Erica Driver of Forrester research, described some of the steps Microsoft is using in its physical environment to foster innovation and productivity: Microsoft Is Using Workplace Design And Layout To Encourage A Collaborative Culture.
The Collaboration Room provides integrated communications software, telephony, and audio/video technology.
The "Mixer" is a kitchen / bar-like hangout area that encourages serendipitous, unplanned interactions.
The "Situation Room" is an enclosed space with flexible, open workspaces and mobile storage – and a wall covering suitable for being written on with dry erase pens – is a flexible area that supports a group of people who need to work for a predetermined period of time.
The "Think Tank” is a living room-style, informal team discussion area.
As I sit in my office, I wonder if the physical layout of a law firm could be set up to increase the collaboration and sharing that is essential to knowledge management. The best knowledge sharing and collaboration is between colleagues face-to-face.