By Mallory JindraThe ability to successfully transition into a new market in order to grow is perhaps the defining measure between maintaining a business and skyrocketing into a sphere of innovation inhabited only by the top talent. To say this is a ‘tricky’ venture is a gross understatement, but it’s what growing a business is all about, and it’s certainly attainable.
Innovant is a growing company taking smart, conscientious stops to evolve itself from an expert in one area, in this case the trading desks of the 1990s, to a viable competitor in the broader furniture manufacturing market. The company’s very name self-prophesizes its ability to do so, but only recently has it begun to branch out into new product categories. Now, in its 25th anniversary year, Innovant has 160 employees in the New York, New Jersey and Connecticut tri-state area, plus Chicago and San Francisco who are busy elevating the company to the next level with a broad product offering.
Innovant formed in 1990 (originally known as CBA) as a supplier of trading desks to the financial and energy companies. Its signature claim was introducing to the marketplace the concept of tailoring catalogued product without increasing cost or adversely affecting lead time. In 2008, after opening an office in London, England, Innovant recognized the workplace shift to benching products and decided it was ready to spring from trading out into commercial offices.
“Trading desk manufacturing has changed little in 10 years,” said Bruce Wells, Innovant Director of Marketing and Development, “and trading desk design innovation has plateaued. Trading often cannot take risks – it goes with guaranteed techniques. We knew that benching was going to be the future, and we made a decision to rebrand and expand our offerings.”
Once a company makes the decision to jump into something new, it must address a list of predicable but important questions. What does this new customer segment need? What have they always wanted, and what have they not experienced yet that we can provide? Do we have the knowledge to successfully execute? Or is it too far off the mark/too big a leap? In its leap to benching, Innovant found logical, intuitive answers to all of the important questions.
“A trading desk is similar to a benching workstation, but more sophisticated,” said Mr. Wells. “It has a similar footprint, but there’s about three to four times more technology than normal. And the end user is different. Traders are high-strung, high-demand alpha personalities. It’s easier to scale down a trading desk to suit a typical workstation’s needs than to scale up a typical workstation to a trading desk. In that sense, it was a natural progression.”FORm_office™, Innovant’s benching system, offers four types of benching/workstation solutions, all designed with Innovant’s “trading eye” expertise in integrating technology above, below and within the furniture: the full product overview reads, “The other side of the story is inside the bench, where superior cable management, technology accommodations, and rugged superstructure make FORm_office a benchmark of intelligent engineering and clean, contemporary design.” FORm_office Adjustable Height, which won Best of NeoCon Gold for Benching in 2012, utilizes sleek control switch options, and the system can be built with shelving in between workstations to minimize the oft-awkward feeling of not using the same height as the person in the spot next to you.
At NeoCon 2014, Innovant displayed the newest innovation to its benching solutions, FORm_office Standing Height, a fixed standing height open plan workstation that, when combined with stool-height task chairs, allows users to work in a seated or standing position without the cost of adjustable height mechanisms. The solution proposes to benefit “collaborative offices concerned with employee health and workplace aesthetic”, and the logic is there; why not just start with a fixed standing height option and then use a stool height chair to sit? And aesthetically speaking, who wants to sit at an adjustable height desk working lopsidedly three feet below your co-workers on either or both sides? Because the workspace is kept level, the solution is also much more conducive to teamwork and can double as a conference table.
Visiting Innovant’s showroom, one sees the full range of its expanded lines of conference and private office solutions, which it debuted in 2013 and continued to enhance at NeoCon 2014. Freed from the constraints of the concise, predictable trading desk aesthetic, Innovant has also put serious thought into how its product looks. Wells describes the brand as clean, sophisticated and robust, with a determined move to sidestep the Ping-Pong conference tables and beanbag chairs of so many playful workspaces existing today.
“We have a product that balances the drastically different aesthetics of both Silicon Valley and Wall Street.”
Wells cites the company’s strong history of offering affordable customization as an asset that has allowed it to accelerate its position. “The ability to tailor to the extent we can is exciting, and the quality of the full experience we’re offering our clients is so high that they find they can actually achieve much more than what they had expected and still stay within their budget. When they come to our showroom, they receive a tour of what’s possible, rather than just what’s available.”
Securing the fundamentals of excellent customer service and the design quality of product is certainly top of the docket when you’re in transition. And Wells notes that Innovant’s reach extends far past its regional tri-state home market (both its main office and factory are located in its home market) so that a large percentage of its business is now conducted on the west coast. But as Innovant moves past these initial years of expansion to more involved projects, we wonder, what’s next?
“We want to shape the team room. The true collaborative team space, which exists somewhere between the workstation and the conference room where employees can act as a team rather than simply co-workers, is a complicated one.” Innovant’s recent work with two notable technology giants has provided a window into what the needs and parameters of this type of space are.
