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Co-working: Not Just Spaces but Also Technologies

In recent years, a phenomenon has shown that members of coworking space not only co-work but co-innovate products and services. By working in an open and creative environment, entrepreneurs, small and medium-sized enterprises, and large enterprises co-create new opportunities for business development.  Behind the co-innovation and co-creation, digital technology plays an essential role to facilitate mutual engagement in the co-working environment. As the number of the member and co-working spaces increases rapidly, the secret of the co-innovating and value co-creation brought by digital technology is of increasing importance.

 

It is about technology

Google Campus (the Campus), a co-working space organised by Google, shares its existing technologies (e.g. Android Things, Google Analytics, or Google Consumer Surveys) in the co-working space for the members to develop products or conduct market research. The technology attracts tech-talents, entrepreneurs and startups to form a tech-community at the Campus. In the co-working space, members can not only attend workshops to learn techniques but also can obtain peer support. Some members have even been able to find their co-founder or Chief Technology Officer when working in the space. The technology has the power to bring specific people together and co-create value in a physical space.

 

But not just technology

In addition to providing a range of digital artefacts and platforms, Google Campus facilitates interactions among its members. Starting with hosting the New Member Orientation, introducing their working environment (infrastructure, tools, and resources), the Campus introduces newcomers to the existing members by physical and digital approaches. In the orientation event, new members are encouraged to make a flyer to ‘promote’ themselves. Meanwhile, all newcomers are invited to join an online collaboration platform - Campus London Slack group, which later allows them to open their access from the physical co-working space to broader digital communities. On the platform, members can keep updated with upcoming events and search for potential co-founders, employees or startups to join. As just one example, a member posted a message to look for CTO on the Slack group. Within a day, a member who was developing a similar product for the travel industry replied to the message and proposed to have a meetup at the co-working space.

 

Without the combination of the physical onboarding event and the online collaboration platform, members in a co-working space would not be able to exchange valuable information in such a timely manner, as well as creating mutual support or further collaboration. And undoubtedly, the value created by co-working spaces is not just another fancy office space but the start of generating value through co-creation and co-innovation.

 

 

 

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Cambridge Digital Innovation

Hughes Hall, University of Cambridge

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