Current Issue
This Month's Print Issue

Follow Fast Company

We’ll come to you.

Science Suggests That Wacky Office Designs Really Do Increase Creativity

Yet more reason to hate cubicles: They’re lousy at firing your imagination. According to a team of researchers at the University of Michigan and NYU:

We asked 102 undergraduates at New York University to complete a task designed to measure innovative thinking. The task required them to generate a word ("tape," for example) that related to each of three presented clue words ("measure," "worm" and "video"). Some students were randomly assigned to do this while sitting inside a 125-cubic-foot box that we made of plastic pipe and cardboard. The rest got to sit and think outside (and next to) the box.

During the task we tracked the number of correct responses suggested by the students. We found that those thinking outside the box were significantly more creative: compared with those thinking inside the box, they came up with over 20 percent more creative solutions.

So maybe there’s something to all those studiedly zany offices, after all (besides the in-house massage parlor).

[Read more in the New York Times; [i]Image: Sukharevskyy Dmytro/Shutterstock]

The Fast Company Innovation Festival