The Real Artisan Economy

By Drew Jones Earlier today we visited several working studios in Arroyo Seco, NM, in between the town of Taos and Taos Ski Valley. Within this smallest of hamlets, there are numerous working potters, weavers, and craft brewers who are making a living working directly with their hands. Over the past several years I have written about what […]

Source: DJ Daily Drip

kc-corporate-community-alliance

Grassroots community, the Kansas City Startup Village, coworks in one of Sprint’s corporate creations – in an uncorporate collaboration.

The idea for the event came up when Erik Wullschleger, general manager of the Sprint Accelerator powered by Techstars, grabbed coffee with Marcus and fellow Kansas City Startup Village co-leader Adam Arredondo.

“We have this really cool space and want to put it to work, so why not move KCSV for a day?” Wullschleger said. “Whether it’s our network or a physical space, as a corporation we have an opportunity to take big resources and repurpose them for the community.”

Last Friday, the Village was welcomed into the space for a day of co-working with Sprint employees, local government officials, Silicon Prairie News and, just as importantly, each other. To get into a new environment and new thinking, but also to run into people they otherwise would never, or rarely, see.  Article: KCSV co-working day at the Sprint Accelerator may be just the beginning

Why this is a big deal:

  • Large corporation partners with local startup community in a big way. This may be the accidental development of one of the world’s first corporate+community coworking ecosystems.
  • Repurposing of space for greater impact. This space was purposed for a Sprint initiatve. But now it has been co-purposed for the Kansas City community. An innovative way in sustainable space scalability.
  • Anytime corporations open themselves up to the public, they help contribute to the positive evolution of the corporate world. Independent, free thinkers have long been disenchanted by the corporation. Not all companies operate like Initech, but the anti-corporate independents of the world don’t know this because most corporations are too busy keeping to themselves. It’s refreshing to see two disparate forces coming together.
  • As the collaboration continues, I’d imagine Sprint would start opening itself further into the greater KC business community. I’d imagine Sprint would start letting their employees cowork together with the greater community, embracing an open rather than closed model. There are plenty of ways the two communities can leverage each other to create a cohesive business community where corporations, freelancers, and entrepreneurs are all allied together in Kansas City.

And this is actually quite poetic when you learn the next unfolding fact. There’s a global coworking conference called GCUC. The conference has been hosted in Austin since its founding in 2010 and has moved for the first time this year to….Kansas City. Serendipity! I’ve been to every GCUC since its beginning, but I may not be able to make this one. In my absence, I hope someone leads a discussion panel on Corporate+Community Alliances. And certainly, invite the Sprint & KC Village crews to share what they’ve experienced first hand – creating an ecosystem where a global technology corporation and a grassroots entrepreneur community are able to cowork together.

The future is already here – it’s just not evenly distributed. – William Gibson

save our libraries

Phoenix innovates traditional library model, integrates coworking

“We want people to talk in here,” said Claudia León, business librarian at Burton Barr. “This is a unique kind of concept. It’s basically just a place for people to come in and network with other people. A discovery space.

Phoenix, which operates the library, partnered with Arizona State University to create the Hive. It’s part of ASU’s Alexandria Co-Working Network, a program named after the great Egyptian library, that aims to open collaborative spaces in public libraries throughout the state. Similar spaces have opened at libraries in Scottsdale and Mesa, and Goodyear expects to soon follow.

The city spent about $150,000 to create the space, with the money coming from its capital-improvement and library-operations budgets, a spokeswoman said.  Article:  New Phoenix library co-working space open for budding entrepreneurs

Why this is a big deal:

A recent study found that 90 percent of Americans would be upset if their local library closed, but when did you last visit yours? Libraries are facing closure everywhere. The model of the traditional library is facing extinction, but evolution happens, and guess what? What’s going on in Phoenix is a clear sign that even the old-school library model can evolve in new ways. Way to go Phoenix for empowering your community and encouraging collaboration in new ways. (And while I’m at it, kudos to Chattanooga, TN as well. They’re doing great things too.) Long live libraries.

