Co-Working Spaces: A Jam of an Idea


It is becoming increasingly fashionable for aspiring entrepreneurs, new start-ups and established small businesses to occupy a co-working space, also commonly known as a shared office space. They are affordable as well as equipped with the desirable amenities one would seek in any professional office. Often, these factors coupled with a passionate business environment can be compelling enough for some to consider embarking on their entrepreneurial journey.

This phenomenon has fuelled the demand for co-working spaces in many cities around the world and if the trend is any indication, we will be seeing many more such spaces.

One of the attractions of a co-working space is the social dimension of the working experience. Entrepreneurship can be a lonely adventure and potentially terminal without the right support. Whilst working from home or a room in a serviced office has its benefits, neither provides the opportunity to interact with other entrepreneurs, planned or impromptu.

Critics of co-working spaces however perceive the social dimension to be “all play and little work”. From wine tasting to trekking at lunch, these criticisms aren’t off the mark. Some measure of recalibration is needed to demonstrate the seriousness of the work that goes on in co-working spaces. So what is the next level of the social dimension that has to be present?

Jamming … Jamming of Ideas involving residents or co-workers. It is the classic two heads (or more) are better than one. Co-working spaces should actively drive these jamming sessions. They promote exchanges and flow of ideas in the community which may someday  benefit the larger society. What can be done to facilitate this?

  1. The physical lay-out of the co-working space; and
  2. Organize planned and/or impromptu brainstorming sessions

Should the above be present, one can expect to be in the state of creative overflow in a co-working space. This is a critical ingredient in sustainable entrepreneurship. Generating ideas must be a major activity of a business, regardless of the life stage it is in. This can’t be done working from home or in a serviced office. For ideas to be germinated and pollinated effectively, it needs a social dimension. What can ensure the quality of ideas though?

An eclectic mix of entrepreneurs can help ensure a variety of ideas. Fusing the brainwaves of an engineer and an artist can be magical. While all these things are fine and good, we need to turn those ideas into practical innovations. A co-working space with resident entrepreneurs in the fields of marketing, accounting or sales among others, places itself in good stead for the latter to happen. By placing this form of support within easy reach, it frees entrepreneurs to dedicate time, energy and effort to producing practical innovations – that sells; not ideas or the act of generating those ideas.

Co- working or shared office space is here to stay. It has been experiencing exponential growth in the last couple of years. No longer will the cost of real estate be a hindrance to entrepreneurship. Add the availability of business support services to that, entrepreneurs residing in co-working spaces will be working on their business and not in the business. The presence of such services in-house, will be a key deciding factor.



Mark Amin spent 2 decades as a marketing research consultant, half of that time running his own practice. In 2013, he will celebrate 10 years as an entrepreneur. To mark the occasion, Mark decided to embark on a new journey dedicated to serving and growing the entrepreneurship community. Today he runs an entrepreneurship coaching practice, shared office space as well as a networking initiative where he personally introduces entrepreneurs to each other each week. His mission is to reach out to 100  budding entrepreneurs by year end. Mark is married with 5 young children.

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