The Room That'll Make You More Creative

The Room That'll Make You More Creative

Hilary Braseth
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There's one stop we always make on our office tour: the john. Walls blackened by chalkboard-paint, every month presents a new opportunity to pose a controversial question and weigh in with controversial answers. Indeed, our bathroom has become one of the most—forgive us—productive places on the premises.

How did it all begin, you ask?

Long-time IDEOer Alan Ratliff was using the loo in Santa Cruz a few years back and took note of the graffiti on stall walls. He was struck by how openly and honestly strangers could share their most heartfelt feelings—in a public space. Combining this insight with the pause for thought that often strikes while seated on the throne, we thought we'd try inviting the same behavior on our own walls.

Alan Ratliff, bathroom wall auteur, is filmed by our IDEO U production crew.

And how have people at IDEO responded?

Though the wait has admittedly increased, which brings no one joy, designing the bathroom as a place to intentionally linger and gin up ideas has become a point of pride.

Curious to learn more about how we nurture a culture of creativity? We tell the whole bathroom story, and many more, in Leading for Creativity, a new course taught by Tim Brown at

This question nearly broke the plumbing.
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Hilary Braseth
Hilary is curious about why we’re here. She’s drawn to the edges of our humanity as a process for discovery, and writes about it in her personally-decorated Moleskine notebooks. She loves water, can’t stand boxes, and sells cheese on the weekends at farmers markets.
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