What is it? The innovation space is a room inspired by places like the d.school at Stanford and the Hasso Plattner Institute for Design Thinking in Berlin, and maker spaces, collaborative workspaces and fab labs all over the world. It is an open plan room of about 1200 square feet equipped with white boards, digital displays, and reconfigurable furniture. We have some preliminary programming planned for the space and we will be reaching out to members of the community for more and going forward the room will be available to groups within the Mills community.

How did we get here? During the planning for the Institute for the Future "Foresight Training" that some of our colleagues attended this summer, President DeCoudreaux became intrigued by a new kind of workspace being built by leading universities and creative companies around the world. Variously called design spaces, maker spaces, innovation labs, these workspaces share the property of being purpose-built to support creative collaboration. Perhaps the most notable nearby example is the d-school at Stanford.

With the backing of the Board of Trustees, the President requested that a renovation of a former office suite that was already underway be steered in a new direction with the hope of creating a space that would support a new way of working together and problem solving here at Mills.

The project itself is an example of a new way to get things done: lean, nimble, collaborative. It was conceived in late spring and a faculty and staff team worked to design, build, equip, and program it over about 15 weeks. The goal was to create not a finished product but a version 0.0, a humble start to something that has the potential to be awesome and transformative.