»Innovation through creative spaces« – from hipster cafés, co-working spaces, and the chill offices

Innovation durch kreative Räume dotSource Valley
Christian Otto Grötsch, Frank Ertel und Christian Malik in dotSource’s Valley

When a new employee starts at dotSource, they get a computer, a desk, a chair, nice colleagues, and a bag of candy. It’s grass green, about 45 centimetres long, big enough to stand out and small enough not to make schoolchildren jealous.

The gesture has a two-sided. On one hand, the German tradition of giving bags of candy on the first day of school was invented in Jena. Secondly, dotSource’s headquarters are there. And at the other two locations in Leipzig and Berlin, it’s important for us to promote creativity, impartiality, and curiosity in every day at work. And this succeeds not least through creative concepts in which there is literally room for innovation.

Innovations through creative spaces

The question of how to promote creativity in companies and to keep professionals in the digital transformation was also discussed at a conference for the Thuringian Agency for the Creative Industries (THAK).

Even the location promised something special: Kontor Erfurt has been opened for just a few weeks, a 15,000 square meter area, built in 1959. Mid-century GDR architecture, headquarters of a wholesaler of hotel supplies, orphaned after 1991. Now rehabilitated and a new hotspot for the creative industries: It created corporate offices, co-working spaces and artist studios. And functional rooms for larger venues.

In the »New Places for New Work« slot, Tobias Kremkau spoke about the »unofficial headquarters of the digital bohème«. St. Oberholz. The Café am Rosenthaler Platz is considered the birthplace of digital manifestos such as »We call it work« by Sascha Lobo and Holm Friebe and successful business models of the start-up scene in Berlin. Even the founders of Zalando or Soundcloud probably had the best ideas at their coffee machines.

Innovation thanks to humans, space, and technology

Christian Otto Grötsch, founder and managing director of dotSource GmbH, was also invited as Speaker of the event »Innovation through Creative Spaces« sponsored by the Free State of Thuringia. He showed how 270 employees in one of the largest German digital agencies work together successfully. The short answer is agile work through new work principles. The detailed answer mainly touches on three areas: Humans, space, and technology.

Anyone interested in computer science is commonly considered a shy nerd. But working at dotSource shows that’s not true. Here we attach importance to greeting each other, to talk to each other beyond that subject, and even hang out outside working hours together on the football field or volleyball court, to jam in after-work sessions among amateur musicians, or even discuss novels in a book club.

dotSource books the spaces required and provides rehearsal and discussion sites. The fact that people also like to interact during working hours is ensured by the generous office space: In Jena and Leipzig, offices are located right in the city centre, in Berlin, near a train station and the zoo.

The rooms are bright and friendly, they rely on team spaces instead of individual offices so that the members of a team can communicate directly. And in Jena, there is real moss on vertical walls, a roof terrace with a view over the whole city and a huge oak table, where people eat and laugh together.

In a digital agency, it’s about technology. The perfect equipment, regardless of the job level, is a guaranteed to grant mental relief, to support experiments and research projects and digital talent as well.

And here, too, coffee consumption and creativity go hand in hand. Currently, a small camera is hanging over the display of a coffee machine: An internal AI project is capturing the probabilities of selecting specific coffees.

Yes, when a new employee starts at dotSource, they get a computer, a desk, a chair, nice colleagues, and a bag of candy. Speaking of candy… Soon, school will begin and thousands of Kindergarteners in Jena and the surrounding area will be proud members of the first grade.

To ensure that every schoolchild in Jena gets a nice, big bag of candy, Bürgerstiftung Jena has been organising school bags for children for some years, which otherwise might not have been received. That’s why Christian Otto Grötsch donated his fee for the event »Innovation through Creative Spaces« to this good cause.

Innovation and digital DNA

New Work is more than a trend. Behind the buzzword hides a successful combination of people, space, and technology. We show how to establish this in the 2019 Handelskraft Trend Book, »Digital DNA«.

In addition to New Work, this guide, exclusively available for retailers, manufacturers and publishers, also discusses facts and best practices for AI and Future Retail, as well as provides industry insights and up-to-date facts and figures for brands in the digital age. Even more info about the 2019’s digital business compass can be found here.


(12 vote(s), average: 5.00 out of 5)

Leave a Reply