Characteristics of an Ideal Work Environment

IDEO describes the sweet spot for innovation in a very simple and elegant way with the following Venn diagram.

After some reflection, I realized that the same diagram can be used to describe the ideal place to create great innovation.

  • Business – Secure job, livable wage, health benefits, business transparency
  • Technical – Smart people, right tools/languages for the job, courage to change with the industry, learning organization
  • Human – Energetic office space, ability to make a difference, autonomy, organizational alignment, shared values, fun

The intersection of business, technical and human seems to be the sweet spot for an ideal job. What do you think?

  • Isaac Watson says:

    Iterations of the same thing have been popping up all over the place, and it’s true! My friend Willo used a similar venn diagram when talking about finding her career “sweet spot” and I see a direct correlation:

    Desirability = Human = What You Love (Passion)
    Feasibility = Technical = What Comes Easily to You (Skill)
    Viability = Business = What Pays You Well (Money)

    But I especially enjoy her in-between notes.

    • Thanks for sharing Issac. I love Willo’s in-between notes (not sustainable, potentially miserable, lacks passion). That was brilliant.

  • John Rumery says:

    Maybe a fourth circle would be the external community. Living in a vibrant city, with arts, foods, great schools, diversity, recreation, can make an average “job” great and a great “job” inspirational. A city with a high quality of life certainly adds to the work environment. (no offense to Gary, IN, but I don’t think AO would be same nestled in that urban setting)

    • That is a valuable point John. External community is key for job satisfaction (especially if you do not have a family connection in an area). I wonder if it should be it’s own circle or part of desirability/human?

      We definitely considered this aspect when we decided to open our second office in Detroit. The community is a big part of who we are.

      • John Rumery says:

        Maybe it’s own circle- encapsulating your diagram. It’s the “zeitgeist” that makes great cultures successful.

      • Jason Porritt Jason Porritt says:

        I could see placing community within the Viability (Business) circle. In the case of choosing the ideal job, the Business is running your family’s life and many of the factors John mentioned are extremely valuable in that context.

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