Creating Creative Spaces—One Wall at a Time

   One of the smartest things an in-house agency can do is align itself with its facilities or building management group. Now I can’t say creative connections are what every facilities team is after, but it’s been my experience that we have a lot in common. In-house agencies and facilities groups have an inherent level of problem solving in our jobs. Both need to stretch budgets. Deadlines have real meaning. And most intriguing, they hear, “Can you pretty it up?” even more than we do.

It was with all of this in mind that I embarked on a partnership a few years ago with the facilities team at Kronos. The result? Street art and a climbing wall installed in our Indy office to appeal to younger employees. We also met the “need” for a product timeline by commissioning an artist to repurpose old products in a new way. We fashioned a wall of clocks, as a nod to the work we do tracking time globally. And we recently designed a custom-cut wall featuring an app-controlled, LED-lit corporate logo.

If you’re not taking advantage of your building to showcase your work and express your brand, consider making friends with the folks in facilities. Just remember a few things first.

Educate and empower. Educate your facilities partners on what you are trying to do creatively so they can provide a recommendation for how the space can be best used to represent the work, the culture, and the brand.

Respect boundaries. Come to the table with ideas to enhance their work, not control it. Just like we don’t want clients art directing over us, facilities experts don’t need us giving them instructions on load-bearing walls.

Offer some assistance. Facilities departments have limited budgets so offer to fund your own projects. We’ve paid for smaller things like building wraps, which gave us a bit more control and helped us prove our worth.

Champion shared wins. Share the plan and share the glory, working together to achieve both. Collaboration is as much about successful execution as it is about overcoming the occasional mistake.

And mistakes happen. In fact, we have a mirror in storage that was up for just eight hours before an executive who approved it directed us to take it down. (If you’re interested, I can get you a great deal on a 30-foot funhouse mirror that’s designed to inspire people to consider different perspectives...)

We appreciate the mutual partnership we have with our facilities colleagues. It’s a partnership that has enhanced the value our creative team delivers to Kronos—and it’s made our days more rewarding as we walk past our work, no matter where we are on campus. Who are you partnering with to create creative spaces?

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