by Jim Keane
Growth and innovation are issues that have top priority in my discussions with business leaders from around the world. Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft, was involved in one of these discussions. Three years ago, we both just took on new roles and faced similar challenges: shifting priorities from efficiency to growth. This kind of change not only requires a redistribution of resources – it also requires a change in culture and corporate governance. At my first meeting with our management, I cited Nadella, who asked Microsoft to identify innovation potential and drive its growth.
As Nadella and I exchanged ourselves once again, we realized that our customers saw exactly the same hurdles in terms of innovation and creativity. So we asked our teams to think about collaborating with our companies to better support those who are also facing these challenges.
The global partnership we announced resulted in “Creative Spaces”, several integrated workspace solutions designed to make room for hard innovation work. This is important because we know that creativity in business is not limited to designers and product developers, but to business models and experiential designsis just as essential as for integration processes after mergers. Some describe creative work with the image of countless brainstorming sessions with sticky notes, while serious creative work involves frequent transitions between divergent and convergent thinking. People switch back and forth between teamwork in large groups and work alone or in pairs – with mobile devices or devices that are firmly integrated into the work environment. These dynamic processes require carefully designed technologies and workplaces that optimally support employees in their transitions.
Creativity in companies is not limited to designers and product developers, but is just as essential for business models and experience designs as it is for integration processes after mergers.
For the last few weeks, I have been working exclusively with the latest Microsoft technologies and have included my team in the use of sample areas, such as Surface Hub and Surface Studio. By immersing myself as a user, I was able to see how everything began to work together – making architecture, furniture, and technology easier to develop, share, and implement new ideas. This process gave the design team the opportunity to take my feedback into account and gave them additional input from customers, architects and designers to work with the Microsoft team.
I am delighted that Steelcase and Microsoft, through their collaboration and new insights, can now begin to help customers leverage their creative potential to reach a new level of productivity and competitiveness.
Find out more
Microsoft and Steelcase introduce the new “Creative Spaces” that bring space and technology together to help people develop and drive ideas.
Jim Keane is the president and CEO of Steelcase, a 105-year-old company dedicated to creating places where world leaders can unlock the full potential of their employees. During his 20 years at Steelcase, Keane held various leadership roles including COO and CFO. He is currently a member of numerous committees of organizations such as IDEO and Design Futures Council. Keane speaks and interacts with customers with great passion and develops integrated workplace cultures that move people from words to deeds.