Module 5 has been a fascinating insight into the creative culture of organizations, especially outside of education. Office space is so important as how it is filled directly influences the work and creative culture of an organization. Flexibility (both in work practice and design such as movable furnishings) is a key feature, as too is comfort, functionality and providing spaces to show visible thinking at work such as the project/war rooms (Doorley & Witthoft, 2012 p.142; Knapp, J. 2014, May 1 ; McIntosh, E. 2014). As David Kelley remarks in the opening forward to Make Space, “Consciously or not, we feel and internalize what the space tells us about how to work” (Doorley & Witthoft, 2012, p. 5).

Certainly a larger number of educational institutions are taking on board these design features to create innovative learning spaces such as learning commons in universities and schools (Crook, C. & Mitchell, G. 2012, June;  Elmborg, J. K. 2011, Summer; Forrest, C. & Hinchcliffe, L.J.,2005, Summer).

The culture of an organization can help the development of new creatively designed spaces by providing professional development to promote understanding of the design thinking process which is implicit in using these spaces. Teachers and students must know the intended uses and how the new or re-conceived space/s can be best used to achieve desired outcomes (State of Victoria, 2008, 12). As Monahan stated the creation of flexible spaces does not necessarily guarantee flexible practices either (Monahan, 2002, 6). This ties in with the importance of the leadership of an organization.

However, it can also hold back development by continuing with traditional practices or even the creation of traditional designs. It is interesting that schools will still design ‘the whiteboard’ (as moving on from the chalkboard) at the front of the classroom within new or re-conceived learning spaces. Imagine if all the walls allowed for whiteboards or ideapaint/showerboards to show student’s visible thinking rather than their finished products. Two of the most effective classrooms (& teachers) I have observed, have utilised the walls by covering them  with post it notes or huge butcher’s paper graphic design to show student thinking – including students using chalk paint to write on the windows to explore their ideas and understandings.

5wi wall chart


Brown, T. (2009). Change by design. How design thinking transforms organizations and inspires innovation. New York:HarperCollins e-books.

Brown, T., & Katz, B. (2011). Change by design. Journal of Product Innovation Management, 28(3), 381-383.doi:10.1111/j.1540-5885.2011.00806.x

Crook, C. & Mitchell, G. (2012, June). Ambience in social learning: student engagement with new designs for learning spaces, Cambridge Journal of Education, 42(2) 121-139.

Doorley, S. & Witthoft, S. (2012). Make space: how to set the stage for creative collaboration. New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons.

Elmborg, J. K. (2011, Summer). Libraries as the spaces between us: recognizing and valuing the third space. Reference & User Services Quarterly, 50(4). Retrieved from:

Forrest, C. & Hinchcliffe, L.J. (2005, Summer). Beyond classroom construction and design: formulating a vision for learning spaces in libraries.Reference & User Services Quarterly, 44(4). pp. 296-300. Retrieved from:

Monahan, T. (2002). Flexible space and built pedagogy: emerging IT embodiments, Inventio, 4(1). 1-19 Retrieved from:

State of Victoria. (2008). Victorian School Design, Melbourne: Department of Education and Early Childhood.  Retrieved from: