The 3rd Dimension of Innovation Processes
Architects understand and visualize organizations and processes differently from their counterparts in management disciplines. With the increasing complexities of markets and blurring of organizational boundaries, linear models of innovation processes are unable to account for the range of possible interrelations and interdependencies. Design-led disciplines have become of interest in providing frames and ‘design’ structures for fostering innovation. Though it deals specifically with the conceptualization and realization of R&D and innovation centres, architecture has been largely overlooked in this regard. This paper explains how architects’ approach to reframing complexities, focussing on social interactions and shaping invisible patterns prior to building design offers new perspectives for innovation research. It critically reviews the changing context of innovation and relational models in the literature, and outlines the relevance of integrating spatial proximities and time for a constructive 3-dimensional representation. Via two case studies, the basic principles for the development of an integrative approach are sketched out and suggestions made for further research. The specific skill-set and thinking of architects offers a 3rd dimension of innovation processes.
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