Design for Innovation


Interview with Nate Wendling

“Hi, Amber. How can I help you today?” Nate asked as he sat down in the conference room.

“Just tell me about The Forge for the blog,” I said. “I have some questions I might ask to steer the direction, but first I’d just like you to tell me about the project.”

The Forge by Pillar Technology is an agile software company that serves as the middleman between a company and its advancement by way of rapid technology. The Forge is a community based on the concept of work hard, play hard. They work in groups of four to eight people located in clusters with a kegerator for their downtime. “The cool thing about this space is that… well, we’ve done studies on open office environments and the rate of productivity inside them and The Forge has a ratio to balance efficiency,” Nate said of the space. “In terms of the project, it’s really the first innovation center we did. It’s a new way of thinking for the area and we helped them develop not only the space but the brand.” The Forge originated in Ann Arbor, Michigan and expanded to Columbus. Once the brand standards were set, the space in Ann Arbor needed revised which spurred into a few other locations.

At this point in our conversation, Frank did the robot into the conference room. “Hey! You guys need me to turn the lights down low and start the fire? It’ll be called ‘Fireside Chats with Nathan Wendling.’” Nate essentially ignored him.

“In terms of what you’re going to write, I’d be sure to mention Bob Myers. Frank actually met him, but like everything else, he ran away from it, so I maintained our relationship,” he gloated and then told Frank to get out of the room.

“Okay, let me know if you need any coffee,” Frank said and laughed out of the kitchen. “I’m just here for whatever you need.”

“The thing I want to say about Bob is that he’s a lot different than most of our clients,” Nate said. “A lot of our clients are forward thinkers, but Bob is outside of the box. He relied on us for the look and the architectural components and he took that and coined the spaces,” Nate said. The Forge isn’t the typical hierarchical workplace where there’s a clear and defined line of command. “Every person has a voice in The Forge. It’s like everyone is the same rank… of course, with a certain level of respect.

Since the space in Columbus, The Forge has expanded twice. One expansion was another conference room and another is a branch of The Forge called the Launchpad. 

“So, what do you think the biggest challenge was with a job like this?” I asked Nate.

“I think that this was the first time we had been involved in a project like this and we had to do really in depth and intricate studies to figure out how individuals worked,” he said. “Fully grasping what they needed out of their space was a challenge that kept and keeps evolving as we do.”

2012 Pop Culture Facts

To start us off, let’s take a moment to remember Whitney Houston by wiggling to this little ditty. (Insert “I Wanna Dance With Somebody”) Thank you for that. You know who loves that song? I bet Hannah Horvath from Girls does. Hannah wouldn’t be anywhere without feeling the freedom to turn that song on when she feels like it. It’s in her bones. Speaking of bones, 50 Shades of Grey (the novel) was released this year causing eBook sales to skyrocket. #YOLO! If anyone knows how t4o do this, it’s Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games, which came out this year as well as the term YOLO itself.

Scottie and Esra decided to make it official and stand under a tree and stare at each other. Just kidding. They got hitched, ya’ll! #YOLO