INNOVATION AWARD

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This award recognises significant innovation in one or more fields. All entries are considered automatically for this award as part of the assessment process, with the Regional Judges nominating entries from their region to put forward for National Judging.

NATIONAL WINNER

ELECTRIC WORKS, SHEFFIELD DIGITAL CAMPUS, SHEFFIELD

The Electric Works in Sheffield proved its innovative credentials through the very strong partnership between the public sector, Sheffield City Council, and a highly motivated private sector organisation, Creative Space Management (CSM), which seems to really understand the needs of its customers.

The Innovation Award is given to the project that demonstrates a new approach to the provision of workspace – be it through a technical, social or economic methodology or a mixture of all. Coincidentally, one of the other nominees shortlisted by the Regional Judging panels – Zellig (Devonshire House) at the Custard Factory in Birmingham – like Electric Works, also provided office space for small scale, start-up businesses in the creative sector.

The creative, digital and technology sectors are enjoying fast growth in Sheffield and Electric Works, in the centre of the City next to the main train station, is providing a hub for these industries. The building provides a variety of options for organisations to take any amount of space on a mixture of different tenures. The workspace can cater for a freelancer or sole trader up to a larger company of 60 staff. Space is offered on very flexible contracts or no commitment at all for one-off requirements, meetings and event hosting, etc. Virtual offices are offered with project space, hot-desk business lounge and drop-in services. The building provides state of the art IT facilities, full AV capabilities and plug-in-and-play offices.

Electric Works not only encourages small businesses to experiment and facilitate their expansion, the tenants are also provided with the opportunity to interact and collaborate in a way that is often talked about but not always achieved. One of the options available allows individuals to take out a club membership allowing them to meet up in a highly interactive space in the heart of the building: One member uses the huge bandwidth available to stream videos to India for testing for bugs overnight so that programmers can fix any errors the next day.

The building displays its commitment to design in particular through the high quality furniture and furnishings. In fact, CSM has become Vitra resellers so that the building also acts a showroom for the furniture designer’s products.

The reception of the building is dominated by the only three-storey, permanent helter skelter in a UK office building; it takes seven seconds to descend the 85-foot slide. Yet what is interesting is that, despite the sheer presence and iconic nature of this interactive installation, it is not the building itself that promotes the collaborative and energising atmosphere, but rather the way that the team has set up and managed how it can be used. The programme of interaction between the occupants energises the communal spaces and reminds visitors that this is a unique and thriving community of creative and technology businesses.

 

REGIONAL NOMINEES

ME+MY WORKPLACE

www.meandmyworkplace.com

Me+My Workplace is an interactive, online questionnaire and data gathering tool developed by iDEA. Designed for use by property teams, staff and managers, the results show an organisation how their staff and workplace are performing in order to optimise the working environment.

With modules focused on utlisation, work processes, environment and technology, it captures data that can help an organisation understand whether it is ready for change, and show how the organisation's buildings are performing.

 

ZELLIG (DEVONSHIRE HOUSE), CUSTARD FACTORY, GIBB STREET, DIGBETH, BIRMINGHAM