Knowledge sharing in research buildings and abouth their design

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Knowledge sharing is essential in present day society which is focused on innovation. Research driven organisations put a lot of effort in stimulating the knowledge exchange between their employees and are increasingly asking their Corporate Real Estate (CRE) managers to become involved in this process. They need to provide accommodation designed for people to meet and share knowledge, and look for architects to help them achieve this difficult goal. This paper will help them in two ways: 1) by showing in which way design can stimulate knowledge sharing in a research building, and 2) by making a contribution to the knowledge sharing between the parties involved in designing the workplaces of these research buildings. CRE managers and designers use a certain terminology to describe (their demands for) a design. They use several layout terms that are also used by CRE academics in their studies. These layout descriptions, however, do not provide quantitative information on how the design actually stimulates knowledge sharing and cannot be implemented straight into a design by the architect either, which can cause confusion and miscommunication. Space syntax variables do show quantifiable outcomes and are unambiguous in their interpretation, but are part of a language that CRE managers do not use. Therefore, this paper first describes a literature study on mentioned design terms to stimulate knowledge sharing between employees and connects these terms with possible space syntax variables to measure them. The results are tested in an exploratory case-study with 138 employees of a large research driven organisation in the Netherlands. Both co-presence and movement can stimulate knowledge sharing, and can be quantified with proximity, accessibility and other configuration measures. Results of the case study on co-presence show that VGA connectivity (the number of visible workplaces) is the strongest predictor of the number of knowledge sharing interactions a person has at work. The information from these types of studies can be used to build a tool that helps CRE managers become involved in the strategic decision making process of their organisation and prove the added value of their work.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 7th International Space Syntax Symposium
EditorsD. Koch, L. Marcus, J. Steen
Place of PublicationStockholm
PublisherKTH, Royal Institute of Technology
Publication statusPublished - 2009
Eventconference; Space Syntax Symposium; 2009-06-09; 2009-06-11 -
Duration: 9 Jun 200911 Jun 2009


Conferenceconference; Space Syntax Symposium; 2009-06-09; 2009-06-11
OtherSpace Syntax Symposium


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