How do
become reality?

The Story of the GuideWell Innovation Center

Companies large and small have big ideas all the time. But how do they turn these ideas into reality? And what if your big idea is to create a new workspace that encourages and nurtures even bigger ideas?

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GuideWell CEO Patrick Geraghty had a vision for the company to become a leading healthcare innovator. The GuideWell Innovation Center would serve as its main innovation hub, a space anchored around the essence of collaboration. A new kind of campus that encourages healthcare professionals, entrepreneurs and thought leaders to turn their own big ideas into reality.

To help bring the vision to life, Head of GuideWell Innovation Renee Finley and her team engaged RS&H. From there, a journey began to form.

  • “At the Innovation Center, our vision was to create opportunities for the collision of ideas among stakeholders, thought leaders and entrepreneurs. RS&H was magical in the way they brought that vision to life with the design of the center.”

    Renee Finley

    Head of GuideWell Innovation

“The very nature of what GuideWell Innovation does became the space program for how we laid out the project.”


Over a two‑day design charrette, Finley and her team explained their vision of the space and the experiences they wanted to create. The GuideWell team wanted the Innovation Center to take visitors, thought leaders, entrepreneurs and problem solvers on a journey that begins when they walk through the front door. As Director of Operations Barry Brockway explains:

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  • First, figure out what healthcare problem exists that you want to solve.
  • Then ideate the problem to develop a few solutions and incubate them.
  • Figure out how to change problem into a solution.
  • Next, accelerate your solution into a business project.
  • Once you design a product, you need the tools to commercialize it.

By uncovering insight through two days of listening and drawing a perspective from a diverse team, RS&H Lead Architect Michael Compton and his team began to break down what this journey really means: a walk along the development of creative ideas that can then be vetted and result in a product that solves a problem.

  • Designing the Journey

    With the journey concept in place, the RS&H team began putting together a first‑of‑its‑kind building that is anchored in the concept. The design flows from spaces of discovery to spaces for iteration and areas for product development.

A curved walkway carves through the innovation journey and features several seated areas where those who bump into each other with an idea can quickly gather and hunker down.

The hydration bar and café can bring entrepreneurs and thought leaders together to mingle and kick ideas around in an informal setting.

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As part of the area, a Living Wall, made up of live greenery growing in the space, helped the Innovation Center earn AmericanHort’s International Plantscape Gold Award.

At the center of the complex, the Innovation Theater in the round gives the presenter and audience members – be they entrepreneurs, advocacy group representatives or healthcare professionals – equal opportunity to participate.

The Garage is an open‑ended problem solving space, a flexible work environment with almost any tool an innovator could ask for, including 3D printing and scanning as well as digital prototyping software to advance ideas into pre‑production prototypes.

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“It has that right vibe where people come in and just want to share their thoughts,” Brockway said. “We want people to get loud and have those heated discussions so they can figure out the right way, right process, right idea.”

The goal of inspiring thought leaders walking into the Innovation Center led to the creation of the Gallery of Exhibits, which showcases the latest health solutions – including those developed at the Center – and products using cutting‑edge presentation techniques.

The Imagination Cinema creates a theater atmosphere for viewing video products, 3D renderings, and simulations, while the GuideWell Studio is a video production studio for creating and recording engaging marketing and communications video material.

“You can start and grow your company in the facility. You came in the door with nothing but a problem to solve, and you have everything, all under one roof.”

Michael Compton
RS&H Architect

From Journey to Destination

“Michael did a fabulous job at helping us with what we wanted. He kept tweaking, making sure we maintained a flow instead of having a compartmentalized structure. The design has a flow to it and a purpose behind it,” Brockway said.

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Today, the GuideWell Innovation Center in Orlando’s Lake Nona Medical City is a convening point for key partners and thought leaders from around the world to help define the critical issues facing the healthcare industry and assist in the rapid development and market deployment of solutions.

Walking the curved halls of the Innovation Center today, Brockway is still floored by his surroundings. When visitors come in and take photos, he says, the pictures end up looking like a concept.

“The execution of the design is more than we’ve ever imagined,” he said. “The most overheard comment I hear from visitors is, ‘I’ve never seen a place like this.’”

Awarded Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), Gold Designation, this state of the art facility has earned widespread recognition, including:

Fast Company

2016 Innovation By Design
Honorable Mention

Associated Builders and Contractors

Eagle Award
for Interiors


Living Wall
Gold Award

International Interior Design Association

2017 North Florida
Project of the Year

GuideWell in 2017 by the numbers

92,000 square-foot facility.
Over 10,000 visitors.
565 tours.
30,000 square-foot innovation core.
Over 100 meetings and events.
70 active members.
Over 850 spaces used.