Origin Of The Word ‘Co-Working’

Business Innovations

12 December 2017

Origin Of The Word ‘Co-Working’

  • Posted by Awfis Editorial

Oxford defines the word ‘co-working’ as, “The use of an office or other working environments by people who are self-employed or working for different employers, typically so as to share equipment, ideas and knowledge.”

To elaborate, co-working spaces encourage dynamic organisation and freelancers from different fields to work under the same roof, enabling an exchange of exciting ideas. This creates a vibrant workplace that exposes the workforce to new experiences, widens their horizons and offers greater networking opportunities.

History and Origin

How it all started with ‘Hackerspaces’

In 1995, when 17 computer-enthusiasts started a group called ‘C-Base’ in Berlin, it marked the introduction of shared workspaces. The idea behind it was to provide a common meeting ground, called a ‘hackerspace’, that offered technical facilities to people passionate about computers. It gave them the opportunity to build a community of like-minded people. Though it was different from co-working, it laid the foundation stone for collaborative workspaces.

DeKoven’s interpretation of the word

Bernard DeKoven, an American fun theorist and game designer, is credited for having coined the word ‘co-working’ in 1999, though its meaning was different from what it is today. DeKoven interpreted the term as ‘working together as equals.’ He channeled his efforts towards breaking down the rigid hierarchal boundaries at workplaces to introduce a healthy work culture.

In the same year, DeKoven established 42 West 24 – a spacious commercial loft with desks and offices for rent in the New York City, offering an array of flexible memberships for organisations and individuals. However, 42 West 24 missed out on two most identifiable elements of ‘co-working’ i.e.  community events and networking.

The rise of the ‘entrepreneurial centre’

It was when the idea of work from home became too boring for two Australian entrepreneurs that they decided to create a space for like-minded individuals to collaborate and brainstorm ideas. An ineffective factory was converted to a workspace for freelancers, start-ups, PR consultants, architects and the like and named ‘Schraubenfabrik’. Later, it was renamed as ‘entrepreneurial centre’.

 Evolution of the modern concept of the word

Brad Neuberg, officially considered as the father of the co-working movement, launched the ‘9 to 5 group’ in San Francisco in the year 2005 to provide freelancers with the convenience of workplace facilities.

The enthusiasm that this group garnered led to co-working spaces mushrooming not only in San Francisco but spreading rapidly to other continents like Europe and Asia within a short span of time. No wonder, co-working spaces have doubled each year since its inception in 2005.
Current day scenario

Co-working featured as one of the leading search terms on Google, witnessing a six-fold increase in search, as compared to other words and phrases. Being recognised by the search giant in 2007 spoke volumes about its popularity. An official page on Wikipedia confirmed the buzz around the word.

Forbes’ prediction about the number of co-working spaces reaching 1.2 million by 2017 indicates its significance among entrepreneurs and working community.

Conclusion

Witnessing the exponential growth worldwide since the last decade makes it evident that the trend will not slow down anytime soon. The work-life balance that co-working spaces offer seamlessly translates to increased work productivity, making it score over traditional workplaces.

Three Lunchtime TEDTalks for The Entrepreneur in You

Business Innovations

20 November 2018

Three Lunchtime TEDTalks for The Entrepreneur in You

  • Posted by Awfis Editorial

Jokes aside, who doesn’t love TEDTalks? Nothing beats these quick, bite-sized inspirational videos that showcase fascinating insights on topics ranging across the board. What began in 1984 as part of a conference on Technology, Entertainment and Design (yes, that’s where TED gets its moniker from, in case you didn’t know; I didn’t), is today a massive global community that shares ideas and triggers conversations.

A TEDTalk works in numerous ways: it can teach you to become a better professional and even inspire you to be a better person. It aims to help people get a deeper understanding of the world they live in. It sparks curiosity; it motivates; it teaches something new every time; a TEDTalk can shift your perspective and broaden your horizon; it can even show you what’s possible and help you reach you true potential.

As an entrepreneur, you need to constantly challenge your assumptions and beliefs. A TEDTalk will give you all that, and more.

