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Idea Work

Idea Work

Idea Work, is the culmination of a four-year research project that examines extraordinary creative and collaborative work in practice. The authors take you behind the scenes of some of Norway’s leading companies, showing how surprisingly similarly they work to develop and realize new ideas. Case studies of prominent companies like StatOil, as well as Snøhetta’s process for designing the Opera House in Oslo, and the National 9/11 Memorial Museum Pavilion in New York.

As illustrated through the process of how we design a building or a book, Snøhetta nurtures concepts. The design concept of this book is reflection. Post-It notes – a strategy often used for note taking. Playfulness and a colorful interplay in a creative environment.

The book is available for purchase here.


In 2012, Snøhetta was the subject of an academic research project titled Idea Work that studied the design methodology of a selected group of creative practices. Amongst the concepts discussed in the book that emerged from this study, our approach to design touches upon the following drivers: 

Snøhetta recognizes that good ideas do not come if everyone agrees about everything. Generative resistance is important to the creative process, allowing criticism to develop. Challenge is the source of energy and creativity – it is what drives us forward. 

When our work environment allows for craving wonder, it means that we are given room to interpret and generate new ideas. To see the special in the ordinary. To be in a state of mind where we do not know anything for sure. This is where a project moves into something new and unforeseen.

Liberating laughter speaks to how playful energy and humor opens up people, situations, and ideas. It cannot be planned or put into a formula. It is a reaction where people break into laughter – together. It is a change of tone and atmosphere where we relax and free ourselves. 




Education & Research, Print Design, Graphic Design





Oslo, Norway


Print Design


Idea Work

The book is available for purchase here.