Coworking and Innovation

16 page Publication by Janet Merkel , ,
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Abstract in English:

In the context of this Companion, this chapter aims to introduce coworking as a practice of “distributed, interorganizational, collaborative knowledge work” (Spinuzzi 2012, p. 400) and coworking spaces as “complex and heterogeneous relational innovation landscapes” (Schmidt et al. 2014, p. 245). It will explore how an understanding of coworking and coworking spaces can contribute to research questions in economic geography in three different ways. First, a look into coworking sheds light on a growing group of economic actors that have not been fully acknowledged in economic geography: freelancers. Second, it provides a comprehensive micro-perspective into social dynamics of knowledge generation because these spaces bring together heterogeneous groups of actors and different knowledge bases and could further illuminate the role of different types of proximity or distance and shared practice for knowledge generation and innovation. And third, coworking spaces themselves become meaningful actors within the urban creative economy mediating between freelancers, firms and organizations. As new and distinct knowledge sites, coworking spaces can provide an empirical lens into theoretical questions of relational and spatial proximity for creativity and innovation beyond the firm and within creative urban milieus (Boschma 2005; Amin and Roberts 2008; Desrochers et al., Chapter 14, this volume). In this chapter, I will combine sociological perspectives with recent research in economic geography on the social dynamics of knowledge creation, proximity and the spatialities of creative and innovative processes. The discussion will draw mainly on empirical literature from the field of culture and creative industries, where freelance work has been a subject of intense study for the past decade. However, that does not mean that all freelancers working in those shared offices are creative workers nor that all freelancers work in coworking spaces.

Editor(s) Full Names Harald Bathelt, Patrick Cohendet

Publication Year 2017

Publisher Edward Elgar
ISSN/ISBN 9781782548515
DOI 10.4337/9781782548522

English | Discipline Social Science