Bringing Workplace into the Design Thinking Process

IA invites SAP’s engineers into the workplace discovery process to identify space use and work flow obstacles.
Rapid Prototyping SAP IA Sherman Takata
SAP in Palo Alto. Photo by Sherman Takata/Graphic © IA.

For the hyper flexible Deer Creek campus of SAP’s Palo Alto facility, IA’s Scrumville concept was aided by rapid prototyping sessions with end users (see previous post on Scrumville). By inviting engineers—the inhabitants of SAP’s Research and Development department—to engage in the design of their own space, IA Principals Mary Lee Duff and Aaron Wong were able to pinpoint workflow challenges the new office design aimed to address.


Scrumville is based on the idea that staff works within a menu of setting types. They are not losing a designated seat but instead are encouraged to migrate and utilize space as a tool, rather than a destination. This can take place in one area, as shown in the flexible desk configurations above, as well throughout the occupant’s day.

Image © Aaron Wong/IA Interior Architects.
Image © Aaron Wong/IA Interior Architects.

The day begins with a huddle over coffee and tea in the lounge area. Discussion is casual as teams begin their day.

Image © Aaron Wong/IA Interior Architects.
Image © Aaron Wong/IA Interior Architects.

Team members break away to work individually at workstations for a few hours.

Image © Aaron Wong/IA Interior Architects.
Image © Aaron Wong/IA Interior Architects.

The team convenes in a more formal meeting area than where they had morning coffee. They update one another on progress made, obstacles overcome, and milestones reached.

Images © Aaron Wong/IA Interior Architects.
Images © Aaron Wong/IA Interior Architects.

After lunch, the team can go for a walk on the treadmill workstations, or work quietly in comfortable lounge chairs.

Image © Aaron Wong/IA Interior Architects.
Image © Aaron Wong/IA Interior Architects.

The team finishes the rest of the day working in casual seating areas, where they can work separately or problem solve in smaller groups.

Brainstorming Together

IA will share the discovery process with SAP at CoreNet’s 2015 Global Summit, North America in Los Angeles on Tuesday, October 20.

Join Racquel Fanucchi, head of the Palo Alto campus within the Global Facility Management (GFM) team at SAP; Mary Lee Duff, principal and workplace strategy director at IA; and Aaron Wong, principal and design director at IA, as they outline the process of design thinking and lead attendees through a rapid prototyping workshop.

Building the Stratey Behind Your Workplace

If you have an interest in workplace strategy, you may just appreciate this blog article we wrote on building a workplace strategy.

IA is a global firm of architects, designers, strategists, and specialists. We focus exclusively on environments through the lens of interior architecture—a radical idea in 1984, when IA was founded. We are highly connected agents of change, committed to creativity, innovation, growth, and community.

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