Collaboration Spaces: Why They May Work

LMHQ - Lower Manhattan Headquarters

The marketing draw? People. Smart people. Creative people. Talented people who are on the verge of success. The product? A new coworking ‘spin off’ called a ‘collaboration space’.

Born in Manhattan, the first of its kind, LMHQ ‘Lower Manhattan Headquarters’ just opened its doors and is already getting some serious media attention, most recently in Forbes. And, beneath the marketing veneer, they may be on to something.

First, there are the market conditions. Coworking spaces are everywhere. By Forbes’ estimates there are about 2,000 currently in the U.S., and 50 of them located in Manhattan alone. Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last 10 years, you are aware of them and have probably used one by now.

Secondly, because there are so many coworking spaces, they have pretty much snapped up most of the young, rising talent who work there, play there, get noticed there, and even get funded for their start-ups there.

All this has not gone unnoticed by many larger, more established corporations whose model has typically been to sequester their employees in remote campuses, away from the bustle of the city and, consequently, away from the burgeoning cross section of talent and youthful energy.

That makes it more challenging for them to stay dialed into the local entrepreneurial communities. By renting a collaboration space, however, they can meet, hold events, and engage in impromptu ‘focus groups’ with local entrepreneurs, freelancers and idea people.

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And it’s not a stretch to see the advantages to holding meetings and events in an off-prem collaboration space.

The open, creative environments, filled with young talent eager to get involved (if asked) — just might bring some fresh thinking, and maybe even a future Jobs or Zuckerberg into an organization.

LMHQ is the brainchild of the Alliance for Downtown New York, who, along with the support of local partners and sponsors, worked with both large and small companies to create, in their words, “a place where businesses can connect to a community for a richer working experience.”

Scott Anderson, a founding member of LMHQ, also sees the use of collaboration spaces to further explore the concept of human-centered design. “We should be using human input for the right things and let computers do the rest. This space could advance human design. Companies want that now.”

We’re eager to see how LMHQ and the entire collaboration space model pans out. Will it become a natural life cycle extender to the coworking market? Or become its own super niche? Or will it turn out to be merely a dressed-up version of meeting room space? The fact that larger corporations are taking notice could give it the boost it needs to take off. And, hey, the walls are covered in IdeaPaint. What more could you want?