Beautiful Work

Is your work or organization beautiful? Aesthetics is not just about making things pretty, it’s making your work better.

Aesthetics is a growing field of serious research that looks at how we align beauty with impact. Creating beauty in our work and organizations — not just in structure, but process and values — has measurable impact on employee engagement, work satisfaction, and customer/client benefit. Design is often characterized incorrectly as making things attractive, but that doesn’t make the field’s contributions through beauty insignificant.

We draw on the recent Censemaking Innovation Newsletter and look at two areas where research on beauty has shown real impact: organizations and work

Beautiful Organizations

Beauty can be easily dismissed as a ‘nice’ to have around us, but could it be a necessity? And can an organization be beautiful? The answer is a definitive ‘YES’ to both. A growing body of research in organizational aesthetics has shown that beauty can affect employee engagementbusiness performance, and also contribute to the wellbeing of the entire organization. Aesthetics is just about making things attractive, it’s about making things better, by design.

Beautiful Work & Well-being

Beauty is something that is difficult to describe, subjective, yet also open to empirical examination. Recent research has looked at how experiences of beauty — however one self-defines it — gets under our skin and connects our senses to emotions and thoughts. Studies exploring the relationship between our physical space and well-being find a clear connection between them. Workers are also more satisfied with their work and motivated to perform when there is an investment in art, architecture, thoughtful spatial and work task design.

The effects of aesthetics are not trivial. Perception of beauty enhances perceived usability and desirability in products and services. While this can be a challenge to designers trying to assess actual usability of products, the benefits for making things that people enjoy and want to use are clear: beauty is an advantage.

What makes your work beautiful? The answer isn’t just trivia.

Note: Want to bring beauty to your organization? Some lessons from design, psychology, and systems thinking can bring creativity and motivation to light. Reach out if you need some help. Make your world beautiful

Cameron D. Norman

I am a designer, psychologist, educator, evaluator, and strategist focused on innovation in human systems. I'm curious about the world around me and use my role as Principal and President of Cense Ltd. as a means of channeling that curiosity into ideas, questions, and projects that contribute to a better world.

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