persons,!and!things,!(e.g.!Goldschmidt,!2015;!Meusburger,!Funke,!&!Wunder,!2009)!will!
guide!our!analysis!process.!
Previous*work*
To!structure!our!study,!we!refer!to!a!‘Typology!of!Creative!Learning!Space’!(adapted!from!
Thoring,!Luippold,!&!Mueller,!2012a)!that!outlines!five!different!types!of!creative!learning!
spaces,!as!well!as!five!different!qualities,!which!can!be!a!characteristic!of!such!a!creative!
learning!space.!The!space!types!are:!personal!space,!collaboration!space,!presentation!
space,!making!space,!and!transition!space.!The!qualities!are:!space!as!a!knowledge!
processor,!space!as!an!indicator!of!(organizational)!culture,!space!as!a!social!dimension,!
space!as!stimulation,!and!space!as!infrastructure.!Figure!1!illustrates!the!different!types!
and!qualities!of!creative!learning!spaces.!!
!
!
Figure!1!!Typology!of!Creative!Learning!Spaces!(adapted!from!Thoring!et!al.,!2012a)!!
ABC
1. PERSONAL SPACE
allows for concentrated “heads-
down”work (thinking, reading,
writing), deep work, and reflec-
tion; needs a reduced stimulation
to avoid distraction
A: ORGANISATIONAL CULTURE
space suggests a specific be-
haviour, either through common
sense, rituals, labels and signs,
or written/unwritten rules
2. COLLABORATION SPACE
is used for groupwork, work-
shops, face-to-face discussions
or student–teacher consultations
B: KNOWLEDGE PROCESSOR
space can store, display, and
foster the transfer of infor-
mation and knowledge (tacit,
explicit, embedded knowledge)
3. PRESENTATION SPACE
is used to share, present, and
consume knowledge, ideas, and
work results in a one-directional
way (oral presentations or exhi-
bitions)
C: STIMULATION
space can provide certain stimuli
(views, sounds, smells, textures,
materials, etc.)
4. MAKING SPACE
is used for modelmaking and
building stuff; allows experimen-
tation, play, noise, and dirt
D: SOCIAL INTERACTION
space influences social interac-
tions and facilitate meetings and
personal exchange
5. TRANSITION SPACE
connects the other space types;
is used for breaks and transfers;
includes hallways, staircases,
cafeterias, and outdoor areas
E: INFRASTRUCTURE
space can provide specific
spatial structures or technical
infrastructure which might guide
or hinder the work process
SPACE TYPES SPATIAL QUALITIES
!
Methodology**
Theory*Development*
The!objective!of!this!paper!is!to!present!the!groundwork!of!a!novel!theory!about!the!
influence!of!the!built!environment!on!creativity.!According!to!Popper!(1934)!a!theory!is!an!
abstracted!model!of!the!reality.!Building!on!that,!Gregor!(2006)!differentiates!between!
five!types!of!theories:!Type!1!Theories!for!Analyzing!that!only!describe!and!analyze!the!
reality,!for!example!as!a!typology!(what*is?).!Type!2!Theories!for!Explanation!that!attempt!
to!provide!explanations!for!specific!incidents!(what*is,*how,*why,*when,*and*where?).!Type!
3!Theories!for!Prediction!that!provide!predictions!but!without!causal!explanations!(what*is*
and*what*will*be?).!Type!4!Theories!for!Explanation!and!Prediction!that!provide!
predictions!and!also!testable!propositions!and!causal!explanations!(what*is,*how,*why,*
when,*where,*and*what*will*be?).!And!Type!5!Theories!for!Design!and!Action!that!suggest!
explicit!prescriptions!for!constructing!an!artifact!(how*to*do*something?).!The!presented!
paper!constitutes!a!Type!4!Theory!as!it!aims!to!provide!explanations!for!and!predictions!of!
the!possible!impact!of!spatial!specifications!on!creative!performance.!The!presented!
hypotheses!are!testable,!however,!an!actual!test!is!not!part!of!this!paper.!We!provide!
evidences!for!each!presented!hypothesis!that!are!based!on!expert!interviews!and!
supported!by!related!literature.!Similar!to!evidence-based!management!(Pfeffer!&!Sutton,!
2006),!we!aim!for!evidence-based!creative!spaces,!beyond!hype!and!fashion.!Our!
presented!hypotheses!are!probabilistic,!not!deterministic,!which!means!we!search!for!
factors!that!make!the!outcome!in!general!more!likely!(Jaccard!&!Jacoby,!2009).!We!do!not!
claim!that!these!hypotheses!are!valid!for!everybody!in!all!circumstances.!Instead,!we!are!
interested!in!the!rich!insights!of!possible!contingencies.!Therefore!our!main!sources!for!
the!hypotheses!arenext!to!the!literaturequalitative!interviews!and!cases.!We!propose!
a!qualitative!probabilistic!causal!theory!(Pearl,!2000)!of!creative!space.!In!the!future!we!
want!to!build!upon!this!and!develop!the!theory!further!into!a!Type!5!Design!Theory!
(Shirley!Gregor!&!Jones,!2007)!with!design!principles!(how!to!design!creativity-supporting!
environments).!
Expert*Interviews*
We!conducted!8!semi-structured!interviews!with!experts!from!the!fields!of!Design!
Education,!Innovation,!Product!Design,!Workplace!Furniture,!Architecture,!and!Interior!
Design.!Those!experts!were!chosen!to!cover!a!wide!variety!of!different!perspectives!on!
the!topic!of!creative!learning!environments!within!the!three!clusters!of!interest:!Design,!
Education,!and!Space.!For!the!design!group!(DES)!we!included!interviews!of!two!design!
practitioners!(one!working!in!a!leading!position!at!the!major!design!agency!IDEO,!the!
other!one!running!her!own!studio).!For!the!group!of!educators!(EDU),!we!included!three!
experts!from!various!design!disciplines!and!different!design!universities!(a!professor!for!
urban!design,!a!professor!for!strategic!design,!and!a!professor!for!design!thinking!and!
innovation).!And!finally,!for!the!group!of!architecture,!interior!architecture,!and!furniture!
(ARCH)!we!included!three!interviews:!one!architect,!specialized!in!design!educational!
buildings,!one!interior!architect,!specialized!in!innovation!spaces,!and!one!furniture!
manufacturer,!specialized!in!educational!furniture.!The!chosen!experts!also!represent!a!
cultural!diversity!in!terms!of!their!country!of!origin!and!their!place!of!work,!in!order!not!to!
limit!the!insights!to!one!particular!national!culture.!The!covered!nationalities!include!
German,!US-American,!Venezuelan,!and!Swedish,!while!their!places!of!work!include!also!
Denmark,!Switzerland,!and!Austria.!Table!1!shows!an!overview!of!the!included!interviews.!!
Table*1**Overview*of*Expert*Interviews**
No.#*
ID*
Main*Expertise*
1!
DES-1!
Design!Manager!at!IDEO!in!US!and!Germany!
2!
DES-2!
Spatial!designer!and!artist!
3!
EDU-1!
Professor!for!Urban!and!Social!Design!
4!
EDU-2!
Writer!and!Professor!for!Innovation!
5!
EDU-3!
Professor!for!Strategic!Design!
6!
ARCH-1!
Lead!of!interior!design!of!D-School!
7!
ARCH-2!
Lead!of!architectural!Design!Umeå!Design!School!
8!
ARCH-3!
European!Manager!at!Steelcase!for!Educational!Furniture!
!
The!semi-structured!interviews!were!guided!by!a!set!of!open!questions!(the!full!interview!
guideline!is!available!upon!request).!The!interviews!were!structured!into!two!main!parts:!
