Broken Windows

One of the most interesting scenes in Hotel Rwanda (the movie) is when, in the middle of the ethnic war, surrounded by death and suffering, the hotel manager decides that the hotel in a luxury hotel and it should remain that way. Everything is supposed to work as if nothing happens around the hotel, maintaining the high standard of service. This decision, taken intuitively, is in line with a theory in criminology – the broken windows theory. This decision also saves the hotel from total destruction and delays the inevitable consequences of war.

In short, the scientists have found that, a building that is not maintained accordingly to its standards will slowly be subject to decay: firstly a window is broken, then some garbage is dumped near it, then another window is broken, then some beggars gather inside to sleep over night, then it becomes a scene for drug use and abuse, then criminality increases around it. By keeping a building neat and orderly, you prevent this cycle of events.

I have seen this several times in my life: old communist buildings being transformed into something horrible. I’ve seen decaying buildings, but also decaying headquarters of old factories, including the steel plant in my hometown that’s now a perfect place for ghost hunting. To put it simple, even if you don’t have too much activity, you have to keep your space clean, or else it becomes a magnet for ruin.

In fact, where you work – your setting – is important because it is a constant autosuggestion. Everything that surrounds us will leave a fingerprint on us; we unconsciously perceive and are influenced by everything around us, and if we live in dirt, we tend to become dirt. Also, where we work defines us and our products, as you can see in this article about Vivaldi’s innovation centre in the States (reload the link if it doesn’t work or try this link). It’s psychology in action.

So, how is your workplace? How is your own house?
Does your place represent you and your business/product?
Is it clean? Is it well maintained?
What is the message you want to incorporate in your projects by working in that space?


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