Chapter 2: Pragmatic Innovation The New mandate
On the twelfth floor in a renovated office building at the foot of the Smithfield Street Bridge, a famous Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, landmark built two centuries ago, sits an entrepreneurial high-tech start-up company that epitomizes the concept of innovation. The office space has won several awards for its novel use of low-cost materials and has the feel of an open landscape that characterizes the horizontal organization of the company. White stretch fabric hangs from the ceiling in a dramatic way that shields but does not completely hide the exposed details of the original architecture. When the heating and cooling system kicks in, the fabric expands into large sails, giving the feeling of being on a sailing ship, an apt metaphor for the river below and the activity within. The atmosphere is creative but minimalist, and it is just the right mix to keep the mostly young interdisciplinary employees inspired. The views out the windows show a panoramic view of the confluence of the Allegheny and Monongahela Rivers, the point in Pittsburgh where the Ohio River is conceived. These are the same rivers that were used in the last Pittsburgh revolution. The once-polluted rivers that were filled with coal and slag barges are now a center of tourism and leisure boats. The new revolution is innovation.