First!we!asked!about!experiences!or!thoughts!related!to!the!five!space!types!and!five!
spatial!functions!(as!outlined!in!Figure!1the!typology!of!creative!learning!spaces).!The!
second!set!of!questions!related!to!general!characteristics!of!a!space!(materials,!colours,!
furniture,!etc.)!and!what!impact!these!might!have!on!creativity,!wellbeing,!and!learning.!
The!interviewees!also!ranked!these!characteristics!to!indicate!their!priorities.!Finally,!the!
interviewees!were!asked!about!their!personal!experiences!and!preferences!within!their!
own!working!environment.!All!questions!were!open!and!allowed!for!the!sharing!of!
personal!insights!and!stories,!also!beyond!the!prepared!questions.!The!interviews!were!
audio-recorded!and!later!transcribed!(non-verbatim).!The!final!eight!interviews!had!a!total!
of!9.7!hours!of!audio!dataan!average!of!72!minutes!per!interview.!The!interviews!were!
transcribed!and!imported!into!Atlas.ti!for!further!analysis.!The!following!code!structure!
was!developed!in!order!to!analyse!the!data.!The!code!structure!consists!of!5!groups!with!
178!codes!in!total:!!
group!1!=!Impact!!
contains!3!codes!(Creativity,!Learning,!Wellbeing).!For!this!paper!only!
“creativity”!is!analysed.!
group!2!=!Evaluation!!
contains!4!codes!(positive!evaluation,!negative!evaluation,!high!priority,!low!
priority)!
group!3!=!Space!Types!(according!to!the!Typology!outlined!in!Figure!1)!
contains!33!codes;!5!codes!for!the!space!types!(individual!work!space,!
collaboration!space,!making!space,!presentation!space,!and!transition!space),!
and!28!subcodes!with!exemplary!spaces!for!each!space!type,!according!to!the!
typology!presented!in!the!introduction!(e.g.!CollaborationSpace>Classroom,!
CollaborationSpace>Studio,!etc.)!
group!4!=!Space!Qualities!(according!to!the!Typology!outlined!in!Figure!1)!
contains!26!codes;!5!codes!for!the!spatial!qualities,!according!to!the!typology!
presented!in!the!introduction!(Culture,!Infrastructure,!Knowledge!Processor,!
!
Social!Dimension,!Stimulation),!and!21!subcodes!with!exemplary!qualities!for!
each!category!(e.g.!Stimulation>Inspiration,!Stimulation>Distraction,!etc.)!!
group!5!=!Space!Characteristics!!
contains!111!codes;!16!codes!for!the!spatial!characteristics!(Atmosphere,!
Climate,!Colours,!Flexibility,!Furniture,!Health!Issues,!Light,!Location,!Materials,!
Objects,!Plants!and!Flowers,!Room!Layout,!Smells,!Sound,!Style,!Technology,!
View),!and!95!subcodes!with!exemplary!characteristics!for!each!category!(e.g.!
Atmosphere>Playful,!Atmosphere>Homely,!etc.)!!
The!interview!data!was!coded!by!two!researchers.!Any!arising!question!during!the!coding!
process!was!discussed!immediately!until!an!agreement!was!found.!The!first!step!of!the!
analysis!process!was!to!filter!all!data!against!the!code!‘creativity’,!because!the!main!
objective!of!this!study!is!to!investigate!the!possible!impact!of!the!space!on!creativity.!The!
data!was!coded!with!this!term!in!cases!where!the!experts!mentioned!the!term!‘creativity’!
either!autonomously,!or!after!prompts!from!the!interviewer,!and!where!quotes!appeared!
that!were!talking!about!closely!associated!aspects!such!as!‘innovation’!or!‘idea!
generation’.!Thus!86!text!segments!were!coded!with!‘creativity’!and!served!as!the!basis!
for!the!development!of!the!propositions.!Further!analysis!and!interpretation!led!to!
propositions!about!the!possible!impact!of!space!on!creativity.!In!a!second!step,!these!
identified!segments!were!checked!against!other!codes!that!appeared!in!close!proximity,!
as!these!aspects!might!also!have!an!influence!on!creativity!as!well.!The!resulting!161!
adjacent!codes!were!ranked!according!to!the!frequency!of!their!appearance!in!the!
interview!texts.!The!most!frequent!occurrences!were!the!subcodes!‘Stimulation-
Inspiration’!(10),!‚Atmosphere-Welcoming’!(9),!and!‚Atmosphere-Homely’!(6).!As!these!
aspects!might!also!have!an!impact!on!creativity,!the!entire!data!was!cross-checked!for!
these!codes!for!new!insights.!Through!this!procedure,!additional!quotes!were!identified!
that!appeared!to!be!of!high!relevance!for!the!spatial!impact!on!creativity!and!were!
included!in!the!analysis!and!the!final!development!of!12!propositions.!In!the!following!
section!the!developed!propositions!are!described!in!more!detail.!!
Propositions*about*the*Impact*of*Space*on*Creativity*
We!present!a!set!of!12!propositions!that!suggest!an!influence!of!spatial!characteristics!on!
creativity.!Each!proposition!is!based!on!quotes!from!the!interviews.!Supporting!or!
contradicting!literature!is!presented!for!each!proposition,!where!applicable.!Table!2!
presents!an!overview!of!the!identified!propositions!along!with!a!link!to!related!creativity!
definitions!as!described!in!the!introduction!of!this!paper,!while!Table!3!summarizes!the!
related!evidences!(supporting!or!contradicting!quotes!from!the!interviewees!as!well!as!
from!the!literature).!Figure!2!illustrates!the!propositions!(possible!cause-and-effect!
relationships!of!spatial!elements!towards!creativity)!as!a!graph.!!
!*
Table*2** Twelve*Propositions*
P#*
Proposition*
Explanation*
Creativity*Theory*
P1!
Surprising*Space!!
strange,!unexpected,!imperfect!space!
triggers!curiosity!and!hence!creativity,!
forces!people!to!interpret!and!generate!
their!own!ideas!
Illumination!
Flexibility!
Serendipity!
P2!
Space*as*a*
Platform*for*Ideas!!
space!to!manifest!ideas;!large!space!lets!
the!mind!expand!and!allows!building!
and!testing!more!and!larger!sized!
models!
Fluency!!
Verification!
P3!
Creative*Chaos!!
triggers!creativity!as!it!prompts!
associations;!if!space!is!filled!with!old!
projects!might!lead!to!fixation!!
Flexibility!
Serendipity!
Fixation!
P4!
Visual*Stimuli!!!
visible!materials,!books,!and!other!
information!can!inspire!new!ideas!and!
increase!creativity!
Preparation!!!
Flexibility!!
Fluency!
Fixation!
P5!
Reduced*
Stimulation!*
white!space,!empty!space!fosters!
creativity,!invites!people!to!project!their!
own!ideas!into!it!
Incubation!!
Illumination!!
Avoid!fixation!
P6!
Tactile,*Olfactory,*
and*Acoustic*
Stimuli!!
materials,!smells,!cooking,!and!sound!
inspire!creativity!
Incubation!
P7!
Making*Spaces!!
Space!that!allows!to!make!things!
manually!fosters!creativity!
Verification!
P8!
Open*View!!
Window!view,!inspires!creativity,!lets!
the!mind!expand!
Incubation!!
P9!
Bodily*Activity!!
Movement!!
visible!movement!or!own!movement!
(e.g.!walking,!sports)!facilitates!creativity!
Incubation!!
P10!
