In the virtual world, innovation knows no bounds. Anyone can access tools that showcase their ability to delight, provoke, build, sell, seduce, convey, connect, collaborate, or seek out “likes.” The democratization of technology has spawned a renaissance of self-expression. Every day, people upload about 300,000 videos to YouTube, share 95 million photos and videos on Instagram, and add more 20,000 songs to their playlists on Spotify. And yet having a studio-quality camera on your iPhone doesn’t make you a Hollywood producer.

Disruptive creativity is a team sport. It requires a physical space to spark idea generation through mingling and mash-ups. Traditional office space doesn’t work. Instead of cubicles and coffee machines, the creative network thrives in an intellectual playground filled with learning labs, studios, and kitchens. It draws energy from physical spaces that bring people together, encouraging collaboration and ideas-sharing. Like its members, the workspace must be seamlessly integrated with cyberspace and adaptive to its users. In short, it mirrors the mindset of a new creative class.

To find members of this creative network, look around. They’re everywhere. One may be a father in Perth who uploads videos of his toddler’s tea parties; another, a Nairobi chef showcasing different ways to make ugali. The teen posting haunting images of abandoned toys on Instagram and Snapchat is part of the. So, too, is the Spotify user who delights in curating mood-altering playlists, as well as the one who takes pride in coming up with wacky titles. The creative network embraces Twitter users who craft each tweet like it’s a haiku, and those whose tweets tumble out as stream-of-consciousness prose.

It’s not enough to use digital tools to create. The creative network is more about mindset. That’s why it’s dominated by millennials, who’ve grown up using platforms to connect and express themselves. For this digital generation, the physical world has long been a canvas for inspiration and collaboration. They demand workspace that enables them to share and flow freely between work and play; space that is as connected and always-on as they are. When a Boston team is collaborating with engineers in Bangalore at night, they want sleep pods to grab a power nap during the day. Smart boards and eco-friendly features are expected. There’s little time for hierarchy in a space where contributions are transparent and success is shared. The corner office no longer connotes success, but wasted space.

The creative network is multi-directional and multi-dimensional– whether it’s dealing with things, people, brands, or experiences. It requires workplace typologies that are less focused on one space than on a series of spaces that can span time zones, platforms, and projects. As with the evolving mixed-use typologies, the work zone reflects how these workers connect, communicate, and create.

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