Spacebase
Spacebase ExperiMENTAL

About The Project

Because Spacebase focuses on providing companies with inspiring and productive environments around the world, we set out on a mission to find the best ways to boost your creativity; thus ExperiMENTAL was born. During the making of this web series, we took 7 groups of complete strangers and gave them each a stimulus to interact with. When they finished their activity, we measured their creative output with standardized creativity tests. Our participants were exposed to a TV-watching session, an exercise class, an unproductive meeting, an interactive meeting, cards against humanity, and copious amounts of alcohol. The results were surprising, interesting, and absolutely hilarious. Take a look for yourself, and stay tuned for more episodes of ExperiMENTAL.

Erin Westover

Erin Westover - Host/Co-creator

As the Director of International Strategic Partnerships for Spacebase, Erin was presented with the opportunity to try her hand as a creative, by developing the ExperiMENTAL web series. Her involvement as organizer and host quickly evolved into content creator, scriptwriter, director, editor, and amateur statistician.
Her previous role as an Evolutionary Biology lab assistant allowed for her to structure the content using scientific methods ensuring the legitimacy of the outcomes.
Her passion for the co-working industry and dynamic work habits was tangibly translated into this project.

Jan Hoffmann-Keining

Jan Hoffmann-Keining - Facilitator/Co-creator

Jan is the co-founder and CMO of Spacebase and has made a name for himself by pushing the boundaries of creativity in the tech startup industry. His never-ending pursuit of intriguing and modern concepts continually inspires his employees to approach every project with unconventional and effective strategies.
Jan conceptualized ExperiMENTAL, and maintained his vision for the web series by facilitating the creativity tests that were conducted in each episode.
His dedication to shaking up traditional work patterns has made Spacebase into a driver in the creative industry that educates it users on the importance of holding productive and experiential meetings.

Tessa Anaya

Tessa Anaya - Storyboard/Co-creator

Aside from being the North American content creator and media specialist for Spacebase, Tessa is a stand up comedian in her spare time. Her creative writing degree often lends a hand to her professional work and her writings can be seen in many online articles, both on and off the Spacebase site. If you’ve read her work, you know it is consistently full of comedic timing combined with well-researched insights. From developing the episode formats for ExperiMENTAL, to illustrating the storyboard, Tessa added her voice to the project with comedic and creative flair.

Interview with Dr. Joachim Krueger - Brown University

Erin Westover

Dr. Joachim Krueger is a Professor of Cognitive, Linguistic and Psychological Sciences at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, where he focuses his research on various topics of Social and Cognitive Psychology. His contributions include many publications pertaining to his research in social cognition. His book “The Quest for Happiness in 31 Essays,” has recently been published as a kindle edition on Amazon. Dr. Krueger regularly blogs on Psychology Today Online on a wide variety of topics, which is, as he puts it, “promiscuous, opportunistic, and heterodox.” One of his thought-pieces titled Dialectics of Creativity, explores the idea that creative thought and behavior arises from a set of psychological tensions. Because Spacebase is a driver in the creative industry we welcome enhanced understanding of creative output, and what better way than interviewing Dr. Krueger himself.

EW: In the introduction of your thought piece, “Dialectics of Creativity” you mention creativity, when regarded as capacity or process, can be seen as “value-free.” Can you explain how this would be consistent amongst various demographics, i.e., students, working professionals, or international societies?

DJK: By “value-free,” I mean that creativity is not inherently good or bad. Many psychological capacities share this characteristic. Rationality, for example, can be used for good or bad purposes. Likewise, we can use creativity for good or bad ends. Of course, most of us think of our good intentions first, and tend to think of creativity as a positive psychological capacity. That is only natural.
My view is that creativity can play an important role in everyone’s life. Creativity is not limited to experts, artists, or other types of high achievers. What such exceptional achievers have is often called “Big C,” but the rest of us can use and enjoy “Little C,” the kind of everyday creativity that brings variation and inspiration to everyday life. All demographics can partake of Little C.

