About Innovation Places

We help people understand, measure, predict and improve Organizational and Workplace Dynamics that stimulate creativity and innovation.

Our Company

Innovation Places (IP) is an international consultancy, dedicated to helping organizations tackle strategic real estate and workplace culture challenges through sustainable solution delivery. We help people understand, measure, predict and improve Organizational and Workplace Dynamics that stimulate creativity and innovation. IP supports Portfolio Planning, Advanced Workplace Solutions, Innovation Strategies & Analytics, and Organization and Workplace Transformations.

IP has representation in the United States, France, and the United Kingdom. Through our global partner network and a multi-disciplinary approach, we are positioned to assist our clients with an integrated service offering rooted in creative discovery.

Through years of experience working with Fortune 100 multinationals, our team provides unique approaches to promoting innovation.

Our Mission

It is our mission to foster creative and productive knowledge worker environments that help organizations maximize the value of their greatest assets: “their people”.

Our Style

We are thoughtful people unlimited in our creativity. We meditate, we dance, we jump in the air and sometimes we never sleep! We lean on the side of awesomeness delivering results that set industry standards.

The People of Innovation Places

  • Paul Janssenswillin

    Paul Janssenswillin

    Principal Innovator, R&D
    Paul Janssenswillin
    Mail LinkedIn

    "The value of science done in a good lab is an order of magnitude more than its life-cycle cost.

    A laboratory's life-cycle cost is an order of magnitude more than its construction cost."

    A chartered architect, Paul has wide technical and managerial experience in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries gained over 21 years working in the design, engineering, construction and validation of life science facilities.

    A process architect by background, Paul has been responsible for the Site Master Planning and led the concept design of major R+D and manufacturing facilities for many of the major pharmaceutical companies including; Amgen, Abbott Laboratories, GlaxoSmithKline (R&D, Pharmaceutical, Consumer Health and Biologicals), Janssen Pharmaceutica (J&J), Schering Plough (Merck), Pfizer, and Wyeth (Pfizer). In addition, he has worked on numerous projects for CMO organizations and Generics manufacturers such as Lonza, Covance and TEVA.

    Q&A with Paul:

    Q1: What is a sustainable laboratory?

    The most sustainable lab is the one that was never built. If you have to build one, then it should be as small as possible. Size determines its running cost. Once you have fixed the size, you need to ensure that the lab will be flexible. i.e built in a way that means it can be altered without the need for further capital. Flexibility really reduces a lab’s life-cycle cost and empowers the scientists in it.

    Q2: So a good lab is a small one?

    Sort of. A good lab is one which helps the scientists in it to innovate; to have ideas and to use them. The size of a lab is determined by the amount of scientific equipment. So to keep lab sizes down you need to encourage equipment sharing, which has the side effect of encouraging the formation of social relationships in the lab. It is these social relationships that are the key to a scientific productivity.

    Q3: What else makes a good lab other than small size?

    To aid communication, you need to ensure that there are good sight lines. People who can see each other talk more. It is also helpful to design the lab in such a way that people can hold impromptu meetings and write up their work without having to leave it.

    Q4: How can something as complex as a laboratory be flexible?

    There are two parts to flexibility. Firstly there is what is above the ceiling – to have a flexible space, one must uniformly distribute the services across the area. Secondly there is what is below the ceiling – to be flexible, everything should be on wheels, and plug into ceiling. None of this is difficult to achieve. What requires specialist knowledge and experience is achieving this flexibility without incurring a cost premium. This is something Innovation Places can help people with.

  • Siobhan Harold Fink

    Siobhan Harold Fink

    Principal Innovator
    Siobhan Harold Fink
    Mail LinkedIn

    "Keep agile, and encourage your people to be mobile!"

    During her career, Siobhan has primarily focused on helping clients to recognize real estate as an asset to doing business rather than just a cost center.  In this arena she has provided clients with execution ready real estate operational and strategic plans.  She has served as a strategic advisor to Fortune 500 and 1000 companies assisting them to meet corporate business objects and generate millions of dollars in associated savings.

    Her background from the Big-Four consulting firms (Deloitte and Ernst & Young), and as a Corporate (Pfizer and Nielsen) gives her a unique perspective on how the concept of how timing and place impacts business decisions and success.

    Siobhan brings an in-depth knowledge base balanced across several core Corporate Real Estate disciplines including: Portfolio Solutions, Workplace Strategies, Organization & Workplace Transformation,  and Transaction Management.

    Q&A with Siobhan:

    Q1: What else do I need to think about other than cost when buying or leasing space?

    Big subject, but to be brief, you need to ensure that you are in the right place, that you have enough flexibility to cope with whatever the future is going to throw at you and that the new space makes sense in the context of your current property portfolio.

