On September 15th we experienced a “method day”. Vannesa Ahuactzin, Cultural Planner at Gehl together with David Carlson, founder of Designboost, planned and facilitated the day.
The method days happens twice a year. They are a meant to bring the Gehl Office together to discuss relevant topics. This method day was about discovering ways to build a mindset of knowledge gathering and innovative practices within.
+Why is it important for office to experience a method day?
We travel a lot and work independently in many ways. This time of coming together to discuss, put our minds on a topic together for a whole day, is very valuable to the people who work at Gehl. It is about pushing the boundaries and developing new ways to gather and approach knowledge.
+Why explore the theme of knowledge and innovation?
Knowledge is important to our business. We focus on changing knowledge to innovation. The core of the day was to understand how we can find new knowledge, how we work together and apply knowledge to our projects and thinking. Knowledge is a strange thing; it is nothing and everything, it is everywhere and nowhere. In fact it is very much here [we are talking together by the yellow table at the office library], but it doesn’t mean anything until someone uses it. What’s interesting is trying understanding that mental and practical process of changing knowledge to innovation, and by having this method day, we can go deeper into this topic.
+The day was planned as a workshop – Why do you think this structure was fruitful in dealing with this specific theme?
Workshops are about bringing people together to discuss different matters or themes. The success lies in our ability to create an environment of openness that allows the participants to freely express their ideas. But it is also crucial to create a sense of expectation and to push the boundaries of what people already know. When they get tired, they get more honest. From the beginning of the day we made our expectations and gave the participant’s parameters to produce their ideas. We divided the day into smaller working groups, had two working sessions with presentations and discussions. By doing this you take the temperature of the discussion – how is it going? And it gets more dynamic and exhausting J
+What came out of it?
Lots of good ideas that we can keep pushing forward. Innovation is like a cake: You are continuously building up the layers. The method day brought a lot of the ingredients and layers, but we are still working on making the rest of the cake. Sometimes the actual answers that come out of the day – the well-worked sheets themselves – are not the most interesting output. It’s was behind them, the interpretations of the presentation, the small comments, seeing how the behavior changes. Going beyond the unexpected.
Emmy: For me the most unexpected was that innovative practices are about the workspace culture. It is about how people at the company work together and how they share their knowledge. Vannesa: It is about how children are taught to share. Are they hiding their findings from each other or are they open? Are they willing to discuss before the unfinished? If you want to be innovative, you must break the practices and change the minds by coming together and pushing the boundaries. Basically creating a culture where people take up something and change it into something new.