Written by Joe Rotondi
There has been a trend quickly moving across the globe. Collaborative spaces and makerspaces share resources in a way that makes them affordable to many who wouldn’t be able to access them otherwise. Sound like social capitalism…or capitalist socialism? Or could it be just a smart business model.
From a macro perspective, these spaces are almost indiscernible from one another. They all promote open access, are made up of diverse and loyal communities which share the financial burden of resources that would be expensive for any one individual or business to bear alone.
Have a large conference space and and AV equipment, or a half ton Colchester machining lathe in the middle of a downtown, but only need to use them twice a week? Why not share that cost with a dozen or more others? Schedule to use it when you need to use it and only pay a fraction of the cost through a monthly subscription.That is just smart business.
More than just sharing the resources, these communities are about enabling each other. Exchanging ideas, networks, referring clients, bartering or sourcing skills or services are all added benefits of working in a diverse community that shares resources. “Water cooler” conversations happen throughout these, and go far beyond idle banter. These exchanges are leading to strong buzzwords: ideas, collaboration, and innovation.
Greensboro has examples of all of these spaces. On a micro perspective, they do differ, even within the same category. Our coworking spaces include Naussbaum Center, Co/Lab, HQ Greensboro. As for makerspaces we have Forge GSO, SELF Design Studio, A&T Makerspace, Public Library Makerspace, among other school makerspaces.
I have the privilege of working at Forge Greensboro. Though I give tours describing collaborative space daily, I am continually surprised by how others come to interact and utilyze them. In my next few posts, I will explore our local spaces to find out what they mean to those who use them most.