Recently we were invited by SPACE10 to collaborate on a lab about the Future of work. During 4 hours, together with participants from IKEA, architects, students and real estate professionals we worked on the question: “What are the workplaces of tomorrow ?“. This article is a recap of what happened.
The future of work is a big topic. Millennials and the rise of technology are two majors elements reshaping work and workplaces, changing everything that we know about them.
Words such as coworking, remote, digital nomads, freelancers have surfaced to act as catalysts of the trends in work. They are describing the new ways of going and doing work. We (Coworkies) have a particular interest in the first one: coworking. Since last year, we’ve been traveling to more than 140 coworking spaces across 16 cities to better understand whats happening in the new world of workplaces.
One of our travels brought us to Copenhagen where we intended to visit SPACE10, a beautiful three floors shared workspace. Inside, one can find a full future of living lab with a coworking area, maker space and event venue. I write intended as unfortunately for us, at the time we were in Copenhagen, SPACE10 was closed due reconstruction work. We decided to say “hi” at least via email and were glad to have done so, as few months later, the “hi” email turned into a fruitful collaboration.
SPACE10 x COWORKIES
At the end of February, SPACE10 and Startup Everywhere invited us to contribute to a 2-days lab with a workshop on the topic of: “What Works? Exploring the workplaces of tomorrow – A lab by Coworkies”.
Before digging into our lab, we warmly recommend you to a look at the (amazing) recap SPACE10 did following the 2-days event. It contains the live-streamed videos of the main speakers, who talked about the future of offices, the power of work-life balance, happiness at work and more. Read the recap here
On the second day, we took over the ground floor of Space10 for a 4 hours lab to explore the future of workplaces with a vivid group of 20 people. Participants came all the way from Amsterdam, Stockholm, Malmö and Copenhagen to dig into the topic with us. The group was a perfect mix of people, combining different set of skills from design to marketing, from real estate to anthropology.
Our objective for the lab was clear: take participants into a coworking journey and let them build the workspaces of the future. We divided the lab into two parts: the first one as introduction to everything we’ve learned throughout our travels, and the second part as a hands on interactive exercise involving everybody’s brains and skills.
Part One – Discovering coworking
During the first hour and a half, we worked on getting to know our audience to better understand their knowledge and understanding of coworking. We took the time to share our insights and to make it more interactive, we invited over three of our coworking friends from Copenhagen – Evelina, Pål and Anders, all of them running very different type of workspaces from one another:
– Republikken, one of the first coworking space who opened in Europe. Evelina, who manages the community there came along to share how Republikken started, how they nurture their community and how they expanded over the course of time. Her insights on more than 10 years of existence were a small glimpse into the history of coworking. As we discovered, now one of their members can start his books with “Written on a flex coworking plan at Republiken”.
– DTU Skylab, a coworking space/incubator inside the technical university of Copenhagen. Pål, the Senior Startup Officer there, came along and spend the whole day with us. During the first part of the lab he shared how DTU supports students in starting their own businesses. It was fascinating to have his take on how students approach entrepreneurship and how they use the space as a launchpad for their ideas.
– Prototype, a 30 sqm coworking spaces which is run by the community itself. Anders came along to give an inspiring view on how you can do coworking with a limited amount of space. He gave a great talk about building a space around common interests and how everyone involved support each other in operating it.
The real life examples were a great way to move forward to the second part: the interactive lab to imagine the workplaces of tomorrow.
Part Two – Let’s build the workplaces of tomorrow!
After so much talk, it was time for our group to assemble the teams. We created three teams and gave them the task to build, in 1h30, a coworking space with pre-defined categories with random properties, we prepared in advance. The categories were:
– Size of the space
– Size of the city
– Number of members to expect in the space
– An animal!
– A future technology
To add more spice to the exercise, we asked each team to draft words from 5 different boxes, each one covering the categories above. Some quite interesting challenges came out after all properties were drafted:
- Team One/ 17,000 sqm, 100.000 thousands, 250, a dolphin, Virtual Reality
- Team Two/ 20000 sqm, 200 members, 1 millions city population, ants, Big Data
- Team Three/ 15 sqm, 500,000 thousands, 100 people, snail, Bitcoin
In 1h and 30 minutes, the teams brainstormed to imagine the best scenarios possible with the constraints they had. We were amazed by their outcome and intrigued to see how some really innovative coworking solutions.
So, what were the outcomes of it?
The first group came with the idea of radio-wave-tower trough which people can get connected to start working together from anywhere in the world. The tower would be located in Reykjavik (Iceland) to host big servers who could provide reliable connection to their coworkers while using the thermo energy. See it as freelancing opportunities on steroids.
The second group had another big challenge: how to fit so many people in such a small space. They found inspiration from ants. They decided to build a space underground in a shape of a reversed triangle. The workspace they imagined was intended as a Communal space where people do more than just work. The team #2 imagined inside a co-living space, gardens, workspaces and everything else people need for a perfect work-life balance.
The last group also had a tough challenge: to build a community with almost no sqm. They opted for a minibus-coworking-network. Inside which people can go during the day to break out from their dead hours in the office. The main objective of their moving bus-coworking-network was to help people stay brainstorm with others and make collective decision on common issues.
The day concluded with open thoughts and discussions on the latest trends shaping the workplaces of tomorrow:
– coworking going beyond coworking spaces (airports, restaurants, etc.)
– Digitalisation of coworking with platforms such as coworkies
– Vertical focused workspaces (women only, startups only, etc.)
– Virtual reality
– and beyond coworking with trends such as coliving developing across the globe.
The 4 hours we spent with everyone were incredibly interesting. The group had a great opportunity to share and learn from each other while building on everyone’s take on workspaces. We ended up our day with the traditional group selfie!
We want to take the opportunity to thank once again SPACE10 for the great organization, our partners for their precious time and our amazing participants for their amazing ideas!
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