Playful*
Experimental*
Atmosphere!!
Games,!toys!invite!to!experiment,!risk-
taking,!and!allow!failure;!Ownership!of!
space!
Incubation!
Flexibility!
Verification!
P11!
Creative*Labelling!!
designating!a!space!for!creative!work,!or!
historic!creative!surroundings!can!set!a!
mood!or!mindset!receptive!for!creativity!
Preparation!
Priming!
P12!
Social*Interaction!
creative!people!are!more!important!than!
space,!so!space!should!facilitate!meeting!
and!exchange!
Flexibility!!
Incubation!!
Serendipity!
!
In!the!following,!each!proposition!is!described!in!more!detail!and!linked!to!related!
literature,!where!applicable.!Furthermore,!selected!interview!quotes!are!presented!that!
support!the!respective!proposition.!!
!
*
*
*
Figure*2**Causal*Graph*illustrating*the*relationships*and*influences*according*to*the*propositions*
towards*creativity:*(+)*indicates*increasing*effect;*()*indicates*decreasing*effect.*
+ make visible, test, and discuss
+ Making Connections
+ old material visible
Fluency
Flexibility
Fixation
Incubation
Preparation
Illumination
Verification
Serendipity
+ defused mode, daydreaming
+ old materials visible
+ projection of ideas
+ coincidence
+ making new connections
+ more space > more/bigger ideas
+ can facilitate Research
+ projecting ideas
+ unconscious stimuli > relaxation
+ manifestation for discussion and test
+ defused mode, daydreaming
– avoid fixation
+ defused mode
+ coincidence
+ making new connections
+ defused mode, daydreaming
+ experiment leads to new connections
+ encourages trial+error
+ encourages preparation for creative work
+ coincidence
+ making new connections
+ allow recombinations
Surprising Space P1
Social Interactions P12
Creative Chaos P3
Reduced Stimulation P5
Visual Stimuli P4
Creative Labelling P11
Open Views P8
Movement
Bodily Activity P9
Platform for Ideas P2
Acoustic/Tactile/Olfactory
Stimulation P6
Playful Atmosphere P10
Making Spaces P7
Priming
+ setting a mood receptive for creativity
Proposition*1*(P1):*Surprising*Space*
Strange,!unexpected,!or!imperfect!spaces,!which!have!unusual!shapes!that!result!in!‘dead’!
or!unused!corners,!or!reveal!surprising!interiors!can!have!a!positive!impact!on!creativity.!
Students!could!use!these!spaces!to!implement!their!own!designs!or!install!small!
exhibitions.!Such!surprising,!unexpected,!or!even!defective!spaces!trigger!curiosity,!
provide!surprising!stimuli!and!hence!force!people!to!interpret!and!generate!their!own!
ideas.!This!can!result!in!an!increased!variety!of!ideas!by!establishing!connections!between!
disparate!concepts!(flexibility),!or!it!can!provide!coincidences!(serendipity),!or!result!in!a!
sudden!idea!(illumination).!!
Within*this*School*of*Architecture*there*were*some*spaces*that*are*very*
tall,*they're*over*10*meters*and*only*maybe*one*meter*in*wideness*and*
they're*not*accessible*of*course.*These*started*to*be*used*by*the*students;*
they*hang*things*there*and*for*example*they*study*how*sound*is*being*
transported*within*such*a*room*and*they*try*to*visualize*that*with*the*
installations.*Very*inspiring*how*they*attack*the*space.*(ARCH-2)
When*I*was*working*in*this*Frank*Gehry*Building*you*would*think*round*
fosters*creativity*and*so*on,*but*it*was*quite*the*opposite.*There*was*no*
way*of*placing*the*tables*inside*that*room.*And*when*your*space*is*
constantly*invaded*because*it's*round*and*you*have*people*walking*behind*
you*and*so*on.*It*just*doesn't*help*you*connect*with*the*space.*(EDU-3)*
According!to!Flipowicz!(2006)!surprise!can!cause!a!cognitive!shift,!which!fosters!creativity.!
Also,!Grace!and!Maher!(2015)!suggest!that!surprising!stimuli!could!enhance!creativity.!On!
the!other!hand,!spaces!that!are!too!impractical,!might!result!in!quite!the!opposite.!A!good!
balance!of!surprising!and!functional!spaces!seems!to!be!the!sweet!spot.!
Proposition*2*(P2):*Platform*for*Ideas*
When!working!creatively!you!need!some!space!to!manifest!your!ideas.!This!can!range!
from!a!post-it!note,!to!a!whiteboard,!a!writeable!wall,!or!a!huge!studio!to!build!things.!The!
larger!this!platform,!the!more!possibilities!one!has!to!manifest!ideas,!which!can!result!in!
the!generation!of!many!solutions!(fluency).!The!manifestations!also!allow!to!visualize,!
discuss,!and!validate!ideas,!together!with!others!or!as!a!testable!prototype!(validation).!
Also,!a!large!space!lets!the!mind!expand!and!allows!creating!more!or!literally!larger!ideas!
(e.g.!build!larger!sized!models).!
The*size*of*the*space*is*extremely*important.*I*had*a*smaller*Studio*before*
and*all*my*designs*were*smaller*as*well.*A*large*space*allows*you*to*think*
bigger,*create*bigger*ideas,*and*build*bigger*models*[translated*by*
author].*(DES-2)*
Ideas*manifest*creativity*and*that*manifestation*must*be*part*of*the*
process*and*you*manifest*in*different*ways:*shop,*studio,*even*if*you*are*
acting*things*out,*you*need*a*sort*of*stage.*(EDU-2)*
Boundary!objects!(Star!&!Griesemer,!1989),!such!as!sketches,!canvases,!or!prototypes,!are!
plastic!enough!for!information!to!be!adapted!and!interpreted!differently!by!different!
communities,!but!robust!enough!to!maintain!informational!integrity.!They!support!
distributed!cognition!by!eliciting!and!capturing!tacit!knowledge!through!interactions!with!
the!boundary!objects!(Henderson,!1991).!Boundary!objects!support!social!and!individual!
!
creativity!in!several!ways:!by!moving!from!vague!ideas!to!more!concrete!representations;!
by!producing!records!of!mental!thought!outside!of!the!individual!memory;!by!providing!
means!for!others!to!interact,!critic,!and!build!upon!the!ideas;!and!by!establishing!a!
common!language!of!understanding!(Fischer,!Giaccardi,!Eden,!Sugimoto,!&!Ye,!2005).!!
Space!can!establish!a!platform!for!these!boundary!objects!and!act!as!a!boundary!object!
itselfa!sort!of!boundary!space.!
Proposition*3*(P3):*Creative*Chaos*
Although!the!question!whether!creativity!is!fostered!by!a!work!space!that!is!clean!or!
messy!largely!depends!on!personal!taste!or!culture,!there!are!some!interesting!principles!
that!can!be!derived!about!the!concept!of!creative!chaos.!!
I*could*not*start*a*new*project*when*the*material*from*the*previous*one*is*
still*on*my*desk.*Similarly,*no*one*would*stick*the*new*post-it*note*on*top*
of*the*old*one.*If*you*want*to*create*something*new*you*need*to*start*
fresh,*to*create*new*associations.*Otherwise*there’s*the*risk*to*reproduce*
the*same*stuff*again*and*again.*During*the*project,*however,*it*may*be*
chaotic*and*messy.*[translated*by*author]*(ARCH-1)*
For*me,*messy*is*really*inspiring.*Yeah.*I*make*connections*when*things*are*
really*messy.*(EDU-3)*
Some!of!the!interviewees!were!indifferent!about!creative!chaos!or!mentioned!positive!as!
well!as!negative!aspects!of!chaotic!environments!at!the!same!time.!A!little!bit!of!chaos!is!
inspiring,!but!too!much!hinders!the!creative!workflow.!Moreover,!the!degree!of!
acceptable!chaos!also!depends!on!the!project!status.!While!chaos!would!be!considered!
tolerable!during!a!project!(caused!by!the!project’s!own!materials),!chaos!produced!by!old!
materials!from!previous!projects!would!be!hindering!at!the!beginning!of!a!new!project.!
