Space as an Actor in Innovation

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The aim of this research paper is to investigate how space and landscape provide tangible (i.e. shared resources) and intangible (i.e. shared sense of community) benefits for entrepreneurs. The research question I would like to explore is why are entrepreneurs attracted to and participate in shared space? What benefits does these spaces provide? What are the similar environmental conditions within the physical space? Ultimately, this paper will seek to understand how communal working and co-creation necessary (or not) for innovation.


<ul><li> 1. An Examination of Space as an Actor in Innovation Media, Stuff and Values - CM 5033An Examination of Space as an Actor in InnovationTheres a temptation in our networked age to think that ideas can be developed by email and iChat.Thats crazy. Creativity comes from spontaneous meetings, from random discussions. You run intosomeone, you ask what theyre doing, you say Wow, and soon youre cooking up all sorts of ideas.1- Steve Jobs on the design of Pixar HeadquartersHeather BlanchardAmerican University of ParisMedia, Stuff and Values: CM 5033 - Spring 20121Isaacson, Walter. "The Real Leadership Lessons from Steve Jobs." The Magazine. Harvard Business Review, Apr.2012. Web. 20 Apr. 2012.Page 1</li></ul><p> 2. An Examination of Space as an Actor in InnovationMedia, Stuff and Values - CM 5033OverviewThe aim of this research paper is to investigate how space and landscape providetangible (i.e. shared resources) and intangible (i.e. shared sense of community) benets forentrepreneurs. The research question I would like to explore is why are entrepreneursattracted to and participate in shared space? What benets does these spaces provide? Whatare the similar environmental conditions within the physical space? Ultimately, this paper willseek to understand how communal working and co-creation necessary (or not) for innovation.To explore these research questions, eld research was necessary to collect primarysource data of spaces which entrepreneurs occupy. Three spaces were observed for this paperincluding two in Paris, France, La Cantine and DojoBoost and one in Brussels, Belgium calledThe Hub. Critical theory and secondary research sources are used to provide contextualizationto for the innovation space observations as well as the participants who occupy them.This paper will provide a relationship of the rise of co-working spaces, the role of theworkplace, the role of learning, three observations of innovation spaces and a private sectorapproach to creative space. Through these areas this paper will present arguments whichrelate to the use of adhocracy, experiential learning. Also provided is the concept that both thespace and the interaction between people within that space are both objects which supportmediation and circulation which in turn create its value. insights and illustrations ofenvironmental conditions by which entrepreneurs are attracted to collaboration space.Page 2 3. An Examination of Space as an Actor in InnovationMedia, Stuff and Values - CM 5033Through this research an initial set of conditions may be developed for future research tobetter understand environmental conditions which may facilitate a greater probability forinnovation and creativity.The Rise of Co-Working in a Networked World The genesis of co-working can be attributed to an open source software developer,later a Google employee, Brad Neuberg who from 2005 - 2007 who founded and fostered amovement of a new kind of workspace. Dubbed, co-working by Neuberg as alternative ofcespace for self-employed developers and writers, (which create) a forum for structure,community, and innovation.2 Neuberg offered the framework to anyone who was interestingin opening their own space. Disseminated [the] co-working idea as a kind of Johnny Appleseedby encouraging others to take ownership of the idea and run with it in any direction theywanted. Co-working spaces are now around the world and United States, and is a realgrassroots movement thanks to this unorthodox policy. As a founder he felt that his role wasto develop and evangelize the need for new kind of work environment through blog posts,wikis, articles, speeches, and more.2Neuberg, Brad. "About Brad Neuberg." Resume for Brad Neuberg. Web. 29 Apr. 2012. Page 3 4. An Examination of Space as an Actor in Innovation Media, Stuff and Values - CM 5033 The idea for this new kind of environment germinated from the need to connect withothers. Neuberg explained to the New York Times3 that the choice to found a space whatperhaps a simple one. It seemed I could either have a job, which would give me structure andcommunity, or I could be freelance and have freedom and independence. Why couldnt I haveboth?4 Mother Jones 5 offered a more detailed description of the formulation of Neubergsrst co-working space. In 2005, Brad Neuberg, a software programmer in San Francisco, hitupon a simple solution: He got a few friends together to share a rental space, as well asprinters, fax machines, and wireless Internet, andlike a good start-up founderbranded hiscreation "coworking." As the 31-year-old recalls, "I said, Why cant I have my cake and eat ittoo? Is there a way that I can have community and independence? Its a false assumption thatyou cant have both." Word of Neubergs San Francisco Coworking Space spread, and techies,writers, and entrepreneurs began dropping in. "I urged people to steal the idea," he says.Today, there are 29 coworking sites across North America and a few more around the globeall listed on a wiki that has instructions for anyone who wants to start her own. Since these interviews, there are thousands of co-working spaces across the world.Some even created in partnership and supported by local governments such as Fab Labs in3Fost, Dan. Theyre Working on Thier Own, Just Side By Side. New York Times. 