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After Coworking: Smart Space Labs

3rd Feb 2015

The coworking industry has exploded in the last five years, more accurately, it has turned into an industry in the last five years. Objectively speaking, it will continue to grow as the data indicates that more and more freelancers are on the rise due to our economy. Millennials also have realised something that maybe past generations have not, which is that there is no such thing as job security, so you might as well go at it alone.  How we work has changed, who we want to work for has changed, and where we want to work has changed. Therefore coworking and flexible workspaces of the ilk will continue to be needed. What we may tire of is the “frat boy” approach to workspace (pool table, pin-pong table, big sofas, bars).

However, there is still more progress to be made. The last five years have taught us that community is necessity not just a utopian concept, people need to be around other people who can fuel them. This is the mightiest quality of any coworking space, the community. If people do not come to your space for who is in it, you are missing the point. Now that we have community, what comes next?

We have seen a rising need for our members to collaborate as a community on projects, this beyond someone just needing a graphic designer for a project. This is about pondering, scheming, and developing new products and services from the talent of the community.

This is where we think coworking will go next, it will be about the gathering and exportation  of the collective knowledge. We still have so many complex problems to solve, which require workspaces that attract and cater to a diverse community.

These spaces are starting to form and they seem to be spurred on by universities and developers. The vision for Here East, which is a development project by Delancey is to create a campus of innovation. Their current partnership with Loughborough University will see the creation of space dedicated to solving problems around healthcare.

Creating “labs” which bring together a diverse group of people to collectively solve problems seems will be the new evolution of flexible workspaces. It is too early to even start speculating but our hypothesis is that these type spaces will replace the factories. In other words we will be producing products, but not of a manufacturing scale but on a technological scale.