The “co-working space” – real or a “nice little earner?
By Roger La Salle
The new wave
Innovation has been on everybody’s lips for at least the past decade.
With that in mind we now see governments, councils, universities and many public and private companies offering co-working spaces, sometime at huge cost running into the millions of dollars.
What’s the plan?
It’s hard to criticise the endeavours of those who provide these spaces. However it’s worth asking the question, just what is their plan and how is the cost benefit of these facilities measured?
Certainly there is value in networking and meeting new people all hopefully having innovation at front of mind. Perhaps with the right mix of people sparks will fly and the next Facebook will emerge! This is always a possibility but are these relying on good luck as much as good management? What are the metrics and how are the costs of these funky new spaces that are popping up like mushroom justified?
Metrics are important. If you can’t measure something you can’t manage it, nor can you make changes knowing you are heading in the right direction.
One major bank that has invested heavily in these co-working spaces has clear metrics, as you would expect from a profit driven enterprise. Their major metric being – “The Number of new accounts that have resulted”. From what we have learned, they are delivering on this.
A new real estate model
Perhaps the co-working spaces in many cases are actually a “real estate play” with a new name of co-working spaces and the funky décor simply used to give them panache. Are they simply serviced desks instead of serviced offices with the landlords being the real beneficiaries?
There are some clear messages here
Innovation is not luck, we don’t invest in innovation to be lucky. If you address innovation and opportunity capture with a structured approach, you can almost guarantee outcomes in hours.
Finally, have a plan. Measure what you do.
Roger La Salle, trains people in innovation, marketing and the new emerging art of Opportunity Capture. “Matrix Thinking”™ is now used in organizations in more than 29 countries. He is sought after as a speaker on Innovation, Opportunity and Business Development, is the author of four books, and a Director and former CEO of the Innovation Centre of Victoria (INNOVIC) as well as a number of companies, both in Australia and overseas. He has been responsible for a number of successful technology start-ups and in 2004 was a regular panellist on the ABC New Inventors TV program. In 2005 he was appointed to the “Chair of Innovation” at “The Queens University” in Belfast.