your brainstorming room

I work at a corporation where we frequently have working sessions to brainstorm. Problem is, this is done in the same grey cubes we are always in (I at least have a window). So I have managed to get a little space for a new working room. There is a small budget, but its a complete blank slate to create a ‘brainstorming/working’ room. I have a few ideas, but I would like some more. What does your brainstorming/working room look like? Are there some items in it that you cant live without?

A few examples of things on the list so far:
Do something about the white walls, a lot of white board/pin up space. Movable walls, probably made of the white boards to allow to separate into smaller groups, diverse seating (stools, benches, couch, beanbag, whatever to keep people moving and motivated)…

I just know that I am missing some things. All ideas are welcome (it is a brainstorming room after all). Hopefully some of these ideas will help to get me some more money take make this a great space.

This stuff is nice.

This might be a little cheaper but it works very well too.

Things I like in my brainstorm:

  • snacks
  • Paper in a few sizes – A size, B size, and a couple D size sheets if I have an idea that really needs to breathe
  • Felt tip pens
  • straight-edge
  • snacks
  • giant sharpie
  • half a dozen colored markers
  • scissors
  • tape
  • snacks
  • internet access
  • personal sketch monkey

Cork boards, great for posting inspiration, keeping sketches etc…

How about a rolling cart of some sort stocked with all kinds of basic materials to make really quick and dirty models? You could also have a cart that just has all kinds of stuff for materials inspiration.

We have a number of rooms in our studio, probably 15+ brainstorm rooms that are dedicated by project or client. Each has a wall size magnetic white board. Always one glass wall so we are not so hemmed in (frequently this gets drawn on with white board markers as well. The other two walls are pin up space but we usually cover over the pin up boards with 4x8 sheets of gator board for posting post its, images, and sketches, which I like because you can move them around.

Always tons of markers and post its and paper sizes. Snacks are a must. The rooms have rolling tables as well so we can get the out, set them up in a long line so it is more like a long work station for multiple people, or configure them in a square so we can discuss things. We also have lots of those inflatable balls you sit on, those seem to be good for keeping people more active and not just leaning back in a chair…

Yo, that sounds like a great set up, I’m a little jealous now.

I don’t know if anyone caught the new “Apprentice” last night but their first task was to create a modern work space. Both were horrible (well the guys was not so bad) and what you expect from non-designers. That show always has them designing something I guess because it would be pretty boring having them create spreadsheets which is what their jobs will end up being.

It would be interesting if they had The Apprentice: B.F.A’S vs. M.B.A’s.

Personally I would wallpaper the place in white-board material, then buy a box of 4x8’ gatorfoam panels (more durable than foamcor) that you can move around. Stock the room with post-it’s and markers.

Here’s how I used a bunch recently while creating an affinity-map from ethnographic research (watch the video I created): Affinity-Mapping time-lapse - #2 by _yo

Having these as lightweight and movable boards was helpful since we could swap them around as necessary, and when we were done, we could stack them all up. I was also able to easily move them into my office for transcription.

I`d say use some colors too…all white room with a few chairs and a table is too blank imo.
It should be comfortable to be in, to get the ideas flowing. Maybe a sofa and a bowl of snacks, lots of markers everywhere 1 big table, something inspirational, etc…

My private work room/home office is quite busy looking with prototypes, sketchbooks and my rc monster trucks lying around here and there. Window opens to a nice view from 15th floor and that helps too.

“The brainstorm - a trojan horse of mediocrity”

I’ve done more brainstorms than I care to remember- Fun, but really- Where did all those man hours go?

Go for a walk, go visit something off map, talk to strangers, but spare us the post-its, markers and bonhomie.

Usually we don’t use a ‘room’. We just go outside to brainstorm. We use a big piece of paper to write down our ideas. If the weather isn’t great we go to a bar.

If it were up to me, I would gladly leave this place to help with creativity. Unfortunately that isnt really an option. I know that one of the current biggest problems is that no one will leave the mindset that they are in the office, so they are basically coffee drinking zombies. That is why I want to change the aesthetic with a little color and ‘different’. It would really ne nice to break this place of its beige/grey/fabric walls.

I think our print dept may have some gatorfoam. I will look into that as an option to use.

Light! If that can be natural then fantastic, but if not make sure that the room is well lit. I would pay for that over anything else as you can always fill the walls with inspirational images but there is nothing worse than working in a dark enclosed space. It is more likely to put you to sleep than inspire ideas.

Maybe it’s just not your way, but it works very well for the right people, especially more as a working session. When it is just open, it starts to become a little to free form for me to be productive.

I like ideating.
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