As part of the InnovationSpace program, interdisciplinary teams of five undergraduate students from the areas of business, engineering, graphic design, industrial design, and sustainability are responsible for creating a product idea that addresses a societal need. My team, Flo, was tasked with finding a product/service solution that will increase collaboration or creativity in a workplace environment. After deciding as a group how to define collaboration—working with others to achieve a common goal—and creativity—getting to an end goal in a different way than is expected—we spent the fall 2014 semester researching pain points and areas of interest for potential customers and users. We learned that one of the barriers to productivity for our target users in startups and mature corporations is that they often lack the right mix of private and collaborative spaces. From this insight, we created a product system called Trenz.
There are benefits and drawbacks to both collaboration and individual work. Trenz sits at the intersection of both work styles, thus aiming to negate the downsides of both and harness their benefits based on real-time user needs. Holistically, the corporate workplace furniture industry is stagnant, despite several trends that pave the way for future innovation. Even though studies are consistently released on the benefits of natural light, flexibility, and activity in the workplace, the furniture industry has not yet responded with a solution that successfully solves all three while keeping the user in mind. As such, Trenz is a product-service system with the potential to create a new segment in the market because of its user-centric design, the support of individual/group work dynamics, and its feature set that can accommodate a diverse group of users.