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Redefining Innovation With Infinity From KI

February 11, 2020

A Google search for “innovation” returns some 474 million results, and more than 5,000 tweets a day include “#innovation.”

It’s safe to say we’re wearing out the word -- especially in the contract furniture industry. A recent KI survey of more than 450 designers and dealers from around the country found that seven in 10 designers and dealers believe the word “innovation” is overused. Some of the folks we talked to said that “innovation”:

  • Has “lost its meaning.”
  • Is “generic filler.”
  • Is an “overused buzzword.”

We believe that innovation provides a client with a unique, personalized solution that expressly meets their needs. Innovative products help clients solve a design problem specific to their own experience. Solutions may help clients:

  • Differentiate their brand.
  • Increase worker performance.
  • Define their company culture.

The word may be overused -- but the concepts underpinning “innovation” are more important than ever. Ninety-six percent of the designers and dealers we surveyed believe furniture plays a key role in creating innovative spaces -- in part because people interact with furniture more than any other element within a space.

The Pitfalls of Custom Solutions

Designers tell us their clients want tailored furniture solutions to meet their exact needs. In some instances, an existing product may be modified. Other times, a solution is co-created from scratch by collaborating with manufacturers.

The need isn’t going away either:

  • Nearly six in 10 of the designers and dealers believe modification requests are increasing.
  • About 50% feel similarly about co-created products.
  • Just 8 percent believe those needs are decreasing.

Organizations co-create products for all sorts of purposes. One organization may want a reception desk that reflects its company logo, right down to the shape and color. Another may want workstations that can reconfigure and transform into a conference table or worksurface for an all-hands meeting.

Why aren’t more companies and designers specifying custom solutions? Designers told us that they often face challenges with manufacturers when modifying or co-creating a solution. The process can be expensive and time-consuming. In some cases, they may not trust the manufacturer to deliver on their vision. Nearly 90 percent of those we spoke to said they would specify more modified or co-created products for their clients if the process were easier.

Infinity from KI

That’s why we developed Infinity from KI. Designers and clients are demanding truly innovative, one-of-a-kind products that they can have a hand bringing to life. Infinity from KI empowers them to do so.

Here’s how the Infinity from KI process works. First, our dedicated team of KI specialists consults with a client and his or her design partners on their goals. Then, we create renderings, prototypes and mockups of potential custom solutions -- complete with clear production timelines and cost estimates.

After we manufacture the solution, we test it and make sure it adheres to industry codes as well as our own rigorous standards. After the solution is in the client’s hands, we provide assembly instructions, technical specifications and ongoing support.

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We’ve already deployed the Infinity from KI approach to co-create spaces with a number of organizations -- spaces that may never be replicated again.

For example, the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery, a research laboratory, wanted to make its traditional office space feel more inviting to the public. We collaborated with the Institute on a modification to our WireWorks Panel System that gives each workstation an upscale finish. A traditionally private area of the office became an inviting center for social interaction.

Financial services titan Northwestern Mutual came to us for help making its new Milwaukee headquarters a place where flexibility was king. Northwestern Mutual had surveyed its employees on how they wanted their workplace to look, feel and function. The Infinity from KI approach enabled us to act on those survey results by designing new workstations that give employees total control over their space.

The end result was the genesis of our award-winning Tattoo Collection, an adaptable suite of workplace surfaces, privacy screens, seating and storage that allows employees to easily reconfigure their workspace as roles and responsibilities shift.

Organizations are looking for furniture solutions that meet their individual needs, brand and culture -- solutions that are unique to their company. KI understands this desire to put a “signature” on space. Whether clients want to modify an existing product or create something totally from scratch, that’s the kind of innovation that Infinity from KI can deliver.

Click to learn more about Infinity from KI.

by Jonathan Webb  Director - Workplace

Jonathan Webb leads KI’s strategic business unit, serving the business market. Jonathan studies workplace trends, uncovers product gaps and develops solutions with the KI team. Jonathan takes part in advanced workplace strategies and documents his findings through white papers, articles and other publications. His recent publications, Understanding Active Design: The Rise of Human Sustainability and Collegiate Design: The New Driver for Workplace Design, have put Jonathan in the media spotlight. Partnering with thought leaders like AECOM, his publications cover diverse subjects including sit/stand benefits, designing training environments and defining work styles. Jonathan holds an MBA from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh School of Business and is a LEED accredited professional.

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