20 Feb. 2008. Web. 29. Apr. 2012..4Fost, Dan. Theyre Working on Thier Own, Just Side By Side. New York Times. 20 Feb. 2008. Web. 29. Apr. 2012..5 Butler, Keira. Practical Values: Works Well With Others. What if a day at the ofce is actually good for you? MotherJones. 18 Jan. 2008. Web. 29 Apr. 2012. .Page 4 5. An Examination of Space as an Actor in Innovation Media, Stuff and Values - CM 5033Manchester and La Cantine in Paris. There are franchise-like networks of co-working spacescalled The Hub which have interconnected locations all over the world. While co-working is akind of open space which often has few restrictions for membership or participation, it is notthe only kind of what one might call an innovation space where as Ardvisson points out inhis writings on Information Capital (Ardvisson, 2006: 124) that these spaces are the hubs of thisnew economy. Where the space isnt the producer, rather its the environment whereproduction is networked and not towards a common goal, but rather enjoy the common valueswhich production needs at any level as Marx points out in his book, Capital.Today there are a vast array of spaces where co-working occurs but often there areother things happening too. Beyond co-working spaces, there are hacker spaces( where there is over 1,100 independently run spaces where the hobby ofhacking computers, sharing knowledge and electronics are supported. In essence they makethings. There is another group called Maker who also do this but with temporary spaces calledMaker Faires. There are entrepreneur excellerators which provide initial stage start-up supportsuch as ofce space, legal expertise and mentorship to connect these small business to venturecapital to scale their product into production. Companies have come into the mix withsupporting the development of community-use space where their product is used byentrepreneurs who might not have been able to access the expensive tools and resourcesneeded such as TechShop in San Francisco which provides the AutoDesk suit of products andmanufacturing prototype machines. In addition, venture capitalists have also begun invitationPage 5 6. An Examination of Space as an Actor in Innovation Media, Stuff and Values - CM 5033only incubation models like the Y Combinator which provides 25 companies with early stageseed capital and resources. There are many methods and models of innovation space out theresince Brad Neuberg began the rst co-working space in San Francisco. This paper will providean initial selection of insights based on observations of two co-working spaces and oneexcellerators space. In addition, research will pull from how the private sector is incorporatinginnovation space design in its own workplaces.Role of the WorkplaceWhile co-working space may not aim towards group innovation, rather it is anetworked space where innovators can interact, the role of an environment as an actor andrelational construction is possible because the space itself and the interaction of the peoplewithin the space are both objects. In Horgen, Joroff, Porter and Schons 1999 book Excellenceby Design: Transforming Workplace and Work Practice offer that the process architect is anobjectied mediation role which allows for interaction. The writers offer that there is a role forspace to be able, through its conditions, set up a platform which will allow for greaterefciency, collaboration and therefore create a better product or result of that workforce. Thistransformation is facilitated through an mediation object, the role of a process architect, whichthey offer it not a role of one person, but a role of many. The role of the process architect isnot given, but it must be created. Workplace-making may play itself out in the hands of asingle participant, or it may move from one person to another - or no single person myPage 6 7. An Examination of Space as an Actor in InnovationMedia, Stuff and Values - CM 5033actually direct the process. The role of process architect may fall to an organizationalinsider...or it may fall to an outside consultant...any of these people can have signicant effectson the play of the game. What they do and how and when they do it is affected by the rolesthey are given or assume, the authority they begin with or accumulate, and their ownnormative frameworks of action. In any case, the process architect enters the game with theaim of directing it toward greater collaboration and co-invention. (Horgen, Joroff, Porter