IBM fuels collaboration and innovation with flexible workspace

With WeWork, the technology giant created a 'neutral space' where they can partner with clients on great ideas

Around the world, companies of all sizes find space to succeed at WeWork. Our Member Spotlight series shares their unique stories.

The challenge: creating the ideal space for teams and clients to work together

In Chicago, IBM was looking for a new way to work with one of their biggest clients. 

Rather than always meeting at the IBM office, Romas Pencyla, vice president and partner at IBM, envisioned an inspiring offsite environment. Pencyla sought a space that would allow his team to engage with that client in design thinking sessions. There, they’d dig into their most pressing challenges and come up with novel solutions.

The solution: a configurable space to support design thinking

IBM sourced a space on one of the top floors of the WeWork National Building, a landmark that was built in 1907.

Dubbed the Cognitive and Advanced Analytics Garage, the space doesn’t resemble a traditional office. It’s large enough to hold nearly 40 desks, but the room is divided into various workspaces, from couches and other types of soft seating to high-topped tables surrounded by stools.

Most of the furnishings are movable; teams can configure the space to suit their needs. It can look totally different from one day to the next, depending on whether teams are using it for meetings, brainstorms, strategizing, or planning.

The result: a ‘neutral ground’ that inspires team and client collaboration

Pencyla calls the space a “neutral ground.” 

“It’s a dedicated space just for IBM and our client,” he says. “Being at a WeWork building lets us both get out of our own office environment where there’s always a meeting, always a call to take, always someone tapping you on the shoulder with a question.”

Pencyla says the work—rapidly putting together proofs of concept on various projects—is intense. But the environment—in the dedicated office and the rest of the WeWork space—fosters creativity.

“Getting people out of a traditional office culture and into a collaborative area accelerates the process for us,” he says. “Both our folks and the client love coming here.”

Pencyla has deemed the space a success.

“This is exactly what we’ve wanted to do with a lot of our clients,” says Pencyla. “We already have a space in New York so we can do the exact same thing. Our vision is to continually use WeWork in this fashion to help us think, collaborate, and innovate with our clients.”

Key highlights

  • Dedicated space for IBM and their clients
  • Fully configurable for activity-based working, with movable furnishings
  • A “neutral ground” where IBM employees and clients can engage in design thinking sessions without everyday workplace distractions
  • Prime location near the top of an iconic Chicago building

WeWork offers companies of all sizes space solutions that help solve their biggest business challenges.

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