This!could!be!related!to!the!concept!of!fixation,!which!suggests!that!visible!material!from!
earlier!projects!bears!the!risk!of!hindering!one’s!creativity,!by!becoming!stuck!to!those!old!
ideas.!On!the!other!hand,!in!a!chaotic!environment!new!connections!can!be!made!based!
on!coincidental!material!combinations!or!mistakes!(serendipity),!which!can!result!in!more!
variety!of!ideas!(flexibility).!Also,!Clark!(2007)!describes!chaos!and!order!as!two!
interconnected!elements!of!the!creative!process!that!need!to!be!in!balance.!Depending!on!
the!state!of!the!project!either!one!has!advantages!and!disadvantages.!Zausner!(1996)!
suggests!that!a!creative!process!shows!non-linear!dynamics!and!is!hence!always!
somewhat!chaotic.!Chaotic!processes!have!both!randomness!and!unpredictability,!which!
can!be!explained!by!the!creativity!concepts!of!flexibility!and!serendipity.!
As!a!conclusion,!space!should!facilitate!a!good!balance!of!chaos!and!order,!for!example!by!
providing!appropriate!storage!facilities.!
Proposition*4*(P4):*Visual*Stimuli***
Designers!and!design!students!often!refer!to!visual!stimulation!for!inspiration,!which!
became!also!evident!in!most!of!the!interviews.!!
And*if*I*start*putting*things*or*paintings*in*the*walls*and*stuff*then*I*get*a*
little*bit*distracted.*[…].*There*are*moments*when*distraction*really*pays*
off*and*I*think*visual*distraction*creates*ideas.*(EDU-3)*
…whereas*inspiration*comes*from*books*and*magazines*[...]*[translated*by*
author]*(EDU-1)*
Gonçalves!et!al.!(2014)!investigated!the!inspirational!approaches!of!designers!and!
identified!that!there!is!a!high!preference!for!visual!material,!mainly!from!the!Internet,!but!
also!from!magazines!and!books.!Goldschmidt!and!Smolkov!(2006)!present!findings!that!
the!presence!of!visual!stimuli!is!positively!correlated!with!the!emergence!of!creativity.!
Goldschmidt!(2003)!suggests!that!the!exhibition!of!sketches,!either!self-generated!or!
created!by!colleagues,!elicits!"backtalk"!(i.e.,!reinterpretation!and!reflection!of!visual!
material!created).!Backtalk!of!sketches!can!then!elicit!multiple!reinterpretations!and!
potentially!lead!to!creativity.!Goldschmidt!(2007)!investigates!team-shared!mental!models!
that!are!supported!by!sketches.!Visual!representations!of!work!produced!(sketches!
included!but!also!posters!and!other!visual!outcomes!of!design!projects)!enable!
communication!of!ideas!and!convergence!of!mental!models!within!team!members.!In!the!
same!way,!visual!stimuli!in!the!form!of!past!projects!produced!by!students!can!establish!
connections!across!other!students.!Following!this!concept,!visual!stimuli!can!increase!
flexibility!and!validation.!Van!der!Lugt!(2005)!claims!that!sketching!can!be!used!as!a!design!
team's!‘external!memory:!Generated!visual!representations,!such!as!sketches,!can!
support!reinterpretation!of!ideas,!either!individually!and!in!group,!and!helps!keeping!track!
of!the!solution!space!already!explored.!However,!visual!stimuli!might!also!trigger!fixation!
effects!as!students!can!become!too!attached!to!visible!material!instead!of!developing!
their!own!designs!(Cardoso!&!Badke-Schaub,!2011).!!
Proposition*5*(P5):*Reduced*Stimulation*
Reduced!Stimulation,!such!as!white!walls!or!empty!spaces,!help!the!mind!to!relax!and!lose!
focusoften!described!as!daydreaming.!The!brain!switches!frequently!between!two!
modes:!the!focused-mode!and!the!defused-mode!of!thinking!(Immordino-Yang,!
Christodoulou,!&!Singh,!2012;!Moussa,!Steen,!Laurienti,!&!Hayasaka,!2012;!Oakley,!2014;!
Raichle!&!Snyder,!2007).!The!focused!mode!(also!called!highly!attentive!state)!is!“a!direct!
approach!to!solving!problems!using!rational,!sequential,!analytical!approaches”!(Oakley,!
2014,!p.!12)!mostly!related!to!the!prefrontal!cortex.!In!the!defused!mode!(also!called!
resting!state!network!or!default-mode!network)!the!mind!wanders!and!connects!different!
areas!of!the!brain!in!a!more!relaxed!manner!(Oakley,!2014).!The!focused!mode!and!
defused!mode!are!similar!to!the!concepts!of!vertical!and!lateral!thinking!of!de!Bono!
(2009).!The!defused!mode!is!associated!with!higher!creativity!(especially!with!divergent!
thinking)!(Takeuchi!et!al.,!2012).!
Although!visual!stimulation!can!act!as!a!source!of!inspiration,!the!exact!opposite!can!also!
have!a!positive!influence!on!creativity.!White!walls!or!other!white!spaces!facilitate!
daydreaming!and!invite!people!to!project!their!own!ideas!into!it.!
I*had*this*picture*frame*from*my*grandmother.*I*left*it*white*and*I*really*
like*looking*at*it,*I*don't*look*at*the*frame,*I*look*at*the*white*space*in*the*
middle*and*I*project*the*ideas*into*it.*(EDU-3)*
I*prefer*to*have*a*white*space,*a*white*canvas,*where*I*can*spread*out*my*
thoughts,*[...]*if*you*would*fill*everything*with*inspirational*material,*that*
would*have*to*be*removed*later*to*leave*empty*space*for*the*next*one*
[translated*by*author]*(EDU-1)*
!
However,!McCoy!and!Evans!(2002)!demonstrated!that!spatial!complexity!influences!
creative!performance!positively.!In!this!context,!spatial!complexity!refers!to!complex!
environments,!both!in!terms!of!how!the!space!is!organized!and!in!terms!of!decoration.!
Decorative!elements!include!personalization!of!the!space!and!other!objects,!such!as!lamps!
or!artwork.!Their!own!results!corroborate!with!Amabile's!(1990)!findings,!which!indicate!
that!complex!and!provocative!spaces!trigger!creativity.!As!this!is!partly!in!contradiction!to!
the!insights!formulated!by!the!experts,!this!proposition!needs!further!investigation.!
Proposition*6*(P6):*Tactile,*Olfactory,*and*Acoustic*Stimuli*
Besides!visual!stimuli,!also!other!senses!can!be!stimulated,!which!can!have!an!influence!on!
creativity,!such!as!sound,!smells,!or!tactility.!
McCoy!and!Evans!(2002)!mention!that!complexity!and!variationwithin!the!realm!of!
materialslead!to!high!creative!potential.!They!showed!the!importance!of!materials!use!
in!creativity.!Natural!materials,!such!as!wood,!were!considered!important!to!creativity.!
