Alternative Work Styles

Lean Principles Transform Design and Operation of Animal Research Facilities

Approach Eliminates Waste, Lowers Costs, Enhances Efficiency, and Increases Flexibility

Published 3-27-2019

Using the Lean continuous improvement process to increase efficiency and productivity is seen frequently in the manufacturing and automotive sectors, but less often in animal research facilities. Those who have used Lean to overhaul animal facilities say there is a lack of understanding in the industry about how this methodology can drastically boost efficiency, lower operating costs, decrease waste, improve sustainability, enhance program flexibility, increase capacity, and lower space requirements.

Designing the Veterinary School of the Future

Texas A&M Builds in Flexibility and Prepares Faculty for Change

Published 3-13-2019

When Texas A&M created a new set of buildings for its veterinary school, it sought to provide spaces that would work for current methods of teaching sciences, but also flexibility to accommodate future change. Change, as we all know, can be difficult, so the process included not just demountable walls and flexible furnishings, but also a focus on change management among the faculty.

The Seven Steps of Innovation—and the Space Types that Facilitate the Process

Providing an Array of Settings to Match Individual Behaviors Is Key

Published 2-13-2019

Innovation has become the lifeblood of corporate and institutional longevity. Whether a disruptive breakthrough or a line extension, more often than not it is the result of an idea that follows an obscure networked path before evolving into a viable new product or business model. Facilities have a huge impact on the pace and outcome of the innovation process. A variety of spaces, each tailored to foster a specific type of activity, is essential to the innovative workplace. “At the end of the day, innovation is all about providing the right spaces to enable people to use their creative brains in the best manner to come up with new ideas,” says John Campbell, president and lead workplace strategist at the architecture firm FCA. “The design must address the human behaviors that drive the process.”

Managing Transformational Campus Renovation

Seven Steps to Workplace Innovation

Published 1-23-2019

University of Michigan transformed Weiser Hall—a 1960s brick tower with floor after floor of double-loaded, concrete block corridors—into a dynamic and flexible “center of centers” that brings together international and interdisciplinary institutes and centers so they can share space, services, and ideas. The provost’s charge was to renovate the building to create the “academic workplace of the future.” With the help of brightspot strategy and Diamond Schmitt architects, the team accomplished that mission with a seven-step formula that yielded impressive results, including an average overall productivity savings of 4.26 hours per person per week, the equivalent of every unit being able to grow its staff by 10 percent at no cost.

Designing Space for Nomadic Workers

New Workstyles Inspire a Move Toward Flexibility for Employers and Workers Alike

Published 1-16-2019

More and more, workers aren’t going to an office and sitting at the same desk Monday through Friday. Today’s architects, builders, institutions, and designers need to plan for a future in which workers are nomads—moving from one place to another within a building or campus, or showing up in the office just one or two days a week. These nomadic workers are often mobile by choice, taking advantage of the flexibility that technology has enabled for academic staff, knowledge workers, and even healthcare employees.

Creating Unique Research Facilities to Pursue the Newest Scientific Exploration

The LUX Project: Design Thinking a Mile Underground

Published 12-12-2018

Most A&E teams will never have to plan the descent of a highly sensitive, one-of-a-kind particle accelerator a mile down a wet, dark, crooked shaft to an astrophysics research facility built in a decommissioned gold mine. Or collaborate on a strategy to acquire and store the equivalent of 20 percent of a year’s production of xenon gas without making a massive one-time purchase that could trigger a drastic spike in market prices. Or order equipment from around the globe that has to be transported by ship, rail, or truck because of the exposure to radiation in flight. The professionals who faced these challenges will probably not encounter them again on future projects. However, as scientific discovery continues to push the frontiers of the unknown, the need to create unique research environments is likely to become more frequent.