The 50+ Places Where Big Ideas are Born

January 29, 2013

Here’s how to come up with your next great idea: Meditate cross-legged, sip Mai Tais at a beach picnic, cuddle with your dogs, walk on a lush trail or visualize an opera house.

where i work

At least, those are the scenes where dozens of business leaders get their best thinking done, as they revealed in “Where I Work,” a new LinkedIn photo series revealing workspace of thought leaders.

Not that you need exotic surroundings to coax out creativity. Lots of LinkedIn Influencers find inspiration at traditional desks. Still others rely on whatever temporary space they find themselves in: hotel rooms, economy-class seats, hair salons or kitchen tables.

The concept of mindfulness unites this wide variety of settings. No matter the environment, successful people tailor their surroundings to the specific ways they work. Craigslist founder Craig Newmark’s desk is sparse by design: His mind works best with few visual distractions. But Peter Guber, co-owner of the L.A. Dodgers, forgoes a desk for a round table crowded with memorabilia, including a collection of NBA bobblehead dolls. His goal: To create an unintimidating environment for business associates.

That mindfulness extends to small details. Even the most minimalist desks in the series are marked with at least a couple of significant objects. Steve Rubel, digital media expert at public relations firm Edelman, has a space “so empty, some think it’s vacant.” But he still adorns his spartan cubicle with a boomerang brought back from Australia – a reminder of the fun places his work takes him. A hand-carved wooden box reminds BP Capital Chairman and CEO T. Boone Pickens of his alma mater, Oklahoma State University.

Some workspace items are functional but still personal, like the J-shaped massage tool that Duke University Professor Dan Ariely uses to stay loose, or the Post-It note that -- along with a daily alarm -- reminds entrepreneur Andrew Chen to floss and stretch at 3 p.m.

For many, work calls for something besides simply sitting and typing. Amidst bustling newsrooms, television studios or lecture halls full of MBA students, at standing desks, treadmill desks, or monitors with no desk at all, some influencers rarely – or never – sit down. Reflecting awareness that resting all day isn’t great for your health, eight of these stories featured spaces that require them to stand – or even walk – while they work.

These images prove that a vast array of places can be conducive to productivity. What type of environment helps you work best? Do you think people’s surroundings affect the quality of their output? Tell us about the spaces where you get things done on our LinkedIn Company Page, share a picture on our Facebook page, or Tweet a picture to @LinkedInToday with the hashtag #thisiswhereIwork, and we might feature your scene in an upcoming post.