The Importance of Place

By Cindy Vallance

PLACE is the 9th of Nancy Kline’s principles for a thinking environment. What does a place need to offer to help us think? In her book, she compares two locations – a boiler/storage room used as a meeting room and a sleek designer spec office tower conference room. Which was better? In these instances, for her, the answer was neither. Why?

From boiler room

The reality was that it wasn’t just the appearance of the space that was important. It was the sense in these instances that the people didn’t matter – form over function at two ends of the spectrum.


to Boardroom?

The reality is that we may or may not have very much control over the physical space we inhabit – especially at work.  But when others come into our ‘space’ what can we do with what we have available to us to show people that they matter so they can think better?

Can we rearrange the tables to make the room for a meeting more welcoming or perhaps more informal? Can we do anything to manage light and temperature to ensure optimal comfort for them? Can we simply offer a cup of coffee, tea or a glass of water to welcome the person to our space?

We think better when we feel respected and that we matter. Place counts.


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