Be careful about what products you rant about – you may end up being asked to give a helping hand in doing something about it. That is exactly what happened to Scott Adams
, makers of the comic strip ‚Dilbert
.’ The cartoonist collaborated with the firm Ideo
to create Dilbert’s ultimate cubicle. In this dream machine, fears of having your boss walking in on a private conversation or beng uninspired by your waste paper basket are passed through the shredder.
"Somehow, accidentally, I realized I'd become a leading authority on what's wrong with cubicles. You don't have to be Thomas Edison to realize there's a product possibility there."
‘I don't know anyone who works in a cubicle who wishes there were more communication.’ That may be so, however Scott Adams has always made his email address available to the general public
. In this way he has tapped into myriads of disgruntled cubicle users
that firmly believe that a change might improve productivity
. Adams responds to readers and frequently bases his strips on suggestions from his fans. In 2001, following thousands of requests which he received from his devout readers, the ‘ultimate cubicle’ project was born.
The cubicle focuses on relieving many of the issues which Adams has consistently made reference to in his artwork. Together they created ‘a dream cubicle', offering its user everything from a fish tank
(with real fish!), a happy vibrating bin to a boss detector
and sky simulation. Hammocks
are also provide to deal with frequent downtime. The desk surface is a sort of cooling or heating pad depending on whether you’re enjoying morning coffee
or an afternoon cola.
What did the guys at IDEO do to make themselves as knowledgeable as Mr Adams himself? They did two things, one of which had to be moving into cubicles themselves. This was not too much of a normal environment for a stylish Californian designer. They also poured through the comics and scanned for ways that Dilbert and his brethren
express their frustrations.
The somewhat dubious result, which does not really take expense into account, is a modular cubicle that allows each worker to select through functionalities and create a space based on his or her tastes and lifestyle
. One shame is that the Dilbert cartoon line aesthetic was never incorporated.