Outgrowing Your Workspace


Everything doesn’t fit onto our screens. The glare and reflections that bounce off the glass and plastic protectors on our phones, tablets, laptops, and flatscreens creates barriers between us and our content. We don’t notice this. As I’m writing this on my computer I can see everything behind me, including myself, in any of the dark backgrounds in the corners of my digital work area. Our minds made the adjustment way back in the day with television sets and Pac Man game consoles.

I’m thinking about foregoing the projected slide stack in favor of a return to giant pieces of paper, chart pads, chalk boards, covering whole walls with white board paint, or bringing back the chalk board. The record player made a comeback – right?

The workspace is not the office. You have to be able to open up its wings, make a mess, get things so they overlap. This is how we come upon the new connections that lead to the solutions we didn’t know we needed. We’re at the point where we should be able to fling data, like Jackson Pollack paint, onto a wall or floor or ceiling and step back to see how our brain puts it back together again. We need the space to do this.

This happens naturally in our Theater of Inclusion residencies. We start on the table and find ourselves on the floor because we just have to amplify our thoughts and make our ideas bigger. The table won’t hold the giant piece of paper with the growing idea. The cabinet and the computer locks away our images when we need the chance to live with them for a while. Shared space isn’t just for creating a unique and socially gratifying work environment. Shared space is about putting out what’s buried. We need a closer look at what’s inside us. And we need the experience of seeing just how quickly a little idea can become a critical unifying point among a group of people working together.