Coworking is an irreplaceable part of how we work today. It offers opportunities for spontaneous moments of collaboration, brings communities of like-minded professionals together under one roof, provides more flexible lease terms, and allows solopreneur and small business members access to amenities that they would not otherwise have access to like conference rooms, reception services, and top of the line La Marzocco espresso machines.
Yet there is another model of co-location that is often overlooked and can have even greater benefits: sharing space with members that share a vision for positive social change.
In our first Social Innovators video, Wendy Davis from Deeds Not Words shares her thoughts on the importance of collaborative coworking spaces for mission-oriented organizations. We couldn't agree more and are thrilled to welcome Deeds Not Words to the Center for Social Innovation next year.
When a major corporation like Dell builds a new facility, its key partners - everyone from suppliers to logistics companies - will set up shop near one another to gain greater efficiencies in order to spend less time and money on travel.
A similar benefit arises when two collaborative organizations share their actual office. For example, you're seeing more and more VC funds open their own offices to their portfolio companies, but perhaps some of the best examples are in the non-profit ecosystem.
Imagine two organizations working in a similar issue area. Let's say they both want to increase high school graduation rates, and one is focused on health and human services while another provides after school tutoring. You can imagine the after-school tutors sharing with the health services group that they have a student who always complains of being hungry, or that he has a little brother who has a bad cough for the past couple months. Together, these organizations can be infinitely more effective and proactive in identifying needs and making a deeper impact on the families they serve.
Ultimately, the possibilities are endless from better joint grant applications to the emergence of new business or service delivery models. With proximity and collaboration, serendipity is more likely to strike and create unforeseen and unforeseeable opportunities.