While I was writing my thesis in graduate school, I investigated a school called the Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design (CIID). I wasn't able to visit during the few days I had in Copenhagen about 3 years ago but I made it a point to visit this time around.
I had a friendly exchange with Alie Rose who basically runs the joint (Co-Founder and Head of Education) and met her at the CIID building. She was so pleasant to talk to, gave me a tour, and I ended up hanging out with her and her colleagues in their space for a little bit. Simona, the head of the program there, saw that I had a camera and asked if I could take some profile shots of her so I did. One thing led to another and I ended up there for almost 5 hours - would've been longer if I didn't have a dinner to go to. Basically, I fell in love with this place.
I have never been to a building that was so vertically charged with positive energy.
The only way that I can describe this is through food. You know when you have a croissant that has been folded over and over again with butter and dough, and you get the feeling that this little pastry in your hand is just charged with so much goodness? Yeah, that's what CIID feels like.
Turns out that most of the students who come here are selected to be diverse in nationality. This move is absolutely intentional and really smart when it comes to creating an environment for innovation and collaboration. It is only through cultural differences and bringing brains together that have been wired differently will new ideas form and we will also progress to live more harmoniously in this world.
One of the things that I love about the HCD industry is that it beckons in differences and not only welcomes them with open arms but is a crucial part of the formula when it comes to designing services, experiences, interactions, etc. Without this kind of dimension, it is quite possible that whatever solution or design is made may not be as encompassing or holistic.
I met great people and have since then met extensions of great people in Chicago who have been educated in this space. Their prototyping playground is imaginative, the architecture is fitting, and the energy is just really present and spot on. They have a great business model that includes education, consulting, and incubation for new ideas and I don't think it can get any better than that.
To read more on this program, go to CIID's site.
UX Notes: Creating a physical space that reflects the kind of tone of work your organization provides is crucial to the survival of your employees and work culture. If you're wondering why something is not working in a project, take a look around you to see if there is something you can change. It might an environmental fix that you need.