Co-working Spaces, Collaborative Practices and Entrepreneurship

Collaborative work practices are being transformed through the growth of co-working in urban third spaces, makerspaces, fab labs, incubators, accelerators and digital labs. This paper is based on a 2-year project carried out by a network of academics and practitioners interested in new work practices in the collaborative economy, focusing particularly on collaborative workspaces. We concentrate on the relationships between collaboration and these new work practices according to three levels, individual, community and societal, highlighting their spatial and temporal dimensions. Our results indicate that: boundaries between waged employment and entrepreneurship are not rigid; individuals not only suffer from stress in traditional organisations but also of boredom; new collaborative practices imply rethinking their own competences and prospects, often leading to fundamental life changes; co-working communities can provide collective meaning, crucial to supporting these transformations; they can be orientated towards practice, professional identity, and emotional support to address loneliness and sense-making; public discourses about entrepreneurship and innovation and territorial policies are not clearly linked to innovative practices in collaborative spaces. We conclude that there is need for better coordination between public actors and collaborative communities which should be seen at the heart of economic, educational, industrial and cultural policies targeting the city, aiming at collaborating and sharing.


Nathalie Mitev, François-Xavier de Vaujany, Pierre Laniray, Amélie Bohas, Julie Fabbri. 2019. Co-working Spaces, Collaborative Practices and Entrepreneurship. In: Riemer K., Schellhammer S., Meinert M. (eds) Collaboration in the Digital Age: How Technology Enables Individuals, Teams and Businesses, Progress in IS. Springer, Cham, 15-43, first published 20 July 2018:

2018-09-13T14:59:37+00:00 By |

About the Author:

Julie Fabbri
I am an Assistant Professor in Innovation and Strategic Management at emlyon business school and a Research Fellow at the Management Research Center (i3-CRG) of Ecole polytechnique.

I am interested in the synergies between space and organization in the context of innovation. My research activities focused on the intersection between the recent spatial turn in the management and organization theory literature and the empirical phenomenon of the rise of new inter-company & collaborative spaces (e.g. innovation lab, makerspace, fab lab, hacker space, living lab). I have completed a doctoral degree (2015) on intra- and inter-organizational dynamics within coworking spaces for innovative entrepreneurs. My main research projects deal with the materiality of organizations, open innovation management, and collective learning dynamics.

I am one of the co-founders and Vice-President of the international research network RGCS (Research Group on Collaborative Spaces – Paris, London, Montreal, Barcelona, Berlin, Amsterdam, Roma), dealing with new work practices and workplace transformations in the context of the sharing and peer-to-peer economy. RGCS explores collaborative spaces, collaborative communities, and collaborative movements. It covers the managerial, social, political, digital, spatial, and temporal dimensions of coworking, DIY, and hacking practices.

Prior to joining emlyon Business School, I was General Secretary of the i7 Institute for Innovation & Competitiveness at ESCP Europe Business School (2011-2014), and then Research Fellow at the Innovation Management Chair of Ecole polytechnique (2015-2016).

I am also tutoring some startups (e.g. MakerTour, NoïTour, EdTech World Tour), advising some collaborative spaces (e.g. Volumes – a coworking/making/fooding space; Liberty Living Lab – a civic-tech space), and large French companies (e.g. Orange, Valeo) on their innovation labs, open innovation and user-centric management processes (e.g. crowdsourcing, design thinking).

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