Kudrowitz!et!al.!(2014)!draw!parallels!between!creative!processes!and!cooking.!Mehta!et!
al.!(2012,!p.!785)!suggest!that!“a!moderate!(vs.!low)!level!of!ambient!noise!is!likely!to!
induce!processing!disfluency!or!processing!difficulty,!which!activates!abstract!cognition!
and!consequently!enhances!creative!performance”.!Hence,!it!can!be!argued!that!such!
stimuli!are!positive!for!creativity!as!long!as!they!occur!in!a!moderate!degree.!!
I*think*materials*are*hugely*important,*I’m*a*very*tactile*person.*And*I*
think*in*terms*of*representing*and*promoting*creativity,*I*think*material*
surroundings*are*very*important.*It’s*visually*stimulating.*(EDU-2)*
Cooking*is*hugely*creative,*if*I*had*to*redesign*the*curriculum*I*would*make*
cooking*part*of*all*creative*curriculums,*[…]*cooking*would*be*key*because*
there*is*so*much*to*it:*in*terms*of*choices,*colours,*taste,*textures,*process,*
cooperation,*the*whole*thing*a*creative*process*that*is*really*similar*to*
everything*else.*Creating*a*dish*is*like*creating*a*company.*(EDU-2)*
Proposition*7*(P7):*Making*Spaces*
Making!Spaces,!such!as!workshops,!are!a!central!spatial!element!of!every!design!school.!
However,!the!importance!of!manual!prototyping!for!creativity!could!be!even!further!
facilitated!by!establishing!tinker!desks!in!each!classroom!or!by!providing!prototyping!
materials!at!hand.!
Somehow,*you*think*differently*when*you*touch*things*or*when*you*try*to*
build.*You*really*come*up*with*ideas*that*you*cannot*have*come*up*by*
sketching*or*by*looking*out*the*window.*You*think*different*when*you're*
making.*(EDU-3)*
Yes,*changing*position*of*work*is*part*of*this*definitely.*[…]**I*do*believe*
that*our*brain*works*very*well*when*we*switch*in*between*different*
thoughts*like*using*your*hands*or*your*body*doing*something*physically*
and*using*just*your*mind,*so*to*speak,*writing*something*or*drawing*then*
of*course*you*use*your*hands*still,*but*it's*in*less*extent*than*building*
something*or*doing*something*physically.*This*interplay*in*between*
activities*is*quite*important.*(ARCH-2)*
Youmans!(2011)!investigated!the!influence!of!prototyping!and!material!use!in!relation!to!
fixation.!Although!he!did!not!necessarily!relate!it!to!creativity,!one!can!argue!that!if!
fixation!is!reduced!when!working!with!physical!materials,!then!prototyping!can!potentially!
support!creativity.!!Fonseca!et!al.!(2009)!established!a!connection!between!prototyping!
and!creativity,!within!the!domain!of!Human!Computer!Interaction!in!a!Computer!
Engineering!course.!!
Proposition*8*(P8):*Open*View*
An!open!view!outside!a!window!into!nature!or!an!urban!environment!can!have!a!positive!
effect!on!creativity!and!inspiration.!The!expansion!of!the!mind!into!the!outside!world!
could!facilitate!the!incubation!effect.!Moreover,!views!across!rooms!can!also!provide!
visual!stimuli!and!foster!social!interaction.!
if*I'm*trying*to*write*here*and*I'm*trying*to*look*for*a*creative*idea,*I*always*
look*outside*the*window.*(EDU-3)
McCoy!and!Evans!(2002)!suggest!that!looking!into!a!nature!environment!would!foster!
creativity.!On!the!other!hand,!Farley!and!Veitch!(2001)!could!not!confirm!this!hypothesis!
in!their!studies.!Students!in!windowless!rooms!showed!the!same!creative!performance!as!
in!rooms!with!a!view.!However,!participants!of!their!study!confirmed!a!higher!level!of!
wellbeing!when!performing!in!rooms!that!provided!a!window!view.!
Proposition*9*(P9):*Movement*and*Bodily*Activity*
Movement,!either!actively!(e.g.!when!walking!or!exercising)!or!passively!(e.g.!when!sitting!
in!a!train!or!looking!outside!a!window!onto!a!busy!street)!can!trigger!a!creative!mood!up!
to!the!sudden!appearance!of!an!idea!(illumination).!This!can!be!explained!by!the!
relaxation!state!of!the!mind!in!which!the!mind!wanders!and!connects!different!areas!of!
the!brain!in!more!relaxed!manners!(Oakley,!2014),!(refer!also!to!Proposition!5Reduced!
Stimulation).!This!sort!of!daydreaming!could!be!facilitated!through!the!space,!for!example!
by!providing!transitions!spaces!that!require!walking!between!buildings!to!get!from!A!to!B,!
or!by!providing!some!movement!outside!the!windows.!That!way!the!space!can!facilitate!
the!incubation!phase.!!
I*feel*very*much*creative*when*I'm*moving*in*the*space,*for*example*my*
best*ideas*I*have*when*I'm*walking*or*when*I'm*inside*a*car.*Somehow*
movement*for*me*triggers*me*a*lot.*(EDU-3)**
I*cannot*be*creative*without*exercising*two*times*a*week*[translated*by*
author]*(DES-1)*
Personally*I*think*you*learn,*the*more*you*move*the*more*you*learn.*There*
is*a*connection*between*your*physical*activity*and*your*mind*work,*so*to*
speak.*There*was*always*this*old*idea*of*when*you*walk*you*think*very*well*
and*you*discuss*very*well*when*you*walk.*I*don’t*know*if*it's*fixed*to*
everyone*but*I*can*sense*that*importance*of*physical*activity*while*thinking*
or*doing*some*intellectual*work.*(ARCH-2)*
Oppezzo!and!Schwartz!(2014)!experimentally!demonstrate!that!walking!boosts!creative!
ideation.!Kim!(2015)!conducted!experiments!in!which!participants!had!to!squeeze!a!stress!
ball,!which!was!either!soft!and!malleable!or!hard.!When!participants!got!the!soft!one,!the!
physical!activity!led!to!divergent!ideas!(in!terms!of!originality!and!flexibility),!while!
squeezing!a!hard!ball!led!to!convergent!solutions!(only!one!correct!answer).!Also,!Gondola!
!
(1986),!Steinberg!et!al.!(1997),!and!Colzato!et!al.!(2013)!provide!evidences!that!physical!
exercise!has!a!positive!effect!on!creative!performance.!!
Space!could!facilitate!this!by!providing!infrastructure!for!exercising,!moveable!(swivel)!
chairs,!or!furniture!that!allows!or!enforces!different!work!positions.!Also!the!view!to!a!
moving!or!busy!exterior!can!facilitate!a!similar!purpose.!!
Proposition*10*(P10):*Playful*and*Experimental*Atmosphere*
Creating!a!playful!atmosphere!can!have!several!positive!effects!on!creativity:!it!stimulates!
experimentation!and!risk-taking,!which!facilitates!flexibility!of!ideation.!At!the!same!time!
fun!and!games!support!the!incubation!phase.!And!finally,!trial-and-error!and!failure!are!
encouraged,!which!facilitate!validation!of!ideas.!!
