Design is a state of mind. You can cultivate your mind to become a fertile ground for design to grow and develop. You can develop your mind's eye to spot design, appreciate design and create unique design.
I believe that just as individuals have a responsibility to participate in a culture of design, a company has the responsibility to create an environment of design. Both the individual and the company need to work together in this pursuit.
At Benefitfocus we use our physical space to express an appreciation for good design. We have many objects that cause one to stop and consider them, to be curious, to spark the creativity that is in each of us. We also have many large photo books on fashion, industrial design, architecture and even nature.
In the lobby of our Design + Engineering building, we showcase a 1959 Red Chevy Corvette. The instantly recognizable form captures your attention and can break you out of the day-to-day activity for a moment. It interrupts you and gets your creative mind going.
As we were designing the lobby of this amazing facility, we wanted to have something bold that would make it clear that we value design. I felt a large physical object was the best way to do that, as opposed to say a photo. When the idea of an automobile came around, I instantly liked it, but did not feel it proper to have the company spending money on such an object, even if it was to further our design statement. So I found the car and bought it myself. I felt strongly enough about it that I was willing to spend my own money to accomplish the goal. I find that the more passion I have, the stronger it gets shared with all of our associates, and even our customers. In the end, we are building both a culture of design and a collection of objects that physically represent that ideal.