• DATE July 12, 2013
  • URL oneinstitute.com/tile/intentional-inconvenience/

Intentional Inconvenience

How a company headquarters relates to its organizational culture – and to the city around it

While some tech companies like Facebook, Google, and Apple have made headlines with their sprawling, state-of-the-art facilities – complete with a limitless array of previously unheard of workplace amenities – the new Zappos campus in downtown Las Vegas is making headlines for a very different reason: intentional inconvenience.

“We actually make decisions on a regular basis that could in some capacity inconvenience employees, but what they’re really designed to do is create more collisions between people,” says Zach Ware, who is heading up urban development efforts for Zappos. “The idea is, by doing that we create a collision point where people are more likely to connect to each other, rather than having them be isolated and never see each other.”

These interpersonal connections are seen as vital to the company ethos, but Zappos leadership believes this kind of intentional inconvenience is also crucial for the revitalization of downtown Las Vegas itself. Indeed, through the Downtown Project, Zappos founder Tony Hsieh and friends are out to turn Sin City into one big, vibrant startup community.

This raises interesting questions for entrepreneurs: What factors determine where you set up shop? How do you see the physical space of your headquarters impacting organizational culture, and vice versa? How do you see your startup giving shape to the city of which you’re part?