I*hope*that*it*expresses*this*freedom*of*unfolding*yourself*like*feeling*like*
here*I'm*allowed*to*do*my*studies*the*way*I*believe*is*interesting*and*not*
saying,*“Oh*you*should*design*this*way.”*or*it*should*have*this*generosity*
towards*each*individual*that*they*feel*that*they*can*develop*in*their*own*
direction.*(ARCH-2)*
A*design*school*needs*to*have*a*protected*space,*a*safe*space*in*which*you*
can*act*as*you*want,*say*what*you*want,*design*what*you*want,*and*
where*you*do*not*feel*embarrassed.*Criticism*from*others*helps*connecting*
the*dots*and*establish*associations*[translated*by*author].**(ARCH-1)**
For!example,!Berretta!and!Privette!(1990)!studied!the!influence!of!play!on!creative!
performance!and!were!able!to!confirm!an!outcome!of!significantly!greater!creative!
thinking!skills!in!children!that!practiced!flexible!play.!Also!Lieberman!(2014,!p.!30)!
suggests!that!the!concept!of!play!can!instigate!creativity!by!increasing!spontaneity!and!
flexibility,!and!support!divergent!thinking.!
Proposition*11*(P11):*Creative*Labelling*
Sometimes,!just!calling!a!space!a!‘creative!space’!or!an!‘innovation!lab’!can!put!someone!
into!a!mood!receptive!for!creativity.!Also!the!historic!atmosphere!of!creative!surroundings!
seems!to!have!a!similar!effect.!People!tend!to!mimic!the!historic!role!models!from!art!and!
design!that!might!still!be!virtually!present!in!their!surroundings.!!
Well,*the*fact*that*Parsons*is*down*in*the*Village*which*has*traditionally*
been*the*center*of*creativity*in*this*city*is*really*important.*I*mean*Jackson*
Pollock*lived*a*block*from*here.*The*whole*movement,*abstract*movement,*
they*all*lived*here.*(EDU-2)*
And*of*course*there*is*the*“Innovation*Lab”,*and*it*[just*the*name]*
workedit*spread*really*fast*like*everybody*was*talking*about*it.*Suddenly,*
everybody*wanted*to*use*it*[…].*But*now,*all*of*a*sudden,*everything*is*
about*innovation.*Yeah.*(EDU-3)*
The!labelling!of!a!space!as!specifically!designated!for!creative!activities!can!either!result!in!
people!preparing!and!being!motivated!for!this!task!(preparation)!or!even!adapting!the!
respective!creative!mindset!(priming).!This!also!includes!not!only!the!verbal!naming!of!a!
space!but!also!the!design!style!of!the!space’s!interior.!!Bhagwatwar!et!al.!(2013)!studied!
brainstorming!performances!in!virtual!environments.!Their!results!indicated!that!people!
perform!more!creatively!in!spaces!that!are!labelled!to!prime!team!members!for!improved!
creativity.!
Proposition*12*(P12):*Social*Interaction*
Several!experts!stressed!the!importance!of!social!interaction!with!creative!people!to!share!
ideas!and!feedback.!In!a!way!they!suggested!that!the!people!are!more!important!than!the!
space.!However,!a!good!creative!space!can!also!facilitate!and!enforce!those!interactions.!
I*mean,*I*worked*in*circular*offices,*I*worked*in*square*offices,*I*worked*in*
dark*offices,*light*offices,*sometimes*we'd*be*sitting*in*the*end*of*the*room*
or*sitting*at*the*center*of*the*room*and*I*wonder*that*what*triggers*my*
creativity*especially*on*spaces*is*I*have*to*say*it's*not*the*space*but*it's*the*
people*inside.*I*see*the*people*as*a*trigger*of*thinking.*(EDU-3)*
All*innovations*basically*emerge*in*the*smoking*corners,*these*informal*
spaces*where*everybody*passes*by*and*conversations*come*up*[translated*
by*author]*(EDU-1)*
McCoy!and!Evans!(2002)!have!identified!that!spaces!that!promote!social!interaction!have!
a!positive!impact!on!creativity.!This!proposition!is!also!supported!by!Amabile!(1983),!Zuo!
et!al.!(2010),!Shaw!(2010),!and!Le!Dantec!(2010).!Space!can!facilitate!social!interaction!
through!several!means,!such!as!strategic!positioning!of!meeting!points!(e.g.!copy!
machines),!lounge!furniture,!or!transparent!walls,!to!name!just!a!few!examples.!!
Summary**
Figure!2!illustrates!the!main!propositions!as!a!set!of!causal!graphs!including!the!involved!
variables.!The!expected!impact!is!illustrated!by!an!arrow,!labelled!with!a!plus!sign!(+)!if!the!
impact!is!positive!(increasing),!or!labelled!with!a!minus!sign!()!if!the!impact!is!negative!
(decreasing).!The!12!propositions!and!related!evidences!are!also!summarized!in!Table!3.!
Table*3** Summary*of*Evidences*for*the*12*Propositions.*
*
P#*
Proposition*
Interview*
Supporting*
Literature*
Contradicting*
Interview*
Contradicting*
Literature*
P1!!
Surprising*
Space!
EDU-3!
Filipowicz!
(2006),!Grace!
and!Maher!
(2015)!
EDU-3!
!
P2!
Space*as*a*
Platform*for*
Ideas!!
EDU-2!!
ARCH-2!!
Fischer!et!al.!
(2005);!
Vartanian!et!al.!
(2015);!Meyers-
Levy!&!Zhu!
(2007)!
!
!
P3!
Creative*
Chaos!!
EDU-3!
Clark!(2007),!
Zausner!(1996)!!
EDU-2!
ARCH-1!
Clark!(2007)!
!
P#*
Proposition*
Supporting*
Literature*
Contradicting*
Interview*
Contradicting*
Literature*
P4!
Visual*
Stimuli!!!
EDU-3!
Goldschmidt!
and!Smolkov!
(2006),!
Goldschmidt!
(2003),!McCoy!
and!Evans!
(2002)!
!
!
P5!
Reduced*
Stimulation!*
ARCH-1!
Takeuchi!et!al.!
(2012),!Oakley!
(2014)!
!
McCoy!and!Evans!
(2002),!Amabile!
(1990),!
Goldschmidt!and!
Smolkov!(2006)!
P6!
Tactile,*
Olfactory,*
and*Acoustic*
Stimuli!!
McCoy!and!
Evans!(2002),!
Mehta!et!al.!
(2012)!
!
!
P7!
Making*
Spaces!!
ARCH-2!
Fonseca!et!al.!
(2009),!
Youmans!(2011)!
!
!
P8!
Open*Views!!
ARCH-3!
McCoy!and!
Evans!(2002)!
!
Farley!and!Veitch!
(2001)!
P9!
Bodily*
Activity!+!
Movement!!
ARCH-2!
EDU-3!
Oppezzo!and!
Schwartz!
(2014),!Gondola!
(1986),!
Steinberg!et!al.!
(1997),!Colzato!
et!al.!(2013),!
Kim!(2015)!
!
!
P10!
Playful,*
Experimental*
Atmosphere!!
ARCH-2!
Lieberman!
(2014),!!Berretta!
and!Privette!
(1990)!
!
!
P11!
Creative*
Labelling!!
DES-2!
ARCH-3!
Bhagwatwar!et!
al.!(2013)!
!
!
P#*
Proposition*
Supporting*
Interview*
Supporting*
Literature*
Contradicting*
Interview*
Contradicting*
Literature*
P12!
Social*
Interaction!
EDU-1!!
EDU-2!!
EDU-3!!
ARCH-1!
McCoy!and!
Evans!(2002),!
Zuo!et!al.!
(2010),!Shaw!
(2010),!Le!
Dantec!(2010),!
Amabile!(1983)!
!
!
Conclusions*
This!paper!presents!a!collection!of!propositions!that!form!a!preliminary!theory!of!the!
spatial!impact!on!creativity!in!design!educational!contexts.!The!propositions!are!
developed!based!on!eight!expert!interviews!and!supported!by!relevant!literature.!!
