Astra Zeneca Coffee Lab, Mölndal, Sweden
Where will the medicines of the future come from? Like all other innovation industries, pharmaceutical companies like AstraZeneca depend on the creativity of their staff - from scientists and researchers to laboratory staff and students. How to get people to be creative is one of the perennial problems of business and industry, but one way is to get people to meet, talk and cross-pollinate eachother’s minds, and one place where that has been happening since the 17th century is the coffee shop.
However, at AstraZeneca, you are never farther than 10 metres from a machine full of free, excellent coffee - so how do you make people come and BUY coffee at a coffee shop? Our solution was to bring not just coffee, but a slice of city life, to the company campus. It was important that the Coffee Lab wasn't just another employee cafeteria - it had to be an experience worth coming across campus for, the way people come from across town for the best café in the city centre.
The Coffee Lab is not just popular with employees, it has brought new life to the entire building and become the natural meeting point for everyone from the researchers and laboratory staff to visiting professors and students on a field trip, and even the king of Sweden - when he recently visited the site, his tour of the facilities started and ended at the Coffee Lab.
Which means that - just as we thought - the heart of an innovative pharmaceutical company isn't the laboratories where the medicines are created, but the place where its employees meet and have ideas.