Overcoming Prominent Pitfalls of Work Space (Re-)Design: Using a Theoretical Perspective to Reflect and Shape Practice

  • Martin SchwemmleEmail author
  • Marie Klooker
  • Claudia Nicolai
  • Ulrich Weinberg
Part of the Understanding Innovation book series (UNDINNO)


Companies are recognizing more and more the potential of work spaces to increase their employees’ creativity, well-being, and performance. However, (re-)designing work space is not an easy task and, hence, many companies ask for recommendations and advice from a researcher’s perspective. Taking these rising demands and experiences with work space design projects in organizations as a starting point, we link a practitioner’s with a researcher’s view. In this chapter we present prominent pitfalls of workspace (re-)design through the lens of theories, selected concepts, and frameworks. In particular, we deal with the three issues of (1) a too narrow understanding of work space, (2) a lack of understanding of the status quo, and (3) a missing awareness of the behavioral component of space and its potential for change management. Perspectives from theory give enhanced reflection on each issue. In addition, tools and examples allow us to transfer the theoretical knowledge into action in form of workshops or initiatives as part of a space (re-)design project. Researchers receive an overview of the issues that are relevant for practitioners and which also indicate topics for further research. Practitioners are provided with a better understanding of relevant concepts and actionable tools for their work space-related projects.



The authors want to thank Theresa Weinstein for her valuable comments to earlier versions of the manuscript and the numerous participants of our space workshops for their valuable feedback to our spatial exercises. Additional thanks to Dr. Sharon Nemeth for her copyediting support.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Martin Schwemmle
    • 1
    Email author
  • Marie Klooker
    • 1
  • Claudia Nicolai
    • 1
  • Ulrich Weinberg
    • 1
  1. 1.HPI School of Design ThinkingHasso Plattner Institute for Digital EngineeringPotsdamGermany

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