However, with thousands of existing TEDTalks, and new ones being added regularly, knowing where to start can be daunting. If you’re looking for quick inspiration during your lunch break, you’ve come to the right place. Here are three short, yet essential, TEDTalks that you must watch:

#1 Creative problem solving in the face of extreme limits

Start-ups operate on the premise that there will be restrictions and limitations – of capital, resource and time. However, when is little too little? And how can a start-up apply innovation even in the face of these limits?

Watch this TEDTalk by Navi Radjou to understand creative problem solving techniques under extreme limitations. The demands of a start-up are high and relentless, and that is what drives greater creativity, much needed for innovation, scientific discovery and even social constructs.

The next time you feel backed into a corner, watch this talk to understand how you can turn this challenge into an advantage.

#1 The one reason start-ups succeed

Why do some start-ups manage to become more successful than others? Are there any factors at play here, or is it just a matter of luck, of being in the right place at the right time?

Bill Gross, a serial entrepreneur and a mentor for several startups, attempts to explain the reasons for this through his TEDTalk. In his vast experience in the business world he has seen rock-solid ideas flounder terribly, while doubtful businesses flourish. And it led him to wonder why.

In this video, Bill measures each start-up according to the power of its idea, the timing of the launch, the attributes of the team at the front, access to capital and also its business model. What he finds is how one factor leads to success more than any other. Watch the video to know which one.

#1 Do what you love

A no-brainer, right? Your start-up is your passion and that’s what you love to do. Watch Gary Vaynerchuk as he does a fantastic job of still convincing you of this in his inspiring TEDTalk.

Perhaps you decided to start off on your own attracted with the idea of making more money; or just the thought of running your own business and being your own boss got you excited. But those ingredients aren’t enough to be really successful. You also have to be part of something that you really care about; and you have to actually enjoy what you do.

Conclusion

If you haven’t watched these TEDTalks yet, then add them to your list right away. And in case you noticed, we’ve pegged them all at #1 because there really isn’t any criterion for comparison. Each of these videos will expose you to new ideas, opening your mind to new experiences. Your journey towards successful entrepreneurship hinges on this.

Is our workplace ready for AI assistants?

Business Innovations

28 October 2018

Is our workplace ready for AI assistants?

  • Posted by Awfis Editorial

The world is rather interesting these days, thanks to Artificial Intelligence (AI). The technology has long moved out of the ambit of sci-fi and has made a definite entrance into our professional lives. But how far has it really penetrated?

Today there are digital assistants scheduling meetings, chatbots working alongside teachers as their assistants and even AI working with HR to make better hiring decisions. The implications of AI in the workplace have started to get noticed. The day isn’t far when HR will leverage the combined power of human intelligence and Artificial Intelligence to deliver a more personalized employee experience.`

It has been predicted that by 2022, one in five workers will have AI as their co-worker. Imagine that!

#1 Humans and AI will work side-by-side

Today artificial intelligence is working effortlessly alongside HR managers and teaching assistants. Chatbots are quick on the uptake and, as Jill Watson, the AI-empowered teaching assistant at Georgia Institute of Technology showed, they can very soon begin to answer routine student queries. This will allow teachers and their human assistants to free-up a significant amount of time and focus on more complex areas of teaching.

As AI becomes a new, trusted member of the team, taking over more routine tasks, HR leaders will now need to spend time orienting and training chatbots, and also educating the rest of the team on how to work with them. The result of this will be more time for human employees to do tasks meant for humans, such as complex problem solving, critical thinking and creativity.

#2 Can AI take over some roles entirely?

There is a fear that AI will take over some tasks entirely. Even in the worst case scenario, this is unlikely. At best, certain activities will need to be re-defined, and that could call for revising business processes and introducing new job roles. As the point above outlines, AI can take over certain routine activities, allowing individuals who earlier performed these roles to bring greater value to their customers and employees.

#3 Sourcing and recruiting new hires

Another notable area where AI is helping companies is the way they source and recruit new hires. With the backing of AI, recruiters can prioritize jobs more efficiently, find the right talent faster, and match candidates more effectively. Rather than relying on filters such as years of experience or education levels, machine learning can help shortlist candidates based on core skills such as agility, cognitive abilities, etc. This ‘horizontal sourcing’ model can even help talent move across business verticals, domains, and industries. This is a fantastic example of AI truly reinventing a business function.

