Coca-Cola Workplace 2020 – Visit to AOC

What might the world and functions of innovation demand of our workplaces? How might our work environment complement – even promote and spur – the activities and necessities of an organization striving to innovate? Such questions are a major line of investigation for me and for the school where I am blessed to work – Mount Vernon Presbyterian School. And so, we explore and research in order to learn.

On Friday, April 15, 2016, I was fortunate to visit and tour the Coca-Cola Atlanta Office Complex (AOC). Thanks to friend Rodney Drinkard, who works in security and risk-management at Coke, I ventured into the Workplace 2020 transformation happening at Coca-Cola corporate headquarters, and I was accompanied by colleagues Blair Peterson, Head of Upper School, and Rosalyn Merrick, Chief Philanthropy Officer, at Mount Vernon. The time at Coke’s AOC was invaluable and incredibly thought provoking. They are doing tremendous work there to leverage brand and culture to transform space…and to create a virtuous cycle for space to build brand and culture even more purposefully.

As detailed in Design Leveraged,

Enter Workplace 2020, a massive project to instill Coke’s facility with a sense of optimism matching what consumers feel when they see the brand’s polar bears or hilltop singers. That may all sound touchy-feely, but this project is far from a feel-good exercise; the goal is to increase brand value, grow product lines faster and boost the bottom line.

From the very beginnings of our Coke tour, I was reminded of my recent visit to IDEO in San Francisco. At IDEO, the office is intentionally designed to facilitate creative collisions for collaborators. Similarly, at Coke AOC, the Workplace 2020 transformation, partly informed by input from IDEO, seeks to purposefully facilitate such creative collisions and collaborations, too. With innovation stemming from networking and associative thinking, an environment that supports bond-making rather than isolated task-doing promotes the conditions needed for enhanced innovation. Overall, the surroundings at Coke are constructed so that people will benefit from the principle of “we are smarter than me.” While individual space still exists in great quantity, the quality and number of spaces to meet, work together, share and collaborate are superb.

Two of the many things that impressed and intrigued me:

  1. The brand qualities of optimism, happiness, and sharing a Coke with a friend were expressed as part of the physical architecture and decor. The space felt alive with the culture that Coke works to exude.
  2. The degree of prototyping going on was tremendous! There were future product prototypes in numerous places, and the Workplace 2020 team was utilizing experimental space to conduct user tests for various configurations and work-pattern sites.

The photo gallery below contains my image captures from the fabulous visit to Coke AOC. I know that there will be countless views that I make to this gallery as the team at MVPS continues to research and design according to our principle and practice, “Learning demands interactive and flexible spaces.”

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Innovation as the fruit of embracing life as a multipotentialite

What if some people are hampered by having to narrow their focus? How might certain folks maximize their capacities by living at the intersections of their associative thinkings?

Emilie Wapnick gives a compelling talk about the nature of innovation and life as a “multipotentialite.” The three super powers of the multipotentialite may very well be the braid of new ideas strongly weaving a compelling life.

Outcome of a project-based pursuit – a demo of deep learning.

I’m fascinated by “Ge Wang: The DIY orchestra of the future.” It’s not so much the music he makes that fascinates me though. Watching this musician and computer scientist – but even more, watching this human being – I am struck by his curiosity, his experimentation, his integrated exploration and his interdisciplinarity.

He’s got a project, and he’s exploring. And that’s a cool way of journeying to learn.

Creativity as disobedient thought. HMW nurture curiosity over compliance?

Creativity as “disobedient thought” — wonder sparked from our human drive to question.

Questioning is the very source of creative thought. When we get into a cul-de-sac where ritual and formula do not give us the answer, then we begin to question. This beautiful, beautiful human ability. Probably the most precious thing to nurture. — Welby Ings

In his TEDxAuckland talk, “Disobedient Thinking,” Welby Ings examines a bit of the nature of typical schooling — systems biasing compliance over creativity. What is the record of time that school students are able to explore the questions that originate from within them, rather than from the initiation of an adult? How are we nurturing the nature of creativity which is disobedient thought? How are we nurturing citizens who believe questioning is actually at the heart and core of deep citizenship?

HT @TJEdwards62

Dear @MissKFitzgerald’s 1st Grade Class… #VisibleThinking #MVPSchool

Dear @MissKFitzgerald’s 1st Grade Class,

THANK YOU for my “See-Think-Wonder” Visible Thinking Routine that you created on my truck. I love it! To see the evidence of your thinking and learning is so fun and exciting.

Sincerely,

Mr. Adams

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