“This type of space is becoming more and more important in the work environment, especially in light of the mobile nature of how people work and the fact that they very well might not have a personal cube to themselves anymore. We don’t think it’s been done justice yet, and we want to lead that effort.”
Innovant’s recent products demonstrate its ability to evolve through innovation. Its lineup is strong, and we’re paying attention.
Originally published in the Office Insight, August 25, 2014.
3 Tips For Designing A Work Space That Embodies Your Brand
Express your voice. Embody your values. Build a stage, not the set.
"A workspace is as much an opportunity to express who you are as a company as it is a functional place to get work done. This is an important chance to put your brand into three-dimensions, to surround yourselves with personality and character, to create some theater for your prospective employees and partners.
Be forewarned though. This kind of expression is not borne from “design thinking.” This is not user-centered design that emanates from interviews of every employee or that integrates 1,000 voices. This design mandate needs to come from an individual or very small team so that it has a singular voice. This kind of creative personality comes from individual idiosyncrasy, so it cannot be a large group effort.“ - John Edson, Designer San Francisco CA
Announcing Our New San Francisco Office
Innovant has established itself as a leading provider of tailored, clean and intelligent benching furniture on the east coast with it’s FORm_office product range. In October we opened our first San Francisco office at One Market Street led by Western Regional Business Development Manager George Schoenwald.
To contact our San Francisco Office
FORm_office S4 Installation - Redwood California
Innovant recently installed Form Office S4 benching system for YuMe Video Ad Network in Redwood. Founded by Jayant Kadambi and Ayyappan Sankari in 2004, YuMe is one of the most innovative leaders in the field of video advertising, directing campaigns for Mini Cooper, Wells Fargo and eBay. Their headquarters are in Redwood City, California, and with sales offices throughout the United States in addition to the European headquarters in London.
Our award winning S4 Form Office benching system elegant and modern complements the urban interior of this unique office environment. The exposed brick walls and the wood beam ceiling are the perfect match for the modern and contemporary Form Office S4 benching system. Its contemporary design, advanced technology and cable management provides creatives with an optimal workstation. Each desk is outfitted with privacy panels, personal storage cubes and data/usb ports for the user’s convenience. Form Office S4 is in a class of its own, perfect for collaborative or ‘touchdown’ spaces like YuMe’s offices are. Furniture that makes for a creative and collaborative environment can also empower your staff by granting new modes of expression. Devoting space that allows this is important, but furniture designed to promote collaboration greatly increases productivity. This is the great contribution that Form Office S4 offers to all creatives of YuMe’s offices, encouraging them to share their ideas and creating a collaborative work environment.
Form Office S4 installation in Redwood has been possible thanks to the full-service dealership Inside Source, which offers office furniture and services to customers throughout the San Francisco and greater Bay Area. They help companies achieve their goals faster and more reliably providing a complete menu of services, including project management, space planning, warehousing and installation.
Interested in S4? Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information
The Future of Education
As the world becomes more and more “social,” major changes are taking place that are transforming the way we work. Private cubicles have become a thing of the past, as people are seeing the benefit of collaborative working spaces that stimulate creativity. Beyond even the world of business, these changes are infiltrating the education system, as students are beginning to see their library as more than a place just to seek information, but rather places of creativity and collaboration among peers. In this rapidly expanding world, there is a multitude of room for discovery that both the students and teachers recognize. The generations of students that are in school, and those yet to go are no longer stimulated by the solitude of cubical study spaces but seek motivation from their peers and the sharing of ideas with those around them.
Library study rooms, and conference like settings allow for collaborative creativity that students need. Our conference tables and FORm_office products fit these exact needs that students and school libraries are now calling for. Innovant has recognized these changes and universities have been seeking our products to outfit their libraries to become more than centers of information to centers for collaboration and creativity. In the past month two prestigious universities have selected Innovant products for their campuses. The University of Chicago selected Innovant’s Conference line for their Regenstein Library reading tables and York University in Toronto selected FORm_office for their Osgoode Hall Law School collaborative workstations. In April Innovant was awarded similar projects for Marist College in upstate New York, and we are currently pursuing numerous high profile higher education projects across the country with our benching and conference products.
Innovant Launches a New Website
Over the past 20 years, Innovant has been pushing the boundaries of industrial design in the office furniture market, and responding to the ever-changing needs of the workplace. By working directly with their customers and using artful storytelling to sell a high-quality bespoke product, we have been highly successful in a relatively small marketplace. Today, few people know the stories that make Innovant desk unique, innovative, timeless, and sustainable. The innovant.com redesign will allow us to represent ourselves in the light that is reflective of who we are as a company and the principles we stand for. Come check us out to find out more about our story!