The intro to this report states I will “discuss the spaces in which we work with others” and here’s where I should clarify. This is specific to the kinds of spaces that replace our offices, spaces that have evolved and new spaces that have emerged where we find ourselves working. I have categorised these spaces and how they relate to each other and how connected we are to the people around us from social or neighbourly connection (purple) to new connections that have value to our work (red). In this infographic. FIG 1
Labs are being created by large corporations to take advantage of the lean model, they are separate from the top down, CEO 8 filled traditional structure of the parent company, Labs are where innovation roams free, Advertising companies (BBH), Tech companies (Google) and even retail (Norstrom) and Newspapers (New York Times) have adopted the new Lab structure within their companies.
Not the science kind - These are innovation labs, where students from a variety of disciplines, can come together, in a highly charged environment to solve common problems, brainstorm and create ultimately the future start-ups and transformative ideas. Currently some of these are, The Harvard iLab, The MIT CoLab and Media Innovation Lab, The Stanford Peace Innovation Lab.
Business Incubators started around the 1960s and are designed to support start-ups and entrepreneurs with development - They provide all the basics and the structure they need to get going, without the start-ups necessarily having the expense of hiring their own lawyer for example. they are fast, high growth programs to get businesses on their feet, Incubators often host a number of small start-ups at once and they sometimes work alongside each other in the programme, almost like a school for start-ups.
This refers to the established workstations and corporate virtual offices, executive suites & touchdown service concepts that have been around for 30 years or so, the biggest name in the business is Regus.
I put this in as a means of comparison, we all know every office is different but somehow they are all the same. Let’s take wikipedia’s description for now: “In modern terms an office usually refers to the location where white-collar workers are employed.”
Working at home in your own home office, either as part of a distributed team, as a remote worker or as an independent business or solopreneur.
Where the home worker often finds themselves. Or the office worker looking for a ‘Third space’ to cure the doldrums of a working day. 9
Coffee shop +
There are other Coffee shops which start to verge on coworking spaces, these are the small independent, more likely community coffee shops that see the potential in the remote workforce and offer up the best wifi, small tables and sockets-a-plenty, I’ve named them here as ‘Coffee shop +’.
An older model, historically this would have been artists. Collectives differ from coworking spaces in that they usually have a co-op business model, they all invest in space together, they are more often than not made up of people in the same discipline, a way of banding together to create a stronger voice than a lone freelancer.
A gathering, a casual working event where people get together in a coffee shop or a persons home. A popular solution to not working alone “We provide chairs and sofas, wireless internet, and interesting people to talk to, collaborate with, and bounce ideas off of.” Often Jelly events if a strong group bonds can lead to a coworking space being established.
Cowork Lab or Coworking for Innovation
Another model I’ve witnessed in my studies is a new breed, born of big businesses foreseeing the value of coworking, this model uses coworking as a means to innovate, it allows certain types of business to have a permanent place where they can study their users and much like the Lab model they can innovate and change practices without having to deal with the structure of an entire corporation, these are places to experiment with customer service, usage patterns… whatever they like, it’s the fastest way to innovate. examples of these places are NextDoor in Chicago run by StateFarm Insurance and conceived by IDEO, Google campus in London and ING Cafes situated in various locations around the world. Then there is American express who situate themselves in a coworking space with similar aims “We try to learn from companies,” she continues, speaking of the customers she serves. “Not only because I’ve fallen in love with them, but because they inspire us to get to know them better.” To that end, American Express OPEN took up residence at one of the co-working spaces owned by tech incubator WeWork Labs. “We do that so our team can walk outside their little glass cube and interact with business owners who are around them and say, ‘What do you think about this or that?’” Her team also works closely with 10 another co-working space, General Assembly.**4.25** (Google think quarterly)
Lastly in our graphic we have coworking spaces, which are a little harder to define…
In May 2012 the Journal of Business and Technical Communication published the paper Working Alone Together: Coworking as Emergent Collaborative Activity **5.1** and it is one of the very few published studies specifically on coworking. The paper reports on a 2-year study of 9 coworking spaces in Austin Texas. In the research they found many contradictions in what coworking was.
“As we examine how participants described the three aspects of coworking—the object (what), actors (who), and outcome (why)—we find contradictions in each. In fact, if we just look at the activity system of coworking, we might even wonder if coworking describes a coherent phenomenon at all. The proprietors and coworkers seem to disagree at every point.” 5.1