The word innovation doesn’t usually bring to mind wastebaskets. But back in 1914, a Grand Rapids, Michigan–based furniture company received a patent to make something the world had never seen: a strong, durable, fireproof, low-cost wastebasket.
More than a century later, Steelcase is an architecture, furniture, and technology products provider with 60,000 products and 20,000 finishes on offer. And a culture of innovation has remained core to the company since that first patented design.
The latest Steelcase design advance is a virtual one—a new innovation to help design, assemble, and market its products. “When you tell customers, ‘This is a small office, this is a small hallway, this is a big hallway,’ they have a really difficult time understanding the space,” says Steelcase’s Steve Goetzinger about traditional architecture plans.
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