Coworking started out as a social movement, but is now becoming internal as companies try to create a coworking-like approach in their workplaces.
Companies that need to innovate often struggle to have the right talent at the right time in the right quality, quantity and composition.
Furthermore, while traditional companies with their infrastructure, established culture, and hierarchy may be best for processes and organizational management, these same things can stifle innovation.
Coworking, on the other hand, seems to respond to the growing need to innovate.
With this in mind, companies are now creating their own coworking-like spaces.
What better way to have a coworking-like culture than to create your own, internally?
More than just fantastic spaces
Our research on this growing phenomenon, however, is that there is much more to companies adopting a coworking philosophy than simply creating interesting spaces.
We are on the verge of the fourth industrial revolution, where the changing nature of work and flexible working influence heavily.
This means that organizations must manage disruption, risk, space and place as they seek to innovate.
These four challenges created a “perfect storm”, forcing companies to rethink the role of their workplaces with respect to innovation and think more about those who built the coworking movement.
This movement is now in its fourth stage of evolution. In the first phase, coworking emerged as a social movement to bring together remote workers and freelancers isolated, out of isolation and sharing the rent of a larger space.
They also found that working together and coordinating their skills led to unexpected innovation.
Then coworking rode the wave of small business start-ups as smart entrepreneurs hosted coworking spaces to make a profit, both locally and nationally.
Open to the public, these spaces were, and continue to be, membership-based, attracting freelancers, start-ups and some corporate employees.
In its third phase, coworking became a mainstream offering: the consumerization of the workspace followed as the forerunners of coworking spaces became giants, like WeWork, with its unimaginable validation of over $ 20 billion in just eight. years. We are now starting to see not only commercial coworking, but also companies adopting a philosophy similar to coworking in their workplaces.
Because? To improve innovation, otherwise they will lag behind
Two approaches stand out
While there are many companies looking to replicate coworking success within their organizations, two approaches climb to the top:
Open House, where consumers and users are called on an exploratory drop-in basis to help improve corporate marketing and sales;
and Campsite: Entrepreneurs, innovators and start-ups are given space on a temporary basis, by invitation only, to support the transformation and innovation of the company.
Our research revealed that the reasons for building co-working-like spaces vary widely but can be classified according to three main factors: first, transformation:
The opportunity to offer controlled and targeted disruption and bring about change by establishing a proof of concept; second, innovation: the possibility of creating a start-up ecosystem, bringing together internal employers and start-ups; and third, future-proof, to look beyond the boundaries of the company's competence and collaborate in different domains.
Failures are instructive
While many companies have been effective in addressing these goals, not all internal corporate versions of coworking have been successful.
The failures we have analyzed have identified some key lessons.
The space for these activities must look different from the organization's standard corporate office, otherwise users won't come.
Community managers are the glue for these communities; when they leave, the success of the spaces is often at risk. Finally, some companies have learned to such an extent that culture always trumps strategy.
Cultural adaptation is essential.
Despite these setbacks, we can expect trends towards corporate coworking to increase in 2019.
Bringing a coworking philosophy into an organization is more than just inviting start-ups or creating a chaotic and trendy workplace.
Companies may have to give up several core cultural values: prioritizing self-directed learning and working organically together, investing in building communities and relationships based on trust, and encouraging audacity and "ecosystems of value" rather than the value chains.
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