How to design transformative scientific spaces? Put people first

April 28, 2017 Sanjana Saluja

Designing a research lab means attention to the details of equipment planning, environmental health and safety (EH&S) and the processes that support science. However, in turning the attention to achieve that basic functionality, design often fails to prioritize a science organization’s most valuable assets: its people. Building Design + Construction explores how a transformational lab environment can be achieved by focusing on people. 

       

Inspired by the user experience design approach pioneered by tech companies, our design process now considers how scientists initially interact with, and continue to stay engaged with, their environments. Three elements of this user-centric process drive a deeper understanding of the functional necessities to improve the work experience and seed innovation.

ESTABLISH A COMMON LANGUAGE

Across the broad array of clients that we work with, the convergence of scientists of different areas of expertise is a common thread. For example, many companies known for chemistry are now using biotech industry techniques to develop their own processes and products. Scientists from different fields have developed distinct dialects, and while there can be similarities among them, the diversity of these dialects creates barriers.

By structuring initial user conversations to encourage engagement, we establish a common language, finding otherwise missed opportunities for optimization. With this strategy, we uncover and break down complex issues and link information, so that the different parties can collaborate and develop shared processes. We find this type of engagement especially useful when working across organizational teams of scientists, engineers, human resources and EH&S professionals.

Click here to discover how lab design can prioritizes a science organization’s most valuable assets: its people.

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