Why team hubs are vital to business longevity

4 December 2019

Emma Luyt, Managing Director of Tétris South Africa, explores how modern workspaces can support the creative forces so necessary to drive innovation and remain relevant in business today.

The need for innovation to sustain a competitive edge is everywhere. It’s a global commercial imperative if companies are to buck the impact of technological disruption, reducing corporate lifespans from 60 years in the 1950s, to less than 20 years today, according to Credit Suisse. Even at the recently held World Economic Forum on Africa it was reported that if the continent is to take advantage of opportunities, it needs to “create an integrated innovation ecosystem to supercharge its economies and its communities”.

With innovation on everyone’s agenda, how can companies use their office space to encourage the culture necessary to promote next-gen ideas? And it’s not just about coming up with super-cool concepts, its executing on that idea delivery – quickly and effectively.

A space reserved for creative thinking

One of the solutions is to offer a work environment that is 100% geared to teamwork. It is in the coming together of talent (across all departments and functions) that inspiration happens, and it makes sense that a progressive office space will feature one or more team hubs. These are best described as dedicated physical environments that connect people and project with the right tools and technology.

It cannot be the office conference room, where formal meetings are booked, and the space cleared of work between forums. A proper innovation hub is an interactive space set aside to support fluid teamwork. The area is defined by vertical surfaces for displaying and storing thought processes and, most importantly, is modular, enabling the space to be rearranged on demand quickly and effectively. Think moving screens, height adjustable desks that separate and join, and mobile power units. The space is designed to embrace mobility and flexibility and shifts to allow team members to connect and collaborate, as well as break away to concentrate on a particular area of focus. It’s about harnessing the creative process with the right environment to think, explore, reflect and incubate – this is how you ensure momentum.

Balancing agility with humanity

If teamwork can influence both an employee’s growth and development and a company’s performance, the need to find a happy balance between an increasingly agile workforce and the human need for connection becomes vital. Team members need to sit together to be able to interact properly – people miss a lot of non-verbal cues in an email (a facial expression can indicate clearly what someone thinks of an idea), and the social benefits of human connection are proven.

That said, much can still be achieved by ensuring your team hubs are equipped with the necessary technology to support video conferencing, shared screens and instant messaging to ensure remote team members can participate effectively and as an integral part of the creative process. Face-to-face does, however, win first prize. It’s through human experience that you build the relationships that will foster the necessary collaboration and innovation your company needs to remain productive. Make sure you invest in a workspace that empowers your talent to keep your competitive edge.