The DECK: making a co-working space in Osaka more attractive

Published by on behalf of the sprint master Yuichi Inobori

Designing a spatial service experience for the innovative space from the aspect of communication and collaboration

The DECK was established in April 2016 by a joint venture between four companies to bring a new innovative place where people from large enterprises and individuals such as freelance workers can work together. It has three primary functions: co-working space, event space, and digital fabrication space all combined on one floor so people can work together, communicate with each other, and make things inspired by communications born in The DECK.

Fostering open innovation by gathering people

In order to maintain diversity within the community, we had to make the place attractive for everyone. To reach this goal, we tried to improve the development of The DECK with three essential ideas: co-creation, digital fabrication, and open innovation.

The integration of such ideas was a core factor driving the creation of the space. First, discussions fostered by the SDS methodology took place within 2–3 weeks. They were followed by an intensive 4-week construction period. Eventually we decided to modify an authentic SDS process and make it shorter to fit into the construction schedule.

Focusing on what we really needed in an extremely tight timeline

Our project’s timeline was extremely tight. However, if the client’s board was on the same page throughout the entire process of SDS, we could list possible actions and modify the schedule to suit our needs.

First, we started exploring opportunities to help us comprehend the context of what we were dealing with. Our team conducted desktop research in books and on the internet to identify fundamental information for the project. When thinking of opportunities, we thought of similar places in the past, present, and future.

Then, we did quick interviews to gather insight about the focus users (our “heroes”) and their mental models. The team conducted in-depth interviews with five extreme users who had knowledge and experience on co-working, collaboration, and co-creation.

As a second step, we defined the user’s journey by sketching the moment map, opportunities, and barrier map while reflecting about his or her needs.

After ideation, we prioritized solutions to help The DECK to implement them on their business. The idea clusters helped us to organize them according to our heroes’ needs and feasibility (following the framework initially made).

Then, we did an MVS (Minimum Valuable Service) journey session. Throughout the session, the team reflected on cross-channel experiences. This approach is especially useful in the ideation phase.

It’s still a work in progress

The intensive three weeks using SDS methodology generated a lot of feasible service ideas. They also helped put some of the brightest suggestions on the development agenda of The DECK for the next six months (by September 2016). As the next step, we intend to prototype ideas after opening the space with real “Heroes”. We have already started collecting feedback from customers, some of which will be used to improve service ideas.

The client wants to make The DECK a place where people “ignite” and develop compelling, interesting, and valuable ideas & relationships. We are continuously talking with its developers to provide them with adequate support in designing a platform capable of gathering interesting people and helping them generate innovative ideas.


  • To manage time effectively, we introduced a Google Form to collect ideas before gathering in a team and spending time explaining and discussing ideas.
  • It is important to keep the participants motivated; we have designed three workshops every week. It was a precious interval to refresh their mind without forgetting what we did before.
  • Introduce an action plan (roadmap) for idea execution and development. The schedule can provide milestones to polish service ideas by prototyping them after launching a new service. Keep in mind that clients usually have a busy routine, so it is important to provide an action plan that allows them to develop services further.