The Key To An Adaptable & Agile Workspace? Put Everything On Wheels
- Posted by Chris Justice
- On March 29, 2021
Since starting the company, I have always said “at Engenious, everything is on wheels”. It’s a bit of a running joke here because we put wheels on nearly everything, even the office plants. But the wheels are an intentionally-physical embodiment of our organizational philosophy that we are always changing, adapting, improving.
To create an agile workspace, we plan for change, by putting wheels on all our gear. And we keep the threshold low for moving things and people when we see a better way to get work done. Putting wheels on heavy objects constantly reinforces the message to ourselves that a thing (or person) only stays still for as long as it makes sense, and we fully intend to move it. All of it. And often.
This philosophy has spanned four different buildings, countless projects, an ever-expanding team, and endless acquisitions of equipment for our model shop and electronics labs. Equipment gets bigger and heavier every year; try putting wheels on a 4-axis milling machine that weighs as much as my car (sadly wasn’t going to work, so we move it with our pallet jack instead).
I shamelessly borrowed the idea from Valve’s epic New Employee Handbook. Their example of “how to move your desk” put words to our shared philosophy of flexibility (picture credit to Valve).
We really benefitted from this philosophy during pandemic times, where we moved people for physical distancing, and even set-up a full elementary learning program with a few weeks’ notice. All these changes were made easier because of our philosophy that everything is on wheels. The perceived threshold of moving something remains low, so our team feels free to move around and reorganize – flexibility that is even more important today than it was in 2013 when Engenious started.
This philosophy not only applies to our team and space but also product design! In a world where technology is constantly evolving, Engenious Design engineers apply the everything on wheels mindset to product development work ensuring our devices are capable of evolving too. We move fast and are agile in our processes. This allows us to constantly propel our work forward with nimble efficiency to ensure our devices are futureproofed and adaptable to the latest advancements.
Let me know if you want recommendations on heavy-duty locking casters!
A Tour Of Our Wheeled Agile Workspace
ABOUT THE AUTHOR(S)
Chris has accumulated many lessons-learned from 22 years of medical device design. Chris is principal and co-founder of Engenious Design, a medical device design firm that works with complex electro-mechanical & embedded software systems that are developed from scratch, acquired, and multi-generation products. Chris is presently considering issuing rollerblades to all new hires.