How Social Spaces Foster Creativity and Innovation

Inspiring places where people can connect and refresh

Within our fast-paced global economy, organizations feel pressure to innovate. Regardless of industry, products, or services, it’s humans that come up with ideas for innovation. They must first start with a new, creative idea—but how do these ideas surface?

Bringing smart people together is the ideal starting point. The next step is to support the activities that need to happen for ideas to generate—that means giving them both opportunities to focus (prepare, develop expertise, and plan) and restore (some call it ruminating—letting new information and experiences incubate so new ideas emerge). Once that “ah-ha” moment occurs, people need to focus again to evaluate and verify.

For creativity and innovation to flourish, space design should protect people’s ability to focus and encourage restorative behaviors by providing these types of spaces for individuals and groups:

  • Individual Focus – Where intense focused work and problem-solving occur 
  • Group Focus – Where collaboration, ideation/deep thinking, communication, and connection happen
  • Individual Restore – A space that encourages compression, regeneration, and relaxation 
  • Group Restore – A space that encourages compression, regeneration, and socializing

Organizations that value and encourage this rhythm of activities in the workplace can improve their innovation efforts—and their bottom line.


Environments that provide for the restorative activities necessary in this process are Social Spaces—flexible, communal, and inspiring, so people can gather, connect, and refresh.

At NeoCon 2019, Haworth created Social Spaces experiences for all attendees—both indoors and out. See how we designed for these spaces in our Haworth and Haworth Collection showrooms, as well as outside on the NeoCon Plaza.

See how you can create environments that support social spaces

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