helps companies design and cultivate agile cultures and the workplaces that facilitate them.

Our design thinking methodology for enhancing company culture and performance focuses on companies:

  • Looking to attract and retain top talent
  • Undergoing a leadership transition and/or culture re-set
  • Currently underperforming from a people perspective
  • Navigating an M&A

We work at the intersection of workplace strategy and HRM.

The OWD system and process is grounded in the latest research in organizational science, particularly in the findings of evolutionary anthropology, biology, and psychology.

Questions and problems we help address:

  • Why do employee engagement levels remain at the low 30% level?
  • Why does top young talent prefer to work in startup among peers than in legacy companies?
  • Why don’t Millennials buy into standard corporate culture programs?
  • How to build communities where high performance can thrive?

Backed by Science.

Building organizations that work with (rather than against) the currents of human nature is not rocket science. But it is science.

Two Ways to
your organization:

New Ways of Working

Transition & Change Management

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In-firm Coworking Services

New Ways of Working.

Our change management process follows a 4 phase design thinking methodology


This is the discovery and assessment phase, where we develop an understanding of current states of work styles, culture, organizational alignment, etc.

  • Workshops
  • Qualitative/Ethnographic utilization assessment


 The third phase is the prototyping phase, where we assist client in experimenting with a pilot coworking and/or activity based working space for a defined period of time:

  • Creation and implementation of pilot space(s)


In the second phase we work with client to consider what types of future states are imaginable and possible.

  • Brainstorming & co-creation workshop
  • Comprehensive roadmap documentation



 Using our proprietary engagement, productivity and innovation assessment tool, we help measure the efficacy of the pilot program (compared with a control group) 

  • Weekly pulse surveys through the OpenWork Navigator App to measure employee performance in pilot space(s)
  • For 3-6 months
  • Reward what works, and extend/terminate

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Development & Management Services.

Design & Develop.

Design & Develop a spark-space coworking environment where elements of the 10 Pillars of Organic Organization can thrive.


Manage the coworking environment on an ongoing basis


  • Access management
  • Community management
  • Social programming
  • Innovation programming
  • People analytics



Who We Are.

OpenWork Design is a new offering from the team at OpenWork Agency, the world’s leading coworking consultancy.  Over the past five years we have worked with clients on coworking projects throughout the US, Central America, the Caribbean, Asia, the Middle East, and Africa.

We work direct with companies, helping to build agile cultures and the workplaces that facilitate them.

As more companies embrace coworking as part of their workplace strategies, the cultural knock-on effect of working in coworking and ABW spaces is just emerging.  Leveraging coworking, ABW, (or Activity Based Coworking-ABC) spaces as a culture change vehicle is a natural extension of the coworking modality. We are excited to bring our extensive experience as coworking pioneers to bear on the change management needs of companies of all sizes.

You can read more about us here.

Case Studies

We’ve worked on a variety of projects at difference stages in the workplace lifecycle over the years. 

The 10 Pillars

The principals at OpenWork Design are scientists with over twenty years of experience in academic research and publication in evolutionary anthropology.  Over those years we have come to understand what types of organizational structures and systems organically support and nourish human nature and thus drive optimal human performance.

Drew Jones, PhD

Organizational Anthropologist

Founding Partner


– Humans are wired for culture
– And have ‘culture needs’
– Most companies don’t fulfill these needs, but rather preach corporate culture platitudes that pragmatic knowledge workers don’t buy into
– This can change


– Humans are not sedentary creatures
– We are designed for motion and movement
– Thus, corporate offices (cubicles and fixed-seat open plan offices) are social cages


– Human mobility means that variation in work is essential
– This can be:
– Sit-stand desks
– Coworking
– Activity Based Working
– Working from home or coffee shop (in addition to the office)


– We are by nature emotional creatures
– Appealing to our cultural and emotional nature with “rational” arguments isn’t as effective as creating a ‘story at work’ that people can share
– Small talk and gossip are the stuff of social life


– Humans are more effective when they have choice
– Sufficient decision rights make the difference between being engaged vs. present
– Dignity and respect are key to creating a sense of belonging, and this in turn compels people to work harder for their employer


– Traditional performance evaluation systems assume that humans are inherently selfish and rational, but this is a myth
– Humans are social creatures who thrive in communities
– Belonging to a meaningful community supports autonomy

Self Organizing

– When allowed to self organize, teams are significantly more effective
– This is group autonomy, proven by leading companies:
– Valve
– Semco
– Morning Star
– W.L Gore
– Red Hat
– Automattic
– SAS Institute


– The leaderless organization is a myth
– But effective leadership is situational and changes as work changes


– Monotony dulls the senses. Legacy firms are great at this.
– Experimentation, learning and growth fuel engagement
– Innovative organizations create a win-win


– Sustainable organizational units are no larger than 150 people, as this is the limit to how many people humans can realistically know/trust in an intimate manner
– Creating ‘neighborhoods’ and ‘villages’ to this scale is an effective way to build community, trust, and commitment

Get in Touch

We look forward to hearing from you. 

+1 (888) 884-6370