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Workshop in the Boiler Room (Focin-Focout used)
Workshop in the Boiler Room (Focin-Focout used) View original picture , opens in new tab/window

Boiler room

Published: 8 December 2007

Boiler-room is a meeting room designed to facilitate meetings in cross-functional teams.

Idea on using the space
Idea on using the space

The furniture should support collaboration and creativity, i.e., to set a person who is not in a creative mode into such mode. Another intention is that, when entering the room, a ‘mental split’ [3] should take place. People should at a glance understand that this space expect something else of them.

The space, i.e., the physical room, was constrained to be as it was - a typical squared room. Accordingly, to design a creative place, furniture and conversational props to support Tiger Team work was in focus. Two basic characteristics for the boiler room originate from our observations and interviews, static and flexible. Or, rather we elaborated on static versus flexible. On one hand, the furniture has to be fairly static since they are thought of as supporting certain modes and activities.

People’s behaviour has to be guided by the furniture. On the other hand, flexibility was found necessary since the furniture should enable different modes and activities. People’s ‘flux of activities’ has to be supported by the furniture. There has to be a balance between static and flexible. The furniture has to be flexible enough to be able to customise for particular tasks. But, not too flexible due to the focus might be on rearranging the furniture rather than focusing on the task at hand.

Creating the Focin-Focout: Who said research is just reading papers?
Who said research is just reading papers?


The Focin-Focout prototype is a furniture that supports the Tiger Team workmode that is hosted in the Boiler Room. The modular furniture helps in focused, or divergent, group activities and a supports a dynamic environment.


  1. Pavlak, A. (2004). Project troubleshooting: tiger teams for reactive risk management. Project Management Journal, 35 (4), 5-14.
  2. Teasley, S., Covi.L., Krishnan, M.S., Olson, J.S. (2000). How does radical collocation help a team succeed? In procedigns of CSCW’00. Philadelphia, PA, 339-346
  3. Meetings International (2006). Interview with Shari Swan (in Swedish). Meetings International, 17, 17-22.

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