• Jigsaw is a tech incubator first established within Google that is now a part of Alphabet Inc.
• Business Insider recently stopped by to check out their Chelsea office.
• Perks and quirks of the office include uniquely-named nap pods and food from all around the world.
Jigsaw, an elite think tank created by Google that is now part of Alphabet, is a tech incubator devoted to solving some of the world’s most pressing security issues: violent extremism, online censorship, and digital harassment.
They’re based in New York City, just above Chelsea Market.
Business Insider stopped by their office on a chilly November afternoon for a visit. After climbing the private staircase to Jigsaw’s office, we met up with head of communications and public affairs Dan Keyserling.
Here’s a look at what we saw:
Keyserling pointed out the question painted on the wall near the front door: 'How can technology make people in the world safer?'
'The first thing you see as soon as you walk in is the question that informs all of our work,' he told Business Insider. 'It's the question we ask ourselves every day.'
We stepped inside and took a look at this colourful mural, which is inspired by a range of propaganda throughout history. The images are meant to help employees think about the people their technology is meant to protect.
The nearby hall of black and white portraits has the same intent. Each person depicted is a former extremist who abandoned violence in order to work for peace. 'Their portraits remind us of the human side of the issues we deal with,' Keyserling said.
In the tech world, Keyserling said it can be easy to lose sight of the human side of issues. The office's design is meant to combat that.
Puzzle pieces are also a common theme. Before Jigsaw got its current name, it was known as Google Ideas.
When it comes to what sets Jigsaw employees apart from those at other tech companies, Keyserling said: 'I think people here are probably a little more aware of global security issues than the average person who works in the tech industry.'
Many Jigsaw employees get the chance to go out in the field to places like Iraq to investigate the pressing geopolitical issues they're working on.
The office has somewhere between 70 and 80 workers, including engineers, policy experts, and researchers. Previously, Jigsaw was housed in Google's main New York City headquarters.
We stopped by the various workspaces, like this larger conference room, where guest speakers and teams returning from the field can present to bigger groups.
All of the conference rooms are named for countries with repressive policies toward open internet access, like Cuba.
If you really need a silent space to retreat to, Jigsaw has a cluster of nap pods and focus rooms in the back.
People also bring back snacks from the locations they travel to. Keyserling said the office even got to sample candy from North Korea.
Keyserling told us this spot, with its comfy seating and central location, tends to be the 'high school cafeteria' of the office.
Before we left, we also checked out this large, treehouse-like structure overlooking the central part of the office.
It's also got a nice view of the open office. When we visited, most people were at their desks, working hard on projects.
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