andSchon, 1989: 91) Horgen, Joroff, Porter and Schon offer that not only that physical space is an actor butthat the act of collaboration itself, the interaction between people can be object of itself andthat it is not owned by a single person. Interaction among people in the space is a medium bywhich mediation can take place. Like in advertising and the objectivation of the brand, theobject has an ability to be an interface of circulation between the producer and consumer.Related to the process architect, a interface point (the physical space itself) is able to act in amediation role which seeks participation and circulation from its environment (i.e. building acommunity-based social structure.)The question of ownership is a complex challenge, it is a question of power. It could beargued that proprietary systems (i.e. controlled) where ownership drives behavior could bepoor environments for the objectied process architect to be used as a mediation tool. Likethe entrepreneur from La Cantine who referenced the traditional private sector environmentand the ability for process architecture to take place. In economic environments like todayPage 7 8. An Examination of Space as an Actor in InnovationMedia, Stuff and Values - CM 5033which can be austere, the concept of sharing and creating is a challenge. People dont want tohelp each other in an environment which is focused on optimization. Information is power.When the economy is booming its so much easier to collaborate and work together, but whenjobs are being threatened people tend to keep to themselves. They are scared to loose their jobor their status. Horgeon, Joroff, Porter and Schon underscore this challenge, although they donot contextualize it in relation to ownership per say. Fear on the part of the less powerfulplayers coupled with arrogance and blindness on the part of the more powerful ones kept thekey issues undiscussable, preventing them from surfacing soon enough to be productivelydealt with. (Horgen, Joroff, Porter and Schon, 1989: 99)The role of the process architect (i.e. collaboration) offers that thegame is understood,even if imperfectly at rst (Horgen, Joroff, Porter and Schon, 1989: 92) The ability of theworkplace to transform towards this collaboration construct creates a reframing of thesituation. The process of framing is an ability to provide a set of contextual parameters for theparticipants who are interacting and creating ow with an object. Celia Lury explainedframing as ...a boundary within which interaction takes place more or less independently ofits surrounding context. The frame is a communication surface or boundary that bothconnects and separates disunied or disparate spaces (Rodowick, 1994). The interface of thebrand is not, however, to be located in a single place, at a single time. Rather, like the interfaceof the Internet, it is distributed across a number of surfaces... (Lury, 2006: 50)Page 8 9. An Examination of Space as an Actor in Innovation Media, Stuff and Values - CM 5033 It could be argued that these innovation space, co-working or otherwise, create a frameby which participants opt-in to participate. These frames provide participants as Horgen,Joroff, Porter and Schon offer as the game buy which behaviors within the space arecreated. Innovation spaces have their own personality, set of characteristics and derive itsculture from the framing which occurs to build the community which the space seeks toattract. While Lury may have been speaking of the role of framing as a communicationsdiscourse, framing also could be applied to the communication which takes place within aspace, with the space itself playing an active role in mediation of culture and norms which cancreate contextual reference points for the participants within that environment. Interestingly,much of this framing and contextualization is may not be made through rational decisionmaking, but rather through a set of behaviors. Though this understanding, whether consciousor unconsciously, the frame allows, The possibility of creative change begins with reframingthe situation. (Horgen, Joroff, Porter and Schon, 1989: 92)While framing may set contextual boundaries of the innovation space, there is a unsaidset of behaviors which the community exhibits which it normative and not overly prescriptive.In a way it is subconscious which as stated earlier may not involve rational thought. This is akind of shared knowledge, an ethos, which connects the participants within a collaborativeinnovation space. Schephers and van den Berg argue that this kind of knowledge is activelyshared. That the key to collaborative environment is the interaction of people. Tacitknowledge is often unconscious and effective transfer requires extensive personal contact andPage 9 10. An Examination of Space as an Actor in Innovation Media, Stuff and Values - CM 5033trust (Davenport &amp; Prusak, 1998; Tobin, 1998; Bertrams, 1999). This kind of interaction alsospeaks to the ability of knowledge sharing between individuals, whether expertial learning ormentorship, it is the ability of people to connect through contextualized space whichinteraction occurs and i...</p>