What's next for the design studio?


We, like many of you, are eager to get back to having in-person interactions with our work colleagues. At the same time, we also realize that the work environment won't simply "go back to normal." How could it? Given that many teams around the world have successfully navigated a switch to remote/virtual work, what leverage do managers and corporate decision-makers have to entice their employees out of their home offices and back to the "real" office?

Creatives often thrive in a setting where they can be inspired by others and share ideas as concepts solidify. The industrial design process also is heavily reliant on in-person interactions and physical activities related to bringing ideas into reality: making things, testing things, seeing and feeling real materials, collaborative brainstorming, user testing, and so on. Now, a year into the COVID-19 pandemic, we've already seen the novel ways in which designers have adapted to a remote setting. But with vaccines currently in distribution and a light at the end of the tunnel now visible, some big questions emerge:

  • Will the standard 9-5 office setting return? 
  • Is renting or buying a big physical space for creativity to happen a thing of the past?
  • Could a resurgence of shared maker spaces happen if there is a decrease in-house maker capability?
  • What methodologies from virtual can we learn from and apply to an in-person setting? What works better in-person and what works better in a remote setting?
  • Is the future of design studios different for agencies than it is for in-house/corporate teams?
  • What will change from a team leadership perspective in the future?
  • How will operational processes and project management techniques change?
  • Will creative collaboration return to pre-COVID standards or will we adopt something new?
  • Do design studios need to adopt a more fluid or virtual setting?
  • What is the biggest learning from running a virtual design studio? 
  • What values will or should creative/corporate culture accept in post-COVID work environments?

Contribute to Summer 2021 INNOVATION

We're exploring the future of the design studio in the Summer 2021 issue of INNOVATION magazine and would love to include your thoughts on a simple prompt. Submit your response by Friday, April 2, 2021. 

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