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Interview with Simon Dewulf - AULIVE

Erin Westover

Simon Dewulf is a researcher and entrepreneur. He wrote his PhD thesis on innovation and was given the INSEAD Innogator prize for Innovator of the Year in 2010. He subsequently founded his first company CREAX, which focuses on bringing together analytical thinking and creativity, which allowed him the expertise to develop the creativity test, TestMyCreativity.com, used during the making of Spacebase ExperiMENTAL. The test has been featured in BBC World and the New York Times helping it become one of the most popular online creativity test. Today, Dewulf continues to develop various ideas on the structuring of creativity while bringing a more analytical approach to innovation and inspiration. We caught up with Simon Dewulf, to find out how his research can be utilized and applied by anyone looking to for better ways to gauge, or integrate creativity.

EW: What led you to become an expert in innovation and creativity?

SD: At Imperial College I was invited to conduct a research project for the UK Department of Education and Employment to study how engineering could become more creative; less ‘engine’, more ‘ingenious’. As I was always interested in engineering creativity, I took up the study as a PhD research topic, and started my company CREAX in 2000. There we were studying the best approaches to creative thinking for innovation. Soon we came up with our own structure combining the best/new insights to our Innovation Logic.

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Why we did it:

Billions of dollars are spent on meetings every year, yet many companies continue to facilitate unproductive, repetitive, traditional, and non-thought provoking meetings in uninspiring locations everyday. Because Spacebase focuses on providing companies with inspiring and productive environments around the world, we set out on a mission to find the best ways to boost creativity; thus ExperiMENTAL was born. During the making of this web series, we took seven groups of complete strangers and gave them each a stimulus to interact with. When they finished their activity, we measured their creative output with standardized creativity tests. Our participants were exposed to a Netflix-watching session, an exercise class, an unproductive meeting, an interactive meeting, cards against humanity, and copious amounts of alcohol.
We decided to experiment with various stimuli to create pathways that will lead to new ideas contributing to the future of meetings. Whether it be using your surroundings by drawing on the wall instead of in a notebook, or participating in a yoga class before a brainstorming session, we believe that the process of obtaining the highest level of creativity comes from provoking stagnant tendencies.
The purpose of the web series, as well as the ethos of Spacebase are about breaking down the confines of traditional meetings, while congruently promoting innovation through environment.

How we did it:

We took seven groups of participants and asked them to perform an online creativity test provided by TestMyCreativity.com, which allowed us to appropriately distribute individuals to maintain similarly averaged groups based on their test scores (Figure 1). The test accounts for eight metrics (abstraction, connection, perspective, curiosity, boldness, paradox, complexity, persistence) that determine a well-rounded test result that scores current creative ability between 0-100.
The participants were then put into groups of 4-9 individuals and provided with various stimuli to determine the effects on their creative output.
Our first episode compared the creative influence of a Zumba fitness class with an hour long relaxed Netflix-watching session. The second episode compared the creative results from an unproductive meeting in a traditional setting with those of an interactive meeting in an inspiring location. The third episode compared the creative results from three different stimuli: a sober group and a slightly tipsy group which played ‘Cards Against Humanity’ and a third, very intoxicated group who played a variety of drinking games.
After each stimulus activity, the groups were given standardized creativity tests, such as the candle test, the associative object test (a box and a tire), and the 9 dots test. The groups were scored on whether they were able to complete the tasks with various solutions and how many suggestions were given by the group as a whole (Figure 2). Based on the cumulative score of all groups, the total average was calculated at 6.82 suggestions per participant from all activities combined. The Group Creative Output illustrated in Figure 3 was reached by comparing the creative performance of each group as compared to the total cumulative average score. Groups with positive percentages produced more creative output than the average while groups with negative percentages gave less creative output. All calculations were adjusted for number of participants in each group.

