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Office Evolution: How the Built Environment Drives Innovation

By: Alan McLenaghan

Jun. 1, 2016

I had the opportunity to speak at the Chief Innovation Officer Summit in San Francisco a few weeks ago. It was a great event and more than 200 executives from some of the most innovative companies in the world were in attendance. Companies attending or presenting at the conference included Adobe, Cisco, Google, Lilly, MasterCard, Panasonic and Qualcomm.

Each year, the goal of the Summit is to bring leaders from a range of industries to collaborate to inspire change as well as facilitate productive, cross-industry brainstorming sessions. Some of the topics discussed at this year’s Summit included enabling internal innovation, identifying and capitalizing on new opportunity and diversity in the workplace.

In my presentation, I challenged attendees to think beyond the latest strategies to drive innovation, and instead, look at how the workplace environment can impact innovation and productivity. Companies that want to spur innovation must challenge the conventions of the traditional office environment by creating spaces built to benefit employees, above all else – because the people are the most important part of your business. 

On average, corporate offices spend over 100 times more on people than on energy costs, and 90 percent of cost per square foot of space is devoted to salary. Leading companies are focusing more on maximizing productivity per square foot by increasing employees’ access to sunlight and views of the outdoors through biophilic design.

Our dynamic glass (SageGlass) falls into the category of biophilic design because it provides building occupants with unobstructed views of the outdoors and access to natural daylighting. In terms of the workplace, employees in office environments with access to natural elements such as greenery and sunlight are 6 percent more creative and 15 percent more productive as well as experience a higher-level of overall well-being. Furthermore, 93 percent of employees said a daylit space had a positive impact on their business performance and 93 percent of employees agreed that access to natural daylighting makes it easier to collaborate in the workplace.

With our electrochromic glass providing access to natural daylighting and views of nature - resulting in benefits such as increased productivity, mental restoration and decreased employee absenteeism - SageGlass has the potential to transform the future of the modern workplace.

More and more, innovative companies are investing in better spaces for their employees because it can have a favorable impact on business morale and results. Creating a workspace that connects employees to the natural environment is not just a trending luxury; it’s a sound economic investment in health, productivity and innovation.