Coming face-to-face with workplace transformation

Inviting people in to witness new work methods in action and share experiences is a powerful way to inspire workplace transformation.
As talent continues to demand more from their work environment, and businesses feel the increasing pace of change and expectations of a globalized economy, companies are required to fundamentally rethink the way they work. 

But often, many don’t know where to start. There’s only so much you can read about before you really need to see changes in action, and speak to the people experiencing these workplace shifts.

This sparked the general idea behind the “reinventing the way we work” inspiration tour we organized in June 2015. It involved a group of of 25 people from 20 different organizations (among them Deutsche Telekom, Zalando, Bundesdruckerei, SAP) taking a day-long tour throughout Berlin, dropping into organizations that are taking new approaches to work for talks and “experience exchange.”

The aim was to give the participants – primarily from HR, organizational development, innovation and product manager positions – the chance to witness how other organizations are experimenting with ways to stay agile, and inspire them to implement similar models. 

A bite-sized impression of how the day played out
One day, four inspirational spaces – Kick-off IXDS Berlin

From the first stop at our design studio in the heart of buzzing Kreuzberg, already the participants were sharing stories over coffee and expressing their excitement for the day ahead.

At IXDS, we're continuously experimenting within our own organization and, by doing so, learning some important lessons. We also work with clients to help facilitate changes in their work culture. Our Founder Reto Wettach shared some of these insights with the group, giving a presentation about startup thinking, and our former New Work Director Kaija Peters presented our findings into successful new work processes.

 “Combining an experience (visit) of our workspace, our intellectual capital (inspirational talks) and curating access to innovative spaces is a powerful experience for participants,” Kaija said.

Stop 2 – Design Research Lab, UdK

Soon it was time to hit the road and head to our second stop, soaking up some city’s sights along the way. The group visited our friends at the Design Research Lab at UdK, where Prof. Dr. Gesche Joost, the head of the Lab, has created a unique space that brings together an interdisciplinary team of researchers to bridge "the gap between technological innovations and people's real needs". For her and the team, questions around how to do create innovations are just as important in the lab as the scientific outcomes.

Stop 3 – Ottobock Future Lab

In May 2015, Ottobock and Fab Lab joined forces to create a new creative space: Ottobock Future Lab. The group took a tour of this fresh, exciting new space, on the site of the former Bötzow Brewery, and heard about how it will expand networking and collaboration between organizations, universities and other scientific institutions, and act as a breeding ground for new, creative ideas.

Through the Lab, Ottobock aims to answer some of the central questions of our time; it functions both as an incubator as well as a platform that helps young and creative talent to shape their ideas and products.

Stop 4 – GTEC

Last but certainly not least, the group arrived at GTEC (German Technology Entrepreneurship Center) to hear the visions and experiences of startup guru and Director of Education at GTEC Christoph Räthke.

GTEC is Germany’s first open campus to unite technology entrepreneurship organizations, resources and expertise in one place.


After a big day touring the city, we all enjoyed dinner together and discussed what we’d learned throughout the day.

"It was impressive to see so much and gain so many insights and experiences in a single day," one participant said.

Another commented that "It was inspiring to hear how new ideas were thought through and then simply implemented as prototypes (which I now aim to do, hopefully)"

It was clear that stepping into new environments to share experiences and visions was a powerful learning tool for all involved. We look forward to doing it all again soon!