Innovation at OPM Will Require More Than Trendy Furniture

Officials think the agency’s $750,000 lab will foster brainstorming.

The Washington Post reports that the Office of Personnel Management has finally opened the doors on its long-awaited innovation lab, bringing to government the open-concept, innovative space present at many of Silicon Valley’s top tech companies.

OPM’s innovation lab, which cost $750,000 to complete and is located in the agency’s basement, boasts chalkboard-painted walls, interlocking white boards and trendy furniture, according to the Post. The space is open to employees across the federal government, but OPM staff have priority in terms of scheduling the space. The goal is to use the space to brainstorm and find solutions for OPM’s challenges, including the handling of federal employee retirement claims and bringing USAJOBS out of a technological mess.

I’m interested to hear your thoughts on OPM’s innovation lab. Are these spaces necessary for workplace innovation, particularly when agencies have scarce resources? Could your agency work to better solve problems with such a space? And would innovation labs give agencies a more competitive edge in competing with some of the top tech companies for talent?