Challenge Question

What role could we as Haworth play in incubators, accelerators and startup campuses, and how might we support the future of organizations through innovative space design and technological integration?


Challenge frame-up:

Successful organizations align their resources in three main domains – organizational (human resources, structures, work processes), technological (IS/IT, IoT, digital integration), and spatial (physical workplace, third places, infrastructure) in order to maximize their performance that affects their bottom line.

Innovations have been happening on all domains: project-based organizations (the Hollywood model), agile, scrum in the organizational; blockchain, AR, VR in the technological; and activity-based working, free-address, coworking spaces in the spatial domains, just to mention a few.

However, while almost every organization advances in technology, many of them still operate under traditional organizational structures and in traditional offices that are seen as cost centers.

Growing numbers of incubators, accelerators and startup campuses recently are changing this old way of thinking and leveraging the power of space and physical colocation to accelerate innovation and organizational growth.

While Haworth is the world leading workplace manufacturer (integrated furniture, floors, walls) that understands the importance of organizational, technological and spatial integration, we do not yet have enough experience with such spaces.


Challenge Brief

Tackling the challenge and expected outcomes:

We encourage you to brainstorm how Haworth can positively affect all three domains mentioned above, not just space design. You should be looking at three time frames:

  • What can Haworth start doing immediately (next year);
  • What should we be doing in the near future (3 years out); and
  • What should we be considering in the long term (5-10 years out)?

You should consider how, in the future, will work be organized, work processes, business practices, tools, work spaces, work patterns arranged and used, specifically to speed up innovation. You can also brainstorm a future “day in the life” of work, specifically for innovation teams. Imagine a future state of innovation, brainstorm obstacles and opportunities / benefits to that future state, etc.

We expect you to come up with concrete actionable business, technological integration and spatial solution ideas for the near term, and as you consider the long-term, ideas can be more abstract or less defined.

Outcomes can be organized ideas, suggestions, solutions, as well as design sketches, mock ups or video clips.


Suggested prep work before the Innovation Days:

– Learn about Haworth and its core business

– Check out our research on our website

– Learn about Haworth Collection (such as Poltrona Frau Group) and other affiliated businesses (such as Pablo lighting or Janus et Cie)

– Check out our technological solutions offered today (Bluescape – a Haworth business and Workware)

– Research incubators, accelerators and startup campuses online, read about the topic and reach out to advisors, mentors or acquaintances to have a basic overall understanding of such spaces.

– Visit at least one incubator and one accelerator or startup campus space in your area (obtain list and contact info from Lea Ruetzler, Innovation Days organizer), and interview the management / owner / operator to find out about their purpose / drivers, users, sponsors, selection processes, support programs (funding, office space, etc.), culture, space design, branding, processes, technologies, performance metrics / ROI, success stories, lessons learned, and future plans. Let’s collect the research insights here by creating innovation space profiles. Guidance for interviewing stakeholders is also included.


Collaboration Incentive

The winning team members will be invited to participate in a global research on incubators, accelerators and startup campuses and will have a chance to co-author papers on this topic, co-present at conferences, as well as be given proper credit for the initial idea generation.


San Francisco