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In November 2017, Steelcase announced the opening of its new Learning + Innovation Centre in Munich, capping a multi-year planning effort and bringing together employees from across the region in a 14,400 square metre space designed to promote learning and spark innovation. As organisations recognize the importance of face-to-face interactions and shift back to centrally-located business hubs, Steelcase opened this location to propel growth within its own organisation – and to give customers a first-hand look at how space can impact work.

This opening comes at a time when leaders and organisations worldwide are focused on staying ahead in a disruptive economy. To stay competitive and effectively innovate, organisations must become more agile and speed up the flow of information and cycles of learning to take risks and make better, faster decisions.

The centre brings together over 230 employees representing 25 different nationalities from groups previously dispersed throughout Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA). Munich’s geographic centrality, superb infrastructure, transportation capabilities and thriving design scene contributed to site selection, enabling Steelcase to create a primary space connecting people in pursuit of learning and innovation.

“Creative work and innovation happens when trust is built. So, we designed a place where people could come together from all over Europe to build relationships, learn, fail and grow together. We believe this is central to innovation, but it’s not just for us — it’s for our customers, too. It gives them a place to experience real work as it’s happening and to see how space can support and accelerate business results.”

Jim Keane, president and CEO of Steelcase.

The Campus

The three-building campus was designed by a diverse, international team of experts including Henn Architects, Munich; Patrick Jouin and Manku Design, Paris; and the Steelcase Design Team.

Features include:

  • A centrally located WorkCafé provides a dynamic space that revolutionises the traditional corporate cafeteria. With a coffee bar, barista and an eclectic collection of settings spread over two levels, the WorkCafé is a place for workers to interact, work or take time to socialise and rejuvenate.
  • Steelcase’s executive team is located near the WorkCafé, on the first floor in an open-plan space where people constantly pass through and meet. Its location and informal design make executives more visible, encouraging frequent interactions with employees and visitors and helping leaders stay closely connected to the business.
  • Cloud-enabled technology throughout the campus allow ideas to travel from space to space and make it possible to include remote participants from around the world in the innovation process.
  • A virtual reality tour provides visitors a look at product development and gives them ideas for their workplaces.
  • An ecosystem of interconnected and interdependent environments was purposefully designed to support the needs of both individuals and teams by bringing them together and seamlessly integrating technologies they need to work.
  • Multiple informal spaces throughout the Centre and several specialised classrooms promote collaborative and individual learning. A distance-learning classroom and videoconferencing rooms ensure learning happens both globally and locally throughout the day.

“People are more alike than they are different. We’re all creative, we all teach and we all learn. So, when we come together to do these things in one place, innovation happens more easily. We’re excited to have both Grand Rapids and Munich fueling growth and can’t wait to see the global impact of these facilities.”

Jim Keane, president and CEO of Steelcase.

To know everything about tomorrow’s world of work, we strongly recommend the ultra-documented reading, the 306° magazine of our partner Steelcase!

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