#4 Machine learning will help improve careers

There is a trend that is gradually being noticed across industries and sectors. Employees at all levels are staying 30% longer in their roles. This is an excellent opportunity for companies to help employees focus on their career and not just aim for promotions. Managers at Cisco are already leveraging machine learning to help their team members present their skills, interests, and passions, and then look for internal roles that can help further their career goals.

#5 AI as a virtual coach and to reinforce learning

Several newer companies are investing in chatbots that will provide employees with individual coaching in the workplace.

Take the example of the MIT Media Lab startup GiantOtter. The company is riding on AI to develop and train ‘Coach Otto’, a training bot that provides online coaching for companies. An employer can use this chatbot as a coach or a companion to improve an individual’s performance on the job, for instance preparing a manager for a difficult conversation with an employee.

Conclusion:

There is no doubt that AI + human is the future of work. Now it is simply a question of businesses using AI to create a seamless employee experience. What do you think? Will the advent of AI threaten existing jobs, or will the two work seamlessly and create a more efficient system?

6 Astonishing Tech Trends That Are Changing The Way We Work

Business Innovations

17 October 2018

6 Astonishing Tech Trends That Are Changing The Way We Work

  • Posted by Awfis Editorial

While no one can actually predict what the future will look like, a few farsighted ones can definitely take an educated guess on how technology will change the way we work.

Here are top 6 tech trends that we see shaping the way businesses work. Are you ready to step into the future?

#1 Virtual and augmented reality will involve the entire community

Right at this moment, virtual reality is pretty much an individual experience. You pick up a headset and plunge into a virtual world that has just a sole occupant – you.

Going forward, Virtual Reality, and to a great extent even Augmented Reality, will let individuals enter and explore untold worlds together. They’ll play and work together, and share everything in this alternate reality.

#2 Blockchain will find newer areas to work in

It seems like everybody’s talking about blockchains and cryptocurrencies. However, the rapid rise of blockchain technology will no longer be limited in the coming future.

There are newer areas to work in and newer arenas of society to conquer, including the government.

For instance, blockchain can make it possible to reduce the risk of fraud and manipulation, massively impacting how votes are collected. When more voices are heard and make a difference in policy decisions, the overarching benefit is to society as a whole. Never know, blockchain might even endpaper ballots entirely.

#3 Consumer tech will become more appealing (if it wasn’t already)

Let’s face facts; technology is addictive. And helping us all stay addicted are today’s smartphones and digital devices. No longer boxy with sharp edges, they slide into our lives with their soft, rounded and inviting appearances.

As consumers demand more options that fit into their lives seamlessly and are an extension of their selves, hardware will start to become more expressive and responsive.

#4 Data will make life smarter but still be private

Big data is big business. But it can also be intrusive. How do companies plan on tackling that without losing out on the game?

Smartphones and other digital devices are already measuring and noting down various aspects of our lives, like how long we slept, how much we walked, etc. The trend now will be to use low-fidelity audio and visual sensors that can do the same task of providing data about people and their behavior, but without revealing any identifying information.

Customers get better experiences, and companies still get their precious data. Everybody is happy.

#5 Ultra-tiny robots will replace medicines in some cases

Not too far down in the future, a doctor might ask you to pop a nanorobot into your mouth, which will then go on to journey through your body and clear your veins of any plaque buildup. Popping pills and injecting medicines might not always be the first line of attack against an illness, according to some tech forecasters.

Various other nanorobots can travel through your system and send back personalized and targeted, intelligent advice to help you lead a healthier, better life. A form of edible health robots might also come into the picture, travel through the bloodstream to deliver important nutrients.

#6 The way we travel will change

Already ride-sharing is changing the vehicle market. Add to that mix a preference for electric vehicles (EVs) over the traditional internal combustion engine (ICE) ones. We’re not too far away from the tipping point.

People who buy used cars will be seen buying their first used EV in just another few more years. Very soon it will not be economical to purchase, maintain and own a car with a traditional combustion engine. And car makers are gearing up for the demand.

Conclusion

The world of technology is exciting. And when it intersects the working world, it has the potential to completely change the way we work, or even our jobs themselves. The only way to know is to wait for the future to reveal itself.