Transforming Cirrus Aircraft’s Innovation Center

In 2021, Cirrus Aircraft embarked on a journey with Busines Furniture + Co. at the Duluth International Airport in Minnesota. The company’s vision was clear: to create a cutting-edge facility dedicated to developing next-generation innovations while fostering collaboration and preserving its mission of making personal aviation more accessible. See the transformational process undertaken from 2021 to 2023, with a focus on workplace strategy, change management, and the grand opening of the state-of-the-art Innovation Center.

Phase 1: Workplace Strategy (2021): The transformation began with the formulation of a comprehensive workplace strategy. A series of strategic steps managed by the Choreo team, powered by Business Furniture:

  1. Visioning Session: Senior leadership engaged in a visioning session to outline their goals and aspirations for the Innovation Center.
  2. Workplace Alignment Survey: A survey was conducted among all employees to gauge their preferences and needs in the new space.
  3. Focus Groups: Smaller cross-functional employee groups participated in focus group discussions to provide deeper insights into the design requirements.
  4. Alignment Session: Senior leadership reconvened to align the vision with employee feedback and finalize the strategy.

Phase 2: Space Planning, Design, and Furniture (Starting November 2021): As Cirrus Aircraft set out to transform its Innovation Center, a critical phase began to take shape – space planning, design, and furniture selection:

  1. Space Planning: In November 2021, the process of optimizing the physical layout of the Innovation Center commenced. This phase involved architects and designers collaborating closely with Cirrus Aircraft to create a functional and inspiring workspace.
  2. Design: The design phase was a meticulous process of translating the vision and workplace strategy.
  3. Furniture Selection: Choosing the right furniture was integral to creating a comfortable and productive environment. Furniture selections were made in alignment with the space planning and design to ensure a harmonious and functional workspace.

Phase 3: Change Management (Late 2022 – September 2023): Change management was a crucial aspect to ensure a smooth transition into the new facility:

  1. Communication Plan: A comprehensive communication plan was devised to keep all stakeholders informed and engaged throughout the transformation process.
  2. Change Agent Meetings: Change agents were identified within the organization to act as conduits for information and support among employees.
  3. Leader Workshop: Leaders received training and guidance to lead their teams through the changes effectively.
  4. Employee Orientations: As employees moved into the new space, orientations were conducted to familiarize them with the facility and its resources.
  5. On-site Support: The Move Genius team provided on-site support to address issues and ensure a seamless transition.

Phase 4: Grand Opening (September 2023): Cirrus Aircraft celebrated the grand opening of its fully transformed Innovation Center, marking a significant milestone in the company’s journey:

  • State-of-the-Art Facilities: The 189,000-square-foot building on 39 acres was revamped to accommodate state-of-the-art labs, testing facilities, and collaborative workspaces.
  • Increased Workforce: Cirrus Aircraft’s investment led to the hiring of over 30 engineers and technicians, bringing the total workforce at the Innovation Center to over 300.
  • Enhanced Capabilities: The Innovation Center now boasts upgraded labs, advanced testing equipment, and flexible workspaces to facilitate innovation and collaboration.
  • Supporting the Mission: The Innovation Center aligns with Cirrus Aircraft’s mission to make personal aviation more accessible by enabling rapid product development in a connected and synergistic environment.

The transformation of Cirrus Aircraft’s Innovation Center showcases the power of vision, strategic planning, and effective change management. It is a testament to the company’s commitment to innovation and its workforce, ensuring a brighter future for the organization and the city of Duluth. The Innovation Center represents not only a physical space but a symbol of Cirrus Aircraft’s dedication to pioneering advancements in personal aviation.

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