Culture. Workplace. Design and Lemonade?

Lemonade. Not the kind that you drink. I mean Beyoncé’s second visual album, titled Lemonade. The album is more than a projection of a woman’s feelings, feminism and brilliant storytelling. It’s an incomparable body of work. A project that the world can’t stop talking about. Art that brought billions of people together to discuss the creative inspiration behind the arranged visuals that projected a side of Beyoncé never before seen. It evoked creativity, inspiration and verity. It’s a composition that deemed effective in not only capturing our attention, but it inspired collaboration around the world. Lemonade generated such a large buzz on social media, producing over 4.1 million tweets in 48 hours. This shows us the power of technology and its ability to create cultural moments and a sense of connectedness between people who may have never spoken if Beyoncé had not given them a reason to. So what does Beyoncé’s latest visual album have to do with the workplace?


Culture is a shared way of doing things passionately. When you think of your workplace you want it to be your Lemonade. You want your workplace to redefine how others interact. You want to create a space that focuses on encouraging collaboration between employees, fostering innovation, creativity, strong work ethics, and a sense of connectedness. Simply put, culture is what defines an organization’s personality. It is the foundation and more or less how an organization will be remembered years from now.

If Beyoncé can spend hours creating mood boards for Lemonade why can’t we?” – Glara Ahn - Lead Designer for Dropbox

The reference to Lemonade was only one of many brilliant topics discussed at The Registry’s event, Culture. Workplace. Design. Hundreds of us gathered together to explore how technology firms are rethinking the way we work and interact in the workplace. Informative to say the least. Hearing Art Gensler speak and share stories about the late Steve Jobs was certainly a major highlight of the entire morning. With all of the information shared I decided to highlight 4 key points from the event that I felt were most important.

Technology is a tool, not a solution.” – Art Gensler

Sharing his industry perspective, Art Gensler shed light on how he felt technology is nearly a tool for redefining workplace culture, but not the overall solution. He expressed that there is far too much emphasis on the tools that help shape the culture opposed to focusing on more operative solutions that have less to do with technology. With the right planning and implementation, technology can be used to enhance an organizations strengths, but should not be viewed as an end all be all solution. Our growing connectivity virtually, ultimately grows to effect face to face collaboration within the workplace, the very thing we work to create. 

Technology means serving the human and not the other way around.” – Glara Ahn - Lead Designer for Dropbox

Collaborative Open Spaces Are Essential to the Workplace  

Almost all of the panelist spoke on the importance, relevance and effectiveness of collaborative open spaces. Here at One Workplace we believe that your organization should constantly evolve. We specialize in creating functional, flexible, and smart workspaces that will give our clients the ability to work together and collaborate within their workplace. The way people work and how businesses operate has changed immensely over the years and continues to. This means rethinking interaction. Designing different amenities within the workplace that encourage or nearly force employee interaction. At One Workplace, we believe in implementing the same solutions in all of our offices as well. It all boils down to private offices vs. open spaces. Less offices mean less ownership, which means more connectedness and collaboration.

Secret Spaces Are a Real Thing

September of 2015 we hosted ONEder here at One Workplace. It was a celebration of creativity by artisans and manufactures through storytelling and idea sharing. At ONEder there were a lot of amazing guest speakers. Andrew Gordon, animator for Pixar and the brains that introduced to the world the power/importance of secret spaces was one of many to speak. The first of many secret spaces that Andrew created all started in his office at Pixar. A space that was adorned with his own personal touch, filled with things that he was passionate about. Later, his hole in the wall through an air conditioning vent turned into a collaborative space that everyone from Steve Jobs, famous musicians and athletes visited. Andrew went on create many other secret spaces throughout the company. His imaginative way of thinking was the beginning of change to how people interacted in the workplace. Now, organizations all over are creating spaces where employees are being inspired beyond the ordinary. Designing and creating areas in the workplace that foster innovation. Secret spaces are where the culture can thrive creatively and organically. Which in my opinion are the tools that hearten strong work ethics.

Culture is Your Company’s Lifeline

Joan Price the managing director for Gensler mentioned a Letter that was sent to the entire staff of Airbnb back in 2013, titled “Don’t F* Up the Culture.” A letter sent with the intent to inspire the team of Airbnb was later rethought. Brian Chesky, CO-Founder and CEO later decided to post the letter publically to inspire entrepreneurs beginning the process of building their own company cultures.

The thing that will endure for 100 years, the way it has for most 100 year companies, is the culture. The culture is what creates the foundation for all future innovation. If you break the culture, you break the machine that creates your products.” – Brian Chesky

Co-founder, CEO of Airbnb