PROFESSOR TOM ALLEN presents a paper at a conference entitled "Innovation in Complex Social Systems" at the UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate School of Business from 10-12 December 2008. Allen undertook research in the 1970s to examine how the distance between engineers' offices affected the frequency of their communication. In fact, the Allen Curve suggests that if collaboration is to occur, engineers should be located no more than 50m apart and on the same floor of a building. I wonder how Twitter, Jaiku and instant messaging figure into this analysis today. I believe Gabriela Avram's research suggests that as long as smart people can communicate from the peripheries of their respective networks, collaboration can happen. During the past three decades, a number of key building designs (Decker in NYC, Steelcase Development in Michigan, BMW in Munich) have been influenced by Allen's work. In an article written by Frank Dillon , issues such as transparency of the glass in office cubicles and the use of comfortable couches near coffee bars also inspire the pooling of ideas.
Frank Dillon -- "Creating the right space to foster a spirit of innovation" in the Innovation Extra supplement to the Irish Times, 8 December 2008.
Thomas J. Allen -- The Organization and Architecture of Innovation: Managing the Flow of Technology ISBN: 978-0750682367