European hub will give employees and visitors a first-hand view of how Steelcase is using space to learn, innovate and grow in a disruptive environment
Steelcase has announced the opening of its newest Learning + Innovation Center (LINC), capping a multi-year effort to bring together employees and propel global growth. The new LINC is the latest extension of the company’s global network, part of a geographically distributed approach to innovation. As organisations recognise the importance of face-to-face interactions and shift back to centrally-located business hubs, Steelcase designed this 14,400 square meter space to promote learning and spark innovation within its own organisation—and to give customers a first-hand look at how space can impact work.
This opening comes at a time when leaders and organisations worldwide are focused on staying ahead in a disruptive economy. To remain competitive and effectively innovate, organisations must become more agile and accelerate the flow of information and cycles of learning to take risks and make better, faster decisions. The LINC design is based on this principle—that rapid learning, creative work and agile teams are the building blocks of innovation, and the physical workplace can promote and nurture these kinds of activities.
“Creative work and innovation happen when trust is built. So, we designed a place where people could come together to build relationships, learn, fail and grow together,” said Jim Keane, president and CEO of Steelcase. “We believe this is central to innovation, but it’s not just for us—it’s for our customers, too. It gives them a place to experience real work as its happening and to see how space can support and accelerate business results.”
The centre brings together over 230 employees representing 25 different nationalities from groups previously dispersed throughout Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA). This European opening follows the successful Learning + Innovation Center in Grand Rapids, which serves as a hub for North American employees, customers and guests to explore how creative and innovative thinking can be nurtured and supported by physical space and technologies.
The three-building campus was designed by a diverse, international team of experts including Henn Architects, Munich; Patrick Jouin and Manku Design, Paris; and the Steelcase Design Team.
- A centrally located WorkCafé provides a dynamic space that revolutionizes the traditional corporate cafeteria. With a coffee bar, barista and an eclectic collection of settings spread over two levels, the WorkCafé is a place for workers to interact, work or take time to socialize and rejuvenate.
- The executive team is located near the WorkCafé, on the first floor in an open-plan space where people constantly pass through and meet. Its location and informal design make executives more visible, encouraging frequent interactions with employees and visitors and helping leaders stay closely connected to the business.
- Cloud-enabled technology throughout the campus allow ideas to travel from space to space and make it possible to include remote participants from around the world in the innovation process.
- A virtual reality tour allows visitors to experience other spaces around the world, including innovation environments usually inaccessible to guests.
- An ecosystem of interconnected and interdependent environments was purposefully designed to support the needs of both individuals and teams by bringing them together and seamlessly integrating technologies they need to work.
- Multiple informal spaces throughout the centre and several specialized classrooms promote collaborative and individual learning. A distance-learning classroom and video-conferencing rooms ensure learning happens both globally and locally throughout the day.
- Customers and guests are also invited to attend workshops designed to encourage self-discovery, inspire, and learn new ways that place can help their organization drive purpose.
“People are more alike than they are different. We’re all creative, we all teach and we all learn. So when we come together to do these things in one place, innovation happens more easily.” added Keane. “We’re excited to have both Grand Rapids and Munich fueling growth and can’t wait to see the global impact of these facilities.”
About Steelcase Inc.
Steelcase Inc is the parent company of Insightful Environments. For over 105 years, Steelcase Inc. has helped create great experiences for the world’s leading organizations, across industries. We demonstrate this through our family of brands – including Steelcase®, Coalesse®, Designtex®, PolyVision® and Turnstone®. Together, they offer a comprehensive portfolio of architecture, furniture and technology products and services designed to unlock human promise and support social, economic and environmental sustainability. We are globally accessible through a network of channels, including over 800 dealer locations. Steelcase is a global, industry-leading and publicly traded company with fiscal 2017 revenue of $3.0 billion.