The very existence of libraries affords the best evidence that we may yet have hope for the future of man. – T.S. Eliot

The Leadership Self

By Drew Jones In his book, Modernity and Self Identity, Anthony Giddens explores the various ways that individuals maintain a cohesive sense of self in a post-modern world. The collapse/disappearance of traditional cultural systems all around us creates uncertainty and anxiety, within which we have fewer and fewer reliable islands where we can call home. He talks about […]

Source: DJ Daily Drip

It Starts with Strategy

By Drew Jones In conversations with fellow organizational consultants, I often hear that their engagements with their clients are, primarily, supportive in nature. That is, they are there to help that company achieve its strategic goals, whatever those might be. Sounds straightforward enough, right? Well, perhaps not. First, many firms (the clients) can be rather confused about what […]

Source: DJ Daily Drip

I Can’t Prove It

Several years ago, at the Transform Innovation Summit at the Mayo Clinic, Roger Martin gave a moving talk about what kills and what drives innovation.  In the talk, which he called a rant, he suggested that the two words- prove and it- when used together, are innovation killers.  He provided several powerful examples in the talk, which I recommend that everyone should watch.

Roger suggests that, because so much of corporate decision making today insists that the outcome of initiatives, projects, ventures be known and provable before they even begin,  it becomes virtually impossible for firms to actually create new and emergent forms of value.  “We would love to do that,” the thinking goes, “but we are too busy and have too many immediate things to do to take such a big risk.”

This is just excuse making.  Which leads to my own rant of the day.  I am convinced, after working with organizations and business school students for many years, that many (perhaps most but I hate to be so negative) corporate decision makers are more interested in maintaining a general sense of order and control over their social universes than they are in actually driving success and excellence in the firms they run. To some extent this makes perfect sense.  None of us likes to be surrounded by chaos and uncertainty.  It would be easier to accept, though, if timid managers acknowledged, truthfully, that these are the grounds of their objections.  The tired, worn-out discourses about risk management and decision “sciences” are harder and harder to believe. Just come out and say it like it is: “I would rather run the company at a suboptimal level of performance than embrace those actions and practices that will make us great.”

I Can’t Prove It

This dynamic/delusion is relevant to the bold initiative that we are launching atConjunctured.   We know, pretty much without much question (though we can’t prove it in the way many corporates insist on), that today’s young knowledge workers aspire to work in environments that emphasize maximum choice and flexibility, doing work that is meaningful and makes the world a better place.  It turns out that this is pretty much what’s going on in the world of coworking.  If you plop coworking into a large corporate organization, what you get is corporate coworking.  While I can’t prove it, I am nearly certain that most of your employees would love to work in a space like the one we have at Conjunctured, and that in this they would be more engaged with their work and their colleagues.

But if that generates too much cosmological chaos, I guess I understand.  If, on the other hand, you want ‘to boldly go’ where your employees want to go, then there are solutions and pioneers out there to help you get there.

Source: Drew Jones Daily Drip

So Much for Science and Rationality

On the opening day (11/7/13) of its IPO, Twitter shares (TWTR) traded up from its offer price of $26/share to $45/share.  By contrast, Facebook (FB) opened (5/12/13) at $42/share and promptly began to train downward for many months.  Facebook has since then been trading up for several months ($47 today), which is indeed good to see.  However, the contrasting stories of the initial IPOs paint an interesting picture.

Twitter is yet to post a profit, and reports around $650 million a year in revenue.  Facebook, by contrast, reports almost $2B a quarter in revenue, and has been profitable for three straight years.  So, if one were to base share price and company potential on numbers and data, Twitter is a fraction of the company that Facebook is.  But so much for science and rationality.

It boils down to investor mood, sentient, and emotion.  Investors were skeptical and still on the sidelines at the time that Facebook went public.  This week, when Twitter went public, investor mood is all champagne and bubbly.  Markets have been up for weeks, the Dow reaching record highs almost daily.  But this does not mean that Twitter has greater potential as a company going forward.

Such is the nature of much decision making in the corporate world. For all of the bluster and infographics about the importance of data and big data, humans are still primarily an emotional species.  We aspire for rationality, but we have to learn it and fake it.  Our default setting, for better or worse, is emotion. Recognizing such a simple thing would save us a lot of time and angst.

Source: Drew Jones Daily Drip