The CO-LOCATION of a variety of people in the same space provides endless possibilities. Like the people who live in a town or city, the Members of a coworking community make the place what it is. There are many ways to curate a community and it pays, in both social and financial capital, to give this some serious thought.
Often in the coworking sector we think that big, corporate spaces with seemingly infinite square footage and budget for soft furnishings are our main competitors. But in truth, if you know your niche and purposefully attract the right kind of people you’re destined to be a force to be reckoned with.
People generally start coworking for practical purposes – they can’t avoid the pile of washing at home, the echoey silence of the box room gets too much or they’re avoiding noisy neighbours with a penchant for a midday Britney-break (I mean who doesn’t). But they will stick with your space because of the people they see there every day.
We are social animals, for some the conversations round the kettle will be enough and this is enough to generate social capital too. Working alongside inspiring people and being imbedded in an interesting community has an impact on the way people work and act. 77% of our Members said they had gained confidence professionally as a result of being a Member of The Melting Pot.
Other coworkers are looking for connections and opportunities for collaboration. If you do the co-location right the collaborations will follow! Nearly half of our community have collaborated with another Member of The Melting Pot and 100% of them were happy with the outcomes of the work they did together. These collaborations generated jobs, revenue and opportunities – which all bring enormous value to our Members and their businesses.
To use The Melting Pot as a wee case study here: we are Scotland’s Centre for Social Innovation and our community is made up of interesting people doing inspiring things, all united behind the vision of positive social change. We don’t actually have a strict application criteria, in fact our only rule is: Would you want to sit next to them? We tell the world we’re the place to be for social innovators, our community shows up and does the rest. We believe that a loose, non-judgemental approach to defining social innovation invites more people to make ethical choices which leads to a greater collective impact, even if that impact is very hard to measure! From private business to hardcore campaigners, all of our Members do something to make the world a better place and being at The Melting Pot gives them a better grasp of the social context of their work. 77% of Members said they have a better understanding of social innovation as a result of being a Member. Other spaces might choose to have a more extensive policy for who they will accept into their community and that can be a good approach too! The key thing is to be aware of your identity and purposeful with your approach to co-location.
The Coworking Canvas
This blog is part of a series demystifying our Coworking Canvas – a practical tool for developing the 6 key areas central to a thriving coworking community. The canvas was designed by our sister organisation the Coworking Accelerator drawing on over a decade of experience building The Melting Pot. If you are considering starting your own coworking business come along to our EXPLORE Coworking workshop on the 18th & 19th June 2019 in London – you’ll work alongside other coworking leaders as our team shows you how to apply these tools to your coworking venture.
You can find the other blogs in this series here.