Setting the table for innovation.
Designing physical space for impactful experiences
When you present people with familiar situations, they tend to act on autopilot. This can be a desired outcome, for example at the airport, a museum, or the grocery store. People want to feel familiar and comfortable, like they know where they are going. Even if they have never been there before.
But there are times when you want to break people out of their comfort zone to be inspired by discovery, to be immersed in the possibility of the unknown, and to break out of the norm. Where better to experiment with discomfort than at a conference on innovation and creativity.For example: a conference on innovation and creativity.
At Ignite Edmonton 2015, every element of the festival, from food to gift bags, to how people flowed through the space and the schedule of workshops, intentionally stimulated in attendees the mood and mindset needed for creative ideas and innovation.
There is no innovation formula, sequence, or code for coming up with creative and innovative ideas. Innovation comes from imagination, inspiration, and interaction - the social parts of life. So the festival had to have all three of those things baked in.
It's not about ‘here’s how you do it,’ but rather ‘here is how you need to feel and here is the mindset and environment needed for creativity.’
Whether you are organizing a retail pop up, a team meeting, or an innovation conference - the design elements should capturing a feeling. What do you want people to get out of attending? And how do you get the most out of the people who are coming?
Our mission with Ignite was to design an innovation festival not just for one sector, but to collide startups, government, big business, and academia. This meant breaking down their expectations of what a conference would be. Close your eyes and picture yourself at a conference. Making small talk at the buffet lines at lunch, a coffee table at the back of the hall, round tables for plenary sessions and classroom style breakouts.