Co-Working Spaces Lead to More Innovation for Tech Startups: Research

Real estate can often be a barrier for entrepreneurs who want office space but are reluctant to bear the expense. Traditional office spaces often want multi-year leases with a minimum commitment of 3 to 5 years, which isn’t feasible for many entrepreneurs. As a result of these challenges, entrepreneurs are turning to co-working spaces. These subscription-based spaces are a new trend in which individuals or teams from different companies work in a communal and shared space.

The COVID Impact

The way we live, and work has also changed considerably due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Co-working spaces have also changed. Now, they focus more on the well-being and wellness of the people who use a space.

Co-Working Spaces Promote Innovation

A recent study has revealed that setting up shop near other tech startups is good for tech startups. To avoid possible conflicts, one must ensure the tech startup isn’t in the same business.

The research was conducted by researchers from Harvard University, the Georgia Institute of Technology, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In a working paper, they measured the exchange of ideas between tech startups located near each other at one of the largest technology co-working spaces in the U.S.

The researchers found that knowledge spillovers were greatest between different startups that worked within 22 years or 20 meters of each other. This close range allowed socialization, which led to idea sharing regarding the technology the startups used in their tech infrastructure.

Maria P. Roche, lead researcher and an assistant professor of business administration in the strategy unit at Harvard Business School, said, “Environments really matter, and being close to each other is especially important in knowledge-based industries.”

The Location and Method

For the study, the researchers picked a location where different ventures worked side by side in the same building. The focus was only on interactions occurring between startups on the same floor. Most of them have been in the same location (near each other) for a year at least.

The researchers found that working in close range lets people talk to, meet, and see each other regularly. Such people might not have interacted if they weren’t sharing the same building. Such interactions were worthy of a note as they led to idea exchange about the tech used by ventures to build their applications. It often led to the tech being adopted by other startups nearby.

The researchers highlighted several benefits of working in the same building. One benefit was the ability to implement ideas that are working well for other companies quickly. For instance, if one company adopts a technology like new analytics software, other startups can benefit from this knowledge and adopt it without doing much research or legwork. It allows them to launch their products faster.

The researchers also discovered that startups located over 20 meters apart on the same floor were the same as startups on different floors. The researchers stressed that close location is vital when it comes to sharing.



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