In a recent post I talked about how to create an environment for successful design. One way we’ve gone about this at Kiva is by transforming an under utilized conference room into a dedicated design space. The room is filled with white boards, prototyping bins and my favorite—Play-Doh. There are 24 different colors to choose from and it’ll instantly make you feel like a kid again—that’s the point. When you’re in Kiva’s design space (where plenty of Play-Doh is on hand) we want you to return to your childhood. You’ll never hear a child say they’re not the “creative type” or they can’t draw. Kiva’s design space is built to bring out the creative side of everyone from engineers and product managers to legal and accounting. We accomplish this by making it easy—putting the materials at your fingertips—and providing helpful, simple guidelines to activities like brainstorming or conducting research.

Physical space is too often overlooked at software companies. It’s easy to ignore when you primarily work in the virtual world. But a physical environment which encourages collaboration, experimentation and visual thinking quickly leads to creative breakthroughs. We’ve seen it firsthand at Kiva. Our new design space has fostered essential brainstorming sessions. Our once bland conference room has become a dynamic space where new ideas are continually brought to life and collaborations between individuals and teams have become commonplace. It’s no coincidence the room has become one of the most popular within the Kiva office.

Below is a look at our design space: