01/03/2012 07:06 EST | Updated 01/07/2012 12:57 EST

Creative Spaces: The Need for Space Outside the Office

I've had a very colourful career path. From TV, radio, news, and music labels, to zoos, aquariums, and even a circus to one of the world's largest airport developers in the traditional corporate world. As different as all these jobs were, they had one thing in common: their conventional management styles and lack of creative spaces.

From being forced to conduct Meyers-Briggs personality tests to turning out weekly status reports, from sitting through endless mind numbing meetings to feeling lost in a maze of cubicles, most corporate jobs -- to put it mildly -- are profoundly uninspiring.

As CEO of the Creative Class Group (CCG), I don't view myself as someone's boss. I value our team members for their contributions and give them the freedom and flexibility to do their work and manage their work lives from anywhere ay any time. I don't check to see when they report to work or log on, nor do I monitor their lunch breaks. I don't concern myself with what they wear or how they look. They could work five hours a week or 70 hours a week; it's up to them to manage their work load and our clients.

Knowledge and creative workers do not need prison wardens. Give them freedom and flexibility and empower them to do their work and they will be much happier, more loyal, and committed.

And then there's the matter of workspace.

We've moved from an agricultural society to one that was industrial, then knowledge-based, and now, creative. But the majority of our employers and working environments have yet to adapt.

Not only should creative class workers have control over when they work and what their work environment looks like, they should be allowed to choose their work environment as well. Even when they're not traveling, creative workers spend less time at their desks and more time in open spaces, such as coffee shops, hotel lobbies, and street plazas. And then there are the growing legions of full-time freelancers, who have no set place of business.

We have an essential need for what I call "Fourth Places" -- hybrid spaces in which we can connect, exchange ideas, and dialogue. A place where we can relax if we want to and work even more productively than we can at the office.

In this newest installment of our Creative Spaces series, my colleague Steven Pedigo and I have assembled a slideshow to celebrate and congratulate those pioneers, some of whom we've worked with at CCG, who are envisioning and actualizing new ways of living and working.

Our next Creative Spaces series will feature creative office spaces. Feel free to send photos of your innovative design to

Creative Spaces: Fourth Spaces