Place, Culture, and Change

In an archaeological expedition, researchers will frequently comb through ruins, studying abandoned architecture and artifacts for clues about an ancient civilization’s culture. The same concept can be applied to current, fully-occupied corporate environments as well.

When viewed through both Edgar Schein’s classic framework of “artifacts, espoused values, and underlying assumptions” and through qualitative observations drawn from environmental psychology, physical space can reveal insights into the personality and values of modern organizations. Within this context, “design” can function as a specific form of intervention in enabling change.

This program will explore basic concepts connecting physical environments and corporate culture with an opportunity for attendees to conduct their own hypothetical “table-top archaeology” and participate in a mock design process in support of an organizational change. This program is framed with a design-based lens emphasizing the act of “doing” in contrast to a research-based lens emphasizing precedents. (In other words, there will be no right answers.) Both the presentation and activities are intended to be fun and casual and to underscore how seamlessly OD capabilities can support physical design opportunities.

Presenter Bio:
Charles Renner has over two decades of experience applying design methodology to help shape built environments, design organizational processes, and create actionable consensus within diverse teams. In addition to his private-sector career, Charles has been an active participant in numerous non-profit organizations, frequently in a leadership role. Charles holds an M.B.A. in Sustainable Business from the prestigious Pinchot University (formerly the Bainbridge Graduate Institute) where he focused on Change Management, Organization Development, Leadership Development, and Sustainable Systems. Charles also holds a B.A. in Architecture from Iowa State University and an architectural license from the State of Illinois.


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