Perspectives

What’s the smell of breakthrough?

Accelerating innovation in business through the science of scent

​The Deloitte Greenhouse is a multi-sensory environment where even scent is calculated to enhance group productivity.

Using holistic sensory activation

Quick, which is your most powerful sense? It isn't sight. It isn't sound. It's smell!

Your sense of smell is more than a million times more sensitive. And as many people know, scent has a powerful effect on our emotions, memory recall, and state of mind.

Many innovative workplace designs expend most of their effort on sight and sound, but often forget about scent. Did someone think we were motivated by the smell of office carpet and printer toner? It's time to give the olfactory nerve some respect.

When participants come to a Deloitte Greenhouse space to solve complex problems, we consider the multi-sensory experience that can impact a participant's cognition, physiology, and behavior—all critical in promoting disruptive thinking and productive action. And as part of that, each dedicated Deloitte Greenhouse space draws upon the science of scent to help Lab participants shift mindsets, accelerate breakthroughs, and confound expectations.

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Understanding the art of scent

​You may have heard about the links between color and emotion. Red brings out passion and aggression. Yellow is cheerful. Green is calming, which is why TV shows tame guests' nerves by having them wait in a "green room." But did you know there's also an emotional lexicon of scent?

  • The smell of grapefruit and other citrus fruits include the chemical limonene and have been shown to increase calmness and decrease anxiety. Grapefruit, in particular, can act as an appetite suppressant!
  • Lavender reduces anxiety and improves reasoning. Romans put it in their bathwater–the name actually comes from the Latin "lavare," to wash–and people use it today to de-stress and think more analytically.
  • To keep your facts straight, the memory-enhancing scent of rosemary may help. Studies have shown that when it's not helping enrich your Sunday dinner, rosemary also increases alertness and produces a feeling of contentment.
  • But sometimes your brain needs a kick in the pants. Peppermint can run to the rescue with a boost that has been shown to help athletes increase their speed, strength, and endurance. It also increases attention span and alertness.

Using technology, materials, design, environmental psychology, and more, we build each Deloitte Greenhouse space to give visitors every possible tool to leave behind the status quo. From cognitive cooking to high-impact visuals, we leverage the power of all of the five senses to go beyond business-as-usual.

Our experience designers call it "holistic sensory activation." You may just think "hmm, that smells nice." These elements are just another tool that helps you and your colleagues work together in ways that will blow away your previous workshop experiences. When you visit a Deloitte Greenhouse space, you'll know from the moment you walk in–innovation is in the air.

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