Researching New Entrepreneurial Spaces

Please find below a post by Andrea Jimenez & Tim Weiss.

Researching New Entrepreneurial Spaces – The underlying mechanisms that make avandgardistic working environments a source for innovation

A group of upcoming and established scholars from diverse academic backgrounds locked themselves into a room for two days to explore the newest concept of entrepreneurial spaces happening all around us. Living labs, innovation labs, impact hubs, co-working spaces, incubators and accelerators have become the new place to be in the entrepreneurial world. It is cherished by insiders as a place where constructed serendipity unfolds and new innovations and bold ventures see the face of the earth for the first time. How much can we bank on these new forms of collaboration and work set ups? How do these spaces create an environment for innovative thinking and how do they differ across countries? Is there really a recipe to generate innovation?

The motivation for those who decide to visit or join one of these new spaces largely differs. In all honesty, for some, it may just be a cheap office space or a platform to pursue new kinds of cross-sectoral partnerships, for others it is all about a dynamic and creative working environment away from the dreary corporate routine and last but not least it is about belonging somewhere, being part of a community. What we tried to do is create a first working definition that allows us to more clearly articulate what we mean by entrepreneurial spaces and provide a malleable scaffold for interaction with likeminded.

By entrepreneurial spaces we mean: ‘A shared infrastructure that merges global and local resources to create an inspiring and activating subculture that facilitates innovation.’

First of all, that these spaces constitute of an infrastructure  with different functions, and their goals are context-dependent. What they do is to work as enablers, a facilitators of something.  They don’t necessarily generate innovations, but they may help foster innovations within their organization.

This started with three questions. When are we talking about a hub? What are the main constituent features and which are the key concepts?

Perhaps some anticipated academics are already providing with some answers, and are taking advantage of the hype and beginning with the papers, books, and all that comes with the academic paraphernalia.

However, the fact of the matter is, providing with proper answers will probably take some time, as we are just beginning to study these spaces. All that we can do at the moment is continue with the discussion, share what we know about the specific ‘hubs’ that we are studying, establish commonalities and differences, and try to identify what are the expectations that we (and others) have over these spaces, to see why the hype, and whether the ‘expectations’ become actually true, and if not, then why.

Researching New Entrepreneurial Spaces – The underlying mechanisms that make avandgardistic working environments a source for innovation” Andrea Jimenez & Tim Weiss (2014).


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