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(Re)Designing a workspace using human-centered design to support flexibility, collaboration, and engagement among clinical trial research support services

Space matters. We read space like we read people's faces. Space is an instrument of collaboration and innovation. At the University of Michigan’s Institute for Clinical & Health Research (MICHR), a team was created to creatively and economically enhance our operating space into a flexible workspace that supports privacy, innovation, creativity, and – most importantly – a culture of collaboration. The team used a human-centered design process to creatively engage the staff at large into analyzing our existing space, identifying latent needs, proposing solutions, generating feedback, and economically building the rethought space. The redesigned workspace embraces the differences among MICHR’s teams while encouraging collaboration and teamwork and keeping costs at a minimum. It has resulted in a flexible space that includes co-located teams, spaces dedicated to different work goals, an open area for collaboration, quiet zones to support focused work, and better wayfinding.

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