Innovate more in less time at Inventionland

Written by Sarah Spitz, on 20 June 2018

In Pittsburgh, Inventionland stands out from its competitors by the breadth of the product scope they invent and by the amount of work accomplished: every inventor produces a prototype every week! How do the teams manage to generate so many ideas and maintain this pace in the long run?

Paradoxically, it's by shortening the workweeks!

Inventors work four long days instead of five shorter ones: Inventionland operates from 6 am to 6 pm, Monday through Thursday. Lunch breaks are generally very short: maximum 30 minutes. We say that, but it's approximate... Since no employee is timed.

The week seems a little longer... and so does the weekend! - Tess, inventor at Inventionland

We know what you're wondering: how to maintain such a pace on such long days? Firstly, at Inventionland, breaks during the day are not regulated but rather encouraged. A fully equipped game room is provided for inventors: pool and ping pong tables, basketball net, unlimited snack bar... And then, the office environment and ambiance are also adapted: enchanting decor, dimmed lights, relaxing background music, few interruptions to avoid premature fatigue.

Many of the interviewed employees admitted to also working on weekends. They are all passionate: inspiration doesn't leave them on weekends, even though the offices are empty from Thursday evening to Monday morning.

The impact on creativity, productivity, and motivation is undeniable.

200 prototypes are created each month, for 50 employees... So, each employee takes 4 days to create a final prototype. For a design company that isn't specialized in a certain segment or product domain, this is a remarkable indicator.

Regarding motivation, several employees (including those with children) confessed that this pace was one of the main reasons for their willingness to continue working at Inventionland. The week seems longer to them because they work more intensively. They make faster progress on their projects and immerse themselves fully, while weekends also seem longer to them, allowing for a better work-life balance. In short, they rest better and come back to work fresher and more motivated. Which is not negligible when setting the alarm for 5 am.