The adage of ‘two heads being better than one’ is the fundamental principle upon which the idea of coworking was built. The wise proverb may have had its origins in the early 15th century, in the days of the glorious Renaissance where the ‘Bottega’ system existed. Bottega, which roughly translates to the workshop, was the hub of innovation under the watchful eyes of master artists who were at the center of things. Artisans and craftsmen hobnobbed with painters, sculptors, artists, architects, mathematicians, engineers, anatomists, and scientists. They brainstormed together, exchanging ideas and perspectives, devising new artistic forms and techniques. Bottegas, like today’s coworking spaces, were the innovative and collaborative community workplaces of the Renaissance.
The winning premise
Businesses, whether small, medium or big, have people at the helm of it. And often, people find that they can benefit their business through healthy discussions, brainstorming sessions, collaboration and networking opportunities. It is this knowledge that has fuelled the growth of coworking spaces. The environment of a coworking space is created to inspire innovation and more. This global movement of the modern-day workspace, which initially seemed lucrative only for entrepreneurs, has attracted medium and large-sized corporations too.
It was just a matter of time before it became apparent that the benefits of coworking extended towards medium-sized enterprises as well. With considerably more capital, medium-sized enterprises saved big on the flexible, ‘amenities-packed’ and substantially cheaper rentals of coworking spaces.
The unfailing process
Like the famous bottegas, the process of innovation is three-pronged — facilitating dialogue, converting ideas into action, and convergence of diverse verticals on a mutually-beneficial platform. In a coworking space, almost every conversation has the potential to help make new clients, or generate interesting business ideas. The opportunity to sound off your ideas, and express your creativity makes up only part of the picture. In order for innovation to be successful, the ability to collaborate is also crucial, and it is this quality that makes the coworking space a game-changer. This culture of openness, which is conducive for innovation, also guarantees an acceleration in development. This involves networking with resources that are both within and outside of your organization.
In organizations, where established corporate processes are already in place – like in most mid-sized enterprises – the key is to facilitate change by fostering a more open, receptive and creative method of operating your business. The benefits that coworking spaces offer are not simply those that are tangible. Along with the numerous financial and infrastructural advantages, there are also a host of other less tangible perks. For instance, inspired workspaces for young professionals that nurtures and promotes out-of-the-box thinking, new work practices and a fertile ground for innovation.
The bottom line
The effectiveness of coworking is evident in its success. With a growth rate of 24% annually, by 2022, as estimated by the Global Coworking Unconference Conference, we can expect to see some 30,000 coworking spaces and more than five million coworking members around the world. In India too, the demand for coworking spaces has been increasing at an exceptional scale. Not only among start-ups, but also among medium-sized enterprises keen to capitalize on the innovation advantage of coworking. Just like the Bottegas of the Renaissance period.