The most important factor in developing the work community is creating an atmosphere that is open to new ideas and suggestions. In addition to that, you need a systematic process for selecting and refining high-potential ideas and projects. At Sponda, one idea generated by an employee grew into an interesting challenge in spatial design.

Recognising good ideas is key

Creating and implementing major development ideas in the organisational setting often seems hopelessly difficult. Fortunately, development can also start with small things. It is important to communicate new ideas in a form that others can understand and support. Few ideas are born perfectly formed, but that doesn’t mean they can’t spur new thinking. The key is to approach all ideas with an open mind and handle them systematically according to an established process.

One great example of an idea taking flight is a proposal that was submitted to Innobox, Sponda’s electronic suggestion box. The suggestion was to add new workspaces to our Helsinki office that would be appropriate for quiet individual work and tasks requiring creativity, but also inspiring and suitable for collaborative work. The proposed solution was to convert certain largely unused spaces into new working spaces that support various types of work.

New spatial design grew from an employee suggestion to an action plan ready for implementation

The suggestion was discussed by Sponda’s Innogroup according to the company’s established procedure for handling Innobox suggestions. Innogroup recognised that the idea had great potential, not only for its stated purpose of providing new workspaces for Sponda employees, but also as an opportunity to present examples to Sponda’s customers of how old business premises can be adapted to new uses and requirements. We teamed up with students in Spatial Design from Aalto University’s School of Arts, Design and Architecture as our design partners. For them, design assignments such as this one are part of the curriculum.

The designs were completed in March and presented to Sponda’s personnel, who could then vote for their favourite proposal on the company intranet. I was particularly pleased to see the extent of modern thinking on psychology, pedagogy and management that had gone into the designs proposed by the students. Next, we will finalise the plans and designs and begin their practical implementation.

A single employee suggestion has thus been refined into a practical and executable action plan.

Heli Mäkelä
Human Resources Manager of Sponda