    Q2: OK, taking thing one step at a time, what is the right place?

    Firstly there are the practicalities: the space needs to be near your staff, and near people you might need to recruit in the future. It needs to be connected (with good road, public transport and internet links). Secondly, it needs to be where your staff want to be – for example people often run into problems after setting up satellite offices because everyone wants to be in the mother-ship, which is “where its at”. And finally, and increasingly importantly, it needs to be in a location that will aid productivity and encourage innovation.

    Q3: How can an office’s location affect innovation or productivity?

    The bigger the city you locate in, the more productive your staff will be. This is a well researched network effect. Being in a city helps your people build and maintain large and diverse social networks outside of the firm, this will boost idea generation and productivity. Ideally you should surround your staff with people who can help them.

    Q4: So that office in an out of town park may not be the steal it looks like?

    It may be a good deal, but you need to be careful. Get it wrong and you might find millennials avoiding you as an employer, that your enterprise CO2 footprint is large, and that you are incurring costs like restaurants that other firms in more built up areas are avoiding. You may also find that off-loading the space is very difficult – not all real estate is an asset, if there is no demand for your space then its a liability.

  • Roland Openshaw

    Roland Openshaw

    Principal Innovator
    Roland Openshaw
    Mail LinkedIn

    "The value of the work done in a typical office is 20 - 30 times the cost of the office.

    We need to focus on the work, not the real estate."

    A chartered engineer, Roland has wide technical and managerial experience in the pharmaceutical and food industries gained over 30 years working in the design, engineering, construction and operation of complex technical facilities.

    A long time champion for flexibility, he commissioned Pfizer’s first ever flexible laboratory which became a benchmark for global best practice.

    Q&A with Roland:

    Q1: What is a good workplace?

    A good workplace is a social place. Workplaces should help people build and leverage diverse social relationships, as well as being appropriate for the work being done.

    Q2: Social? Shouldn’t people concentrate on working?

    Knowledge workers with a lot of social relationships at work are more aligned, happier and more engaged. They get more done and come up with more ideas to improve, so you do want them to be building friendships at work.

    Q3: What do you think of a typical open-plan office?

    These days most offices seemed to be designed for quiet concentration and not socialization. Yes, there is a need to provide people with places for solo, concentrated work, but we also need to provide places for collaborative work, places that encourage information sharing and cooperation.

    Q4: Isn’t it expensive to provide this choice?

    Surprisingly, no. Best-practice workplaces, with their wide variety of working environments, can have much lower space per person metrics than more traditional layouts. You  really can have the win-win of happy productive people and low real estate costs.

  • Nathaniel Bulkley, PhD

    Nathaniel Bulkley, PhD

    Principal Innovator
    Nathaniel Bulkley, PhD
    Mail LinkedIn

    "Much of workplace design is based on faith, fad and fashion.

    Its too important for that. We need to measure,to experiment and to learn."

    During his career, Nat has primarily focused on helping clients apply insights at the intersection of human networks, economics and technology to improve organizational agility and performance.  He has provided clients with analytics and frameworks that improve decision making and collaboration and served as an advisor to innovation initiatives that have enabled new strategic capabilities.  His background from award-winning original research on knowledge worker productivity, to the practical application spanning a diverse range of Corporate challenges, gives him a unique perspective on promoting effective change and accelerating innovation.

    Q&A with Nat:

    Q1: Social networks? That’s all about Twitter and Facebook isn’t it?

    Those are social networks of sorts, but what I am interested in are the day-to-day, who-knows-who, social networks that exist in the workplace.

    Q2: Why are these networks important?

    Who you know will affect your job performance. Your social network will determine what you know, and how easy it is to get things done. On a team level, the nature of the network in the team will affect its productivity and its propensity to innovate. On a company level the social networks map how information is flowing through the business and pinch points can be identified. These networks are easy to measure. I think that they should be measured, so people can identify opportunities to improve. Don’t wait for trouble, be proactive.

    Q3: So I need as big a personal network as possible to be successful?

    Well, its not so much size that is important, as diversity. There is little point spending the time to build a large network of people who think like you and know what you know. No, what you need is relationships with people who know different things, who think about life differently. Your relationships should span organizational and geographic boundaries. That way you will have access to new information, which will spur your creativity.

    Q4: How can these internal networks be measured?

    There are many different ways. You can use data from companies’ email servers, you can do web surveys or you can give people intelligent badges.  If you do web surveys you have a lot of choice about what to ask them, from the simple “who do you talk to” to the more complicated “who would you go to to discuss a new idea”. Innovation Places can help you choose the method appropriate to your issues and help you formulate action plans for any issues that the surveys bring to light.