The!work!presented!in!this!paper!is!considered!a!starting!point!for!further!research.!
Further!literature!searches!and!studies!are!needed!for!those!aspects!where!no!supporting!
or!contradicting!literature!was!found!(indicated!as!empty!cells!in!the!respective!tables).!Of!
particular!interest!are!also!those!aspects!that!have!both,!supporting!as!well!as!
contradicting!evidences.!Here,!further!research!is!needed!to!clarify!these!questions.!
Although!there!is!a!large!body!of!complementing!results!there!are!also!several!conflicting!
aspects,!what!in!fact!means:!When!changing!one!spatial!aspect!to!gain!positive!influence!
on!creativity!this!might!have!a!negative!impact!on!another!aspect.!Solving!such!conflicts!
will!be!the!focus!of!our!future!work!as!well.!!
The!scope!of!this!study!is!on!experts!of!design!educational!spaces,!only.!We!did!not!
include!the!perspective!of!students!in!this!paper.!However,!in!previous!work!we!
conducted!an!extensive!study!with!students!of!two!educational!institutions!that!lead!to!
the!development!of!the!typology!presented!in!Figure!1!(Thoring,!Luippold,!&!Mueller,!
2012b;!Thoring!et!al.,!2012a).!!
As!a!conclusion,!we!argue!that!the!results!presented!in!this!paper!are!of!high!relevance!for!
design!education,!as!they!will!contribute!to!a!better!understanding!of!the!influence!of!
spatial!design!aspects!on!creativity!of!design!students.!Although!the!main!aim!of!this!
paper!is!to!provide!insights!that!can!support!improving!the!learning!environments!of!
design!students,!the!presented!propositions!might!also!be!useful!to!practitioners!in!any!
area!that!deals!with!creativity!and!innovation,!as!well!as!to!educators!from!other!
disciplines,!who!want!to!create!inspiring!environments!for!students!and!teachers.!!
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!
About!the!Authors:!
Katja*Thoring!is!professor!at!Anhalt!University!of!Applied!
Sciences!in!Dessau/Germany!and!Visiting!Researcher!at!Delft!
University!of!Technology,!The!Netherlands.!She!has!a!
background!in!Industrial!Design!and!researches!on!topics!
such!as!creative!space,!innovative!research!methods,!and!
design!education.!
Milene*Gonçalves*is!an!assistant!professor!at!TU!Delft.!A!
designer!by!training!with!a!PhD!on!Design!creativity!from!TU!
Delft,!she!identifies!herself!as!a!Design!Researcher,!with!an!
emphasis!on!creativity,!inspiration!and!cognition.!
Roland*M.*Mueller*is!professor!at!the!Berlin!School!of!
Economics!and!Law,!Germany.!He!is!an!expert!in!Business!
Intelligence,!Big!Data,!theory!modelling,!and!lean!design!
thinking.!
Petra*Badke-Schaub*is!professor!for!design!theory!and!
methodology!at!TU!Delft.!She!is!head!of!the!Design!&!
Methodology!section!at!the!Faculty!of!Industrial!Design!
Engineering!at!TU!Delft!and!one!of!the!initiators!of!the!SIG!
Human!Behavior!in!Design!in!the!Design!Society.!
Pieter*Desmet*is!professor!of!Design!for!Experience!at!the!
Faculty!of!Industrial!Design!of!TU!Delft.!He!is!board!member!
of!the!International!Design!for!Emotion!Society!and!founder!
of!the!Delft!Institute!of!Positive!Design.!
... Causal theories, Type 4. Five identified sources present causal theories, outlining a causal relationship between physical workspace and creativity (McCoy, 2005;Martens, 2011;Meinel et al., 2017;Thoring et al., 2017a). ...
... McCoy and Evans (2002), , and Materials, Haptics, Finishing Kohlert and Cooper (2017), Martens (2008), Snead and Wycoff (1999), and Thoring et al. (2017a) Positive Sound Bryant (2012), , 2014, Groves-Knight and Marlow (2016), Martens (2008), Meinel et al. (2017), Thoring et al. (2017aThoring et al. ( , 2018b, and Williams (2013) Indoor Climate, Fresh Air , 2014, Martens (2008), Meinel et al. (2017), Walter (2012), and Williams (2013) Positive Smell , 2014, Meinel et al. (2017), Thoring et al. (2017a), and Williams (2013) Buzz, Liveliness, Chaotic Atmosphere ...
... McCoy and Evans (2002), , and Materials, Haptics, Finishing Kohlert and Cooper (2017), Martens (2008), Snead and Wycoff (1999), and Thoring et al. (2017a) Positive Sound Bryant (2012), , 2014, Groves-Knight and Marlow (2016), Martens (2008), Meinel et al. (2017), Thoring et al. (2017aThoring et al. ( , 2018b, and Williams (2013) Indoor Climate, Fresh Air , 2014, Martens (2008), Meinel et al. (2017), Walter (2012), and Williams (2013) Positive Smell , 2014, Meinel et al. (2017), Thoring et al. (2017a), and Williams (2013) Buzz, Liveliness, Chaotic Atmosphere ...
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The term “creative space” describes a relatively recent phenomenon of innovative workplace design. Such creative workspaces are becoming popular in industry and academia. However, the impact of specific spatial design decisions on creativity and innovation is not yet fully understood. This paper provides an overview of state-of-the-art research on creative work and learning environments. We conducted a systematic literature search within the Scopus database and identified a total of 73 relevant sources discussing creative spaces within academic, practice, and other innovation environments. Among the included sources are 51 academic publications and 22 sources from company research and illustrative coffee-table books. We analyzed the sources using three lenses of interest: (1) the types of theoretical and practical contributions that are provided, (2) the spatial characteristics that are suggested to be beneficial for creativity and innovation, and (3) the discussed potential of new technologies for designing or researching creative spaces. The results provide in-depth insight into the current state of research on the topic of creative spaces. Practitioners, educators, and researchers can use the presented overview to investigate the possible impact of creative workspace design and identify research gaps that can be filled by conducting further research in the field.
... Causal Theories, Type 4. Five sources presented causal theories, outlining a causal relationship between physical workspace and creativity. (Martens, 2011;McCoy, 2005;Meinel et al., 2017;Thoring et al., 2017a). Design Theories, Type 5. Four sources presented design theories that provided concrete guidelines or principles how to design a creative space (Doorley and Witthoft, 2012;Thoring et al., 2018cThoring et al., , 2018bvan Meel et al., 2010). ...
... Education context. 12 sources focused on educational contexts, which includes kindergartens, elementary schools, as well as higher education institutions-either with or without a creative focus (Cannon and Utriainen, 2013;Doorley and Witthoft, 2012;Edström, 2014;Jankowska and Atlay, 2008;Leurs et al., 2013;Setola and Leurs, 2014;Thoring et al., 2017bThoring et al., , 2017aThoring et al., , 2016Thoring et al., , 2012aThoring et al., , 2012bvon Thienen et al., 2012). Practice contexts. ...
