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Leading Apple With Steve Jobs: Management Lessons From a Controversial Genius by Jay Elliot

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Creating an Innovative Organization within a Navy Company

In the middle of 1970, the management of IBM asked me to take charge of designing a facility where all of IBM’s development programming talent and resources would be pulled together. It would have to be a place that could accommodate about 2,000 people. I was to assemble a task force to work with me in dreaming up and bringing to life a facility that would stimulate innovation, creativity, and social interaction.

I put together a group of IBM programming managers and programmers from coast to coast, and we worked together to conceive the best environment for programmers to work in, based on their own experience plus input from the employees in their own workgroups. Each of the 10 people in my group would have a single vote: there would be no pulling rank by the more senior people. Once my team had arrived at the design parameters, those would become the list of requirements that would be turned over to the architects.

Some of the key points the team arrived at form the basis for a list you might consider in planning a space for a team of innovators:

Team Common Areas

The programmers strongly expressed the need for spaces where team members could work together in discussions and brainstorming. These common areas would have amenities to stimulate thought and even a setup to allow for presentations by one or two members to the whole team.

Privacy

In addition to the common area, each member would have his own individual workspace, ...

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