Friday, November 20, 2009

conversation starter tags

Here is a great idea that can improve the interaction and dialog of any event you organize - conversation starter tags. A simple but compelling question that begets concise answers, worn on your lapel during the event - adding so much more value than old-school name tags. They are awesome!
conversation starter tags
The practice was started by the Creative Mornings crew who organizes shared office seminars for independent creative workers who could not otherwise participate in such a rich seminar series. We covered this group about a year ago in this workalicous entry.
conversation starter tags
So kudos to them for a great idea. It would not be as good without follow through however, and of course they have great follow through - a photo record of many if not all of the responses posted at Flickr. A separate set for each question no less, and compiled into a collection for easy browsing.
Conversation Starter Tags on Flickr
conversation starter tags

Thursday, November 19, 2009

cardboard meeting booths - new meme?

A few of these "furniture as meeting space" proposals have popped up over the past year and I wonder if it is just a meme or a new prototypical piece office furniture, eventually to be as common as desk, task chair, filing cabinet...?

cardboard meeting booth

Of course this one is cardboard, which is another tangent meme we are seeing as well.

cardboard meeting booth

But aside from the trendy characteristics I believe this this is actually a very compelling paradigm. Small freestanding meeting space - why set aside an entire room for a meeting that might not need that much space, or a closed door for that matter. And this is so much better than meeting in the office or at the desk of one participant - a meeting space is more neutral ground and that has an effect on participants interaction.

More photos at the Contemporist blog.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

great coworking dialog on google groups

I want to call attention to this great discussion on Google Groups pertaining to the organization of CoWorking venues. It was started off with a question about the profitability of spaces and moved on to a wide ranging discussion. I like the advice from Alex Hillman of Philly's Indy Hall:

Having people involved in the space from the get-go sets this example. We signed a lease on a Tuesday, and sent out an e-mail that day asking people to show up on Saturday with rollers to start painting. The following week, a desk-building party. Turning tasks into social events sounds sneaky, but it's worked really well at helping people identify with a sense of ownership. They're more than paying members, they have an emotional attachment to the space because they've contributed to its existence. They're proud of it.

The beauty of this is that it's the first shove in a cycle of creating more of this mentality. The people with that sense of attachment lead by example, and new members that join see that activity and the reward (public thanks and recognition is the simplest reward), and the cycle continues.

Google Groups CoWorking discussion

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

knoll A3 at offices of mono, minneapolis

Mono, Minneapolis

An interesting article over at the unplggd blog about a new office space in Minneapolis for creative consultants Mono. Notably they are using the Knoll A3 cubical system - an unusual fabric partitioned system that makes cocoon like spaces.

Knoll A3

Knoll A3

Knoll A3

Mono at unplggd

Knoll A3

Friday, November 6, 2009

coworking start-up: columbia coworking

Brian Linder from Columbia Coworking, the new coworking community in South Carolina has been so kind to be interviewed while they are in the process of starting their space. I thought this would be a great opportunity to watch and ask questions of Brian as they work on launching their space. Let me encourage you to ask questions via the comments, and we will check in with Brian periodically to get a feeling for the process. I hope this can be helpful for others doing the same.

Workalicious: The common wisdom about starting up CoWorking is community first, space later. Yet as the CoWorking idea becomes more popular we're seeing more spaces start up without an already established community. What is the case with Columbia CoWorking?

Brian Linder: We contemplated going the "beta community" route, but there are so many mobile workers in this city we felt it made sense to go ahead and put ourselves out there. We're obviously pretty confident that a group will coalesce quickly once we're officially open for business. There are already some folks in our orbit, and as soon as we option a space we're going to start pre-selling memberships.

W: Who are the founders of Columbia Coworking?

BL: Columbia Coworking was founded by myself, Brian Linder, and Nick Kask, a brand manager/graphic designer friend of mine. Nick and I have worked together on a few projects and we really clicked creatively. I approached him about starting a coworking space here. We've both worked from home for some time. For me, it just became a real drag. And I think Nick wants the amenities of a legit workspace -- a conference room to meet with clients, etc.

W: CoWorking seemed to emerge among independent IT workers. Colombia CoWorking describes a more diverse community including writers and creative workers. Do you have any thoughts on how a more diverse community might change the spirit of collaboration and synergy that characterize many CoWorking communities?

BL: We're trying to establish a unique voice that will speak to the diverse mobile workforce in our city. Columbia is kind of like a mini-Austin in the sense that it's a college town with a creative vibe. But arts, design and media workers are often marginalized by the strong emphasis on achieving economic growth through fields like science and engineering. We want to reach out to those people -- and it makes sense for us to do so because those are the circles that Nick and I already run in. That said, I'm sure we'll attract our share of creative techies and knowledge-based workers. I think the mix will be a win for everyone.

W: How might it influence the type of space you are looking for?

BL: Our space search isn't being driven by practical concerns, as much as it is by our intuitive sense about places with the right creative energy. I think it's important for us to feel that out, and once we've identified the right space, further shape the concept around that. -- Thanks Brian and good luck with your space search. Any readers interested in joining Coloumbia Coworking can find more information at their web site: Columbia CoWorking

And Facebook users may want to follow them their for updates via your Facebook newsfeed: Columbia CoWorking on Facebook

Blog Widget by LinkWithin