... The results from these three questions are summarized in Tables 1-3. ), Dul & Ceylan (2014, Greene & Myerson (2011), Groves-Knight & Marlow (2016), Haner (2005), Kohlert & Cooper (2017), McCoy (2005, Meinel et al. (2017), Oksanen & Ståhle (2013), Thoring et al. (2012aThoring et al. ( , 2012bThoring et al. ( , 2015Thoring et al. ( , 2018aThoring et al. ( , 2018c Collaboration Space Doorley & Witthoft (2012), Kohlert & Cooper (2017), Thoring et al. (2012aThoring et al. ( , 2012bThoring et al. ( , 2018a Making Space, Experimentation Space Doorley & Witthoft (2012), Groves-Knight & Marlow (2016), Leurs et al. (2013), Meinel et al. (2017), Setola & Leurs (2014), Thoring et al. (2012aThoring et al. ( , 2012bThoring et al. ( , 2017aThoring et al. ( , 2018a Thoring et al. (2012aThoring et al. ( , 2012bThoring et al. ( , 2015Thoring et al. ( , 2018aThoring et al. ( , 2018c (2008), Thoring et al. (2017aThoring et al. ( , 2018b, Törnqvist (2004) Flexible Space, Changeability Cannon & Utriainen (2013), Doorley & Witthoft (2012), Jankowska & Atlay (2008), Haner (2005), Martens (2008), McCoy (2005, Meinel et al. (2017), Moultrie et al. (2007), Oksanen & Ståhle (2013), Setola & Leurs (2014), Thoring et al. (2018b), Walter (2012) Culture of Space, Reflect Identity, Symbolic Aspects ...
Conference Paper
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This paper provides an overview of the state-of-the-art research about creative work and learning environments. We conducted a systematic literature search within the Scopus database and identified a total of 70 relevant sources discussing creative spaces within academic, practice, or other innovation environments. Among the included sources are 48 academic publications and 22 sources from company research and illustrative coffee-table books that are discussed separately. We analyse the academic sources regarding their theoretical contribution, as well as regarding their scope. Finally, the included sources are categorized according to three areas of interest: (1) the addressed space types for different creative activities, (2) abstracted requirements for creative spaces, and (3) concrete characteristics and configurations of a creative space. The results provide an in-depth insight into the current state of research on the topic of creative spaces. Practitioners, educators, and researchers can use the presented overview to investigate the possible impact of creative workspace design and to identify research gaps for conducting further research in the field.
... Está demostrado en numerosos estudios que el entorno afecta a la creatividad, es decir, se puede potenciar la creatividad de un individuo colocándolo en un entorno con los estímulos adecuados, tal y como se puede ver en las recopilaciones hechas en los trabajos de Thoring et al. (2017) o Chulvi et al (2018. Así, podemos ver trabajos que hablan de la distribución del mobiliario (McCoy y Evans ,2002), tipo de luz ambiental (Ceylan et al., 2008, Knez, 1995, o presencia de plantas (Shibata y Suzuki, 2004) Sin embargo, estos estudios se centran en la creatividad de los resultados in situ. ...
... Por ello, la enseñanza superior ha puesto su foco en la formación en estas competencias creativas a nivel universitario (Rasmussen, 2009). Esta búsqueda en cómo formar a este público más adulto se extiende más allá de la materia a impartir y la metodología docente, mirando también al espacio docente en una búsqueda del "aula creativa" (Gregory et al., 2013;Thoring et al. 2017;Richardson y Mishra, 2018). Sin embargo, se puede ver como en las aulas clásicas, las preocupaciones se han dirigido principalmente hacia los detalles técnicos o de confort tales como el efecto de la disposición de las ventanas en el confort visual y térmico (Zomorodian y Tahsildoost, 2017), la insonorización y los olores molestos (Bluyssen et al, 2018) o la configuración acústica de las aulas (Russo y Ruggiero, 2019), mientras que en la mayor parte de los centros de enseñanza superiores la disposición o configuración de las aulas sigue siendo la misma, y no se hace hincapié en la inclusión de elementos de entorno creativos. ...
Conference Paper
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Numerous studies have shown that the environment affects creativity. This means that the creativity of an individual can be enhanced by placing him or her in an environment with the appropriate stimuli. However, these studies focus on the creativity of results in situ. The present study differs from the previous ones in that the aim is to analyse the effect of this environment on the acquisition of creative skills, since nowadays most university classes are taught in conventional classrooms, without any of the so-called creative stimuli of the environment. For this purpose, the present work shows the results of a practical experience, in which a number of creativity classes in the field of design engineering have been given to two homogeneous groups of students. For the first group the classes were given in a conventional classroom, while for the second group the same classes were given in a classroom with creative stimuli. In order to compare the level of acquisition of creative skills, two groups solved the same creative problem in the same classroom without stimuli, so that it was not the classroom stimuli that influenced the creativity, but that it was only due to the competence acquired by them.
... Others use questionnaires or surveys, along with photographs of creative spaces, to empirically investigate people's self-assessment of their work environments (Bryant, 2012;Ceylan et al., 2008;Lin, 2009;McCoy and Evans, 2005;. Several authors have developed theories about the possible influence of space on creativity, mainly based on expert interviews Groves-Knight and Marlow, 2016;Martens, 2011;Oksanen and Ståhle, 2013;Thoring et al., 2017a). Some authors presented tools or guidelines for developing creative spaces (Doorley and Witthoft, 2012;Snead and Wycoff, 1999;Thoring et al., 2017bThoring et al., , 2016. ...
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Creative workspaces are becoming popular in many organizations. They are believed to support innovation efforts and creativity among employees. This paper presents spatial evidences of creative work environments from real-life organizations, based on an exploratory multi-case study in 18 institutions. The found workspaces were mapped and categorized according to the qualities they might provide for affecting creativity. The resulting inventory of creative spaces contributes to the emerging interest on creative workspace design by presenting inspiring best-practice examples. The shown examples provide the readers with a better understanding how a creative space could be designed in order to provide an environment for an innovative organisation. Related literature was added to explain the possible impact of specific spatial configurations.
... Others use questionnaires or surveys, along with photographs of creative spaces, to empirically investigate people's self-assessment of their work environments (Bryant, 2012;Ceylan et al., 2008;Lin, 2009;McCoy and Evans, 2005;. Several authors have developed theories about the possible influence of space on creativity, mainly based on expert interviews Groves-Knight and Marlow, 2016;Martens, 2011;Oksanen and Ståhle, 2013;Thoring et al., 2017a). Some authors presented tools or guidelines for developing creative spaces (Doorley and Witthoft, 2012;Snead and Wycoff, 1999;Thoring et al., 2017bThoring et al., , 2016. ...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Creative workspaces are becoming popular in many organizations. They are believed to support innovation efforts and creativity among employees. This paper presents spatial evidences of creative work environments from real-life organizations, based on an exploratory multi-case study in 18 institutions. The found workspaces were mapped and categorized according to the qualities they might provide for affecting creativity. The resulting inventory of creative spaces contributes to the emerging interest on creative workspace design by presenting inspiring best-practice examples. The shown examples provide the readers with a better understanding how a creative space could be designed in order to provide an environment for an innovative organisation. Related literature was added to explain the possible impact of specific spatial configurations.
... That way, any mentioned insights (positive or negative) regarding space types and spatial qualities could be identified. (Details about the complete interview analysis process can be found in Thoring et al. (2017) Yin, 2003) to identify peculiar spatial configurations. Those environments were photographed and categorized according to the typology of creative spaces outlined in Figure 2. 4. Evidence-based mapping. ...
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Chapter
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Thesis
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Work and study environments that facilitate creative design processes—so called creative spaces—have gained an increased interest in the past years. The question if, and if yes how the physical environment could support designerly activities, has attracted the attention of design schools, startups, and global companies. This PhD project contributes to this emerging field by providing a systemic investigation of the topic from different angles. The first part of this thesis explores the topic through four empirical studies, in order to gain a broad understanding of creative work and study environments. The second part pursues a practice-based design science approach that consolidates the findings in a workshop concept and a set of tangible artifacts to support co-creation for designing creative work environments.
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