Innovation

Creating the Link Between Learning and Innovation

The new Steelcase Learning and Innovation Center in Munich promotes empowerment, continuous learning and experimentation

Ideation Hub in Leadership Community
Leadership Community
17-0088210

Brienner Strasse 42
80333 Munich
Germany

+49 (0) 89 24881462000

info@steelcase.com

ChapterS

  1. Introduction
    1. The Central Question
  2. Work Streams
    1. The Employee Experience
    2. Learning Principles
    3. Innovation Principles
    4. Leadership Principles
    5. The Visitor Experience
  3. Design

“We are betting that investing in innovation, learning and leadership will help us grow, because we have seen it work before.”

Jim KeanePresident and CEO

Every CEO in every industry is talking about disruption: the sense that new digital technologies, the forces of globalization, the growth of new business models and the emergence of artificial intelligence are creating new winners and losers in every industry, and redefining entire industries. It’s clear, the key to survival is rapid innovation, and today an organization’s innovation capacity is contingent on continuous learning. Learning is a fundamental business skill and the faster an organization can facilitate the learning of its people and adapt to the unpredictable more quickly than its competitors, the more likely it is to succeed and grow.

This is the challenge the newest Steelcase Learning and Innovation Center (LINC) was designed and built to address in Munich.

This new facility operates as a node on the company’s global network, part of a geographically distributed approach to innovation that links localized innovation teams in Europe (previously split between Strasbourg, France and Rosenheim, Germany), the Middle East and Africa (EMEA), to leverage and share global capabilities, while also staying regionally immersed and well positioned to engage closely with nearby customers and partners. Innovation teams here work with their global counterparts at the Learning and Innovation Center in Grand Rapids, Mich., with teammates in Hong Kong and throughout the world.

An extensive renovation of existing real estate, the LINC was completed in fall 2017. It brings together EMEA leaders and employees in research, design, marketing and support functions, and incorporates the company’s latest research, ideas and solutions to allow employees to better share insights, experiment around ideas and risk failure, as a path to learning and ultimately successful outcomes.

LINC serves as an organizational incubator where people can build stronger networks with each other and more effectively collaborate with counterparts around the world.

This case study examines how the LINC was conceived, the principles that were developed and the process used to create a new energy, momentum and presence for the company in EMEA and beyond.


NEXT CHAPTERThe Central Question



Innovation

Longpage – Creating the Link Between Learning and Innovation

The new Steelcase Learning and Innovation Center in Munich promotes empowerment, continuous learning and experimentation

Ideation Hub in Leadership Community
Leadership Community
17-0088210

Brienner Strasse 42
80333 Munich
Germany

+49 (0) 89 24881462000

info@steelcase.com

ChapterS

  1. Introduction
    1. The Central Question
  2. Work Streams
    1. The Employee Experience
    2. Learning Principles
    3. Innovation Principles
    4. Leadership Principles
    5. The Visitor Experience
  3. Design

“We are betting that investing in innovation, learning and leadership will help us grow, because we have seen it work before.”

Jim KeanePresident and CEO

Every CEO in every industry is talking about disruption: the sense that new digital technologies, the forces of globalization, the growth of new business models and the emergence of artificial intelligence are creating new winners and losers in every industry, and redefining entire industries. It’s clear, the key to survival is rapid innovation, and today an organization’s innovation capacity is contingent on continuous learning. Learning is a fundamental business skill and the faster an organization can facilitate the learning of its people and adapt to the unpredictable more quickly than its competitors, the more likely it is to succeed and grow.

This is the challenge the newest Steelcase Learning and Innovation Center (LINC) was designed and built to address in Munich.

This new facility operates as a node on the company’s global network, part of a geographically distributed approach to innovation that links localized innovation teams in Europe (previously split between Strasbourg, France and Rosenheim, Germany), the Middle East and Africa (EMEA), to leverage and share global capabilities, while also staying regionally immersed and well positioned to engage closely with nearby customers and partners. Innovation teams here work with their global counterparts at the Learning and Innovation Center in Grand Rapids, Mich., with teammates in Hong Kong and throughout the world.

An extensive renovation of existing real estate, the LINC was completed in fall 2017. It brings together EMEA leaders and employees in research, design, marketing and support functions, and incorporates the company’s latest research, ideas and solutions to allow employees to better share insights, experiment around ideas and risk failure, as a path to learning and ultimately successful outcomes.

LINC serves as an organizational incubator where people can build stronger networks with each other and more effectively collaborate with counterparts around the world.

This case study examines how the LINC was conceived, the principles that were developed and the process used to create a new energy, momentum and presence for the company in EMEA and beyond.



Creating the Link Between Learning and Innovation

The Central Question

How can Steelcase create a work experience that inspires and connects colleagues and customers across functions and locations, that promotes experimentation and continuous learning?

core statement of project intent

It was clear from the start that this project was about much more than adding real estate. The new Learning and Innovation Center (LINC) is intended to fundamentally change how Steelcase EMEA operates, and leaders knew the LINC had to be a stage for meaningful and memorable experiences—for employees, leaders, customers, architects and designers, Munich residents and other visitors. Before any architectural blueprint could be created, a human-centered experience blueprint was needed to purposefully guide the design.

To gain clarity on how to proceed, the 24-month planning effort began with a cross-functional, in-depth design thinking process that centered on achieving a deep understanding of various users’ needs and wants–what might truly inspire, support and delight those who would be working in the LINC, as well as those who would be visiting.

As defined by IDEO’s Tim Brown, design thinking is a “human-centered approach to innovation that draws from the designer’s toolkit to integrate the needs of people, the possibilities of technology and the requirements for business success.”

The Team

A team was created to oversee the entire project and 10 work streams were identified: design, communications, learning and development, customer experience, facilities, model shop, applied research, IT, change management and finance.

The team kicked off the project by developing a central question–defining the problem the new space would have to solve:

“How can Steelcase create a work experience that inspires and connects colleagues and customers across functions and locations, that promotes experimentation and continuous learning?”

Each work stream progressed in parallel and through a series of workshops conducted by the Steelcase Applied Research team. Five key areas were identified that would be critical to the LINC’s success: employee experience, learning, leadership, innovation and visitor experience.

Five teams were then formed to each formulate a framework of actionable principles to inform the design of the LINC.

Communications Strategy

To build momentum and provide complete transparency to employees during the entire process a global communications strategy was developed. Activities included town hall meetings, the LINC intranet communications portal where regular updates appeared and employees could submit questions and view documentary-style videos showing what was happening and why.


NEXT CHAPTER – The Employee Experience
PREVIOUS CHAPTER – Introduction


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