What we found:

The interactive meeting showed an increase of 14.7% above the average creative output of 6.82 responses per person, the tipsy group showed an increase of 27.4 %, and the Zumba fitness group with an astounding increase of 51%.
When we debriefed the participants from these groups (Interactive, Tipsy and Zumba), many of them reported being comfortable with each other as a reason for their positive performance, as well as a sense of community when approaching the creative tasks. When observing the groups we found that these highly creative responses came from stimuli that encouraged groups to work together, helping to break down social barriers allowing for the free flow of creativity.
The antithetical results showed the Netflix session to decrease creative productivity to 15% below the average creative output of 6.82, while the drunk group showed a decrease of 32.6%, and the unproductive meeting showed a decrease of 41.9% (Figure 3).
Participants from the Netflix group and the unproductive meeting attributed their poor performance to not feeling comfortable because they weren’t able to develop camaraderie with those in the group; thus were less likely to feel comfortable giving input. The participants in the drunk group developed a strong bond, however were not able to concentrate on the tasks once they were inebriated.

Pre stimulus test
Creativity curve
Group creativity output

Why this is interesting:

Many companies are looking to maximize creative output from their employees, which is more relevant today than ever before, as all companies strive towards innovation. Offices have changed their culture to accommodate the various work habits of their employees, as this often translates into increased productivity. The ethos of Spacebase were built from the ideology that meetings should be effective and inspiring to encourage creativity, as that is where most companies facilitate brainstorming and decision making.
We conducted this study to bring awareness to the drastic effects on creative output when given subtle changes to traditional and unstimulating meetings.

Take away:

  1. 1. Choose an environment that promotes productivity. Whether it be brightly lit, unique in design, or simply different from your typical surroundings, change it frequently to ensure non-stagnant perspectives.
  2. 2. Facilitate your meetings effectively by choosing new approaches that stimulate your employees to participate. Try to pull away from traditional meeting styles that limit productivity.
  3. 3. Make your meeting interactive to give ownership to the participants, as it promotes productivity and interest in the content.

Contributors: Prof. Dr. Dirk Hagen, SRH Hochschule Berlin and Erin Westover, ISP Spacebase GmbH

Rent 24 Coworking

Rent 24 Coworking, Schöneberg, Berlin

Rent 24 is a leading provider in productive and inspiring workspaces, which is exemplified in their community ethos. This unique location embodies the perfect stimulus when considering a creative and inspiring environment. The team at Rent 24 provided Spacebase not only with a film location, but an all around experience that included hospitality and endless support with the ExperiMENTAL project. The spaces are featured in all three episodes, as well as the hosting location in episode 3, Sober vs. Tipsy vs. Drunk.

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Ahoy! Coworking

Ahoy! Coworking, Mitte, Berlin

Ahoy! Is a coworking space that supports up and coming businesses with an innovative focus. The Berlin location has an undeniably attractive esthetic with a seafaring perspective. The space entails office rentals, desk rentals, and the ability to host meetings in their brightly lit conference rooms. Ahoy! provided Spacebase with a film location for the intro to episode 1, Netflix vs. Zumba.

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Village

Village, Tiergaten, Berlin

Village is a uniquely designed, open concept multipurpose space bordering Tiergaten and Schöneberg. Their space provided the perfect situation to host the Zumba fitness group in episode 1, Netflix vs. Zumba. Seeing that team Zumba had the highest score compared with all of our participating groups, it is clear the effect this space has on creativity.

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The Apartment

The Apartment, Neukölln, Berlin

The Apartment is a quaint location provided by the co-founders of Spacebase. This cozy meeting room located in Berlin's trendy Neukölln district was the space used to host the Netflix group in episode 1, Netflix vs. Zumba.

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Sankt Oberholtz

Sankt Oberholz, Mitte, Berlin

Oberholz is a known for its multiple cafes in the trendiest areas in Berlin; however they are equally known for their coworking spaces that inhabit the most eclectic group of entrepreneurs in the city's 12 boroughs. If you are looking for an intriguing and productive workspace you can also host an offsite meeting in one of their classic workshop rooms. Their generosity allowed for us to film the interactive meeting in episode 2, Unproductive vs. Interactive.

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