Coworking: an analysis of coworking strategies for interaction and innovation

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This paper analyses how managed coworking spaces affect the innovation process of their members. Managed coworking spaces are working environments for independent professionals, with an active role of the manager of the space to foster collaboration and interaction. These locations emerged in the late 2000s and were designed to host people who endeavor to break isolation and to find a convivial environment that favors meetings and collaboration (Moriset, 2013). It is often taken for granted that coworking contributes to innovation (Botsman & Rogers, 2011). Earlier research discussed outcomes of coworking, such as cooperative working (e.g. Leforestier, 2009, Spinuzzi, 2012), getting access to new knowledge (van Winden et al., 2012), or having new business opportunities (Groot, 2013). Yet, it is not fully understood how coworking spaces can be effective in fostering these outcomes, and what role management could play. The managers of coworking spaces deploy a variety of strategies to foster interaction and collaboration, but there has been very little systematic analysis of the effects on interaction and innovation. This paper proposes a typology of strategic management tools applied by coworking spaces, and aims to shed light on the effectiveness for interaction and innovation. In the empirical part, we describe and analyze two coworking spaces in Amsterdam. The implications for proprietors of coworking spaces and policy makers are analyzed in view of the potential contributions of these spaces to local collaborations, knowledge transfer and new business opportunities.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)357-377
JournalInternational Journal of Knowledge-Based Development
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2016


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