Culture of Obligation < Culture of Opportunity

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Shared by Justin Nygren, co-founder

When we talk about The Grove being “A New Kind of Social Space,” we are conveying the idea that it is more than just a coworking space.  The Grove is a place where, together as a community, we are exploring a new way of working in the New Economy.  If the old way of working is like riding a bike, then the new way of working in the New Economy is like learning to ride a hoverboard.  It is easy to fall back on the old ways of working in isolation and selfish competition, but the values of collaboration and knowledge-sharing bring a human-centered richness to our work, and ultimately contribute to a much healthier workplace.

If the old way of working created a Culture of Obligation (you must attend this meeting, you must climb the ladder, you must look out for yourself), then the New Economy is creating a Culture of Opportunity (creating space to learn, offering to share knowledge for the betterment of the larger community, opening networks to accelerate new initiatives).

The challenge that the coworking movement faces is, just like riding a bike, you never really forget what it is like to work in the Old Economy.  Even when you’ve been freelancing for a while, even after being in a collaborative workspace, it can still be easy to slip back into the siloed mentality of self-reliance.  Even after you’ve pushed through some great collaborations with former competitors, and experienced the power of an interdisciplinary ideation session, the old ways always seem to be ready to rear their head, especially when the money is tight and your customers haven’t paid their last bill.  When the old ways of working are the norm inside of a coworking community, you essentially create a culture of the glorified coffee shop based on membership rather than the “guilty” cup of coffee.

If we’re going to prevent this from happening in our spaces…  As a movement, coworking communities must be intentional about creating space for opportunities for their members to learn, grow, and contribute.

The featured image is of our member wall and it is one of the ways we help spark collaboration by highlighting strengths and interests of each member.

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