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Fab time: let me show you our new space in the city

Fab time: let me show you our new space in the city

Maker spaces, fab labs, hacker spaces, innovation labs, media labs… are great things to show. What is more effective, to impress a visitor, than to show him or her a place, an ‘innovative’ place. To make innovation, during the time of a tour, ‘something’ which can be seen, told, touched, in a word, experienced. Collaborative spaces are iconic spaces expected to concentrate the best of a company or society at large: collaboration and collaborative values, innovation, up to date technologies, glamorous furniture, stimulating colors and shapes, cool atmosphere…

In companies, a fab lab is thus a great think to show to external visitors, in particular customers. The place is attractive, and its openness makes it easy for him or her to project himself or herself into the space.

Beyond that, a fab lab (and collaborative spaces at large) are great opportunities for communication and demonstration in the context of cities … Read more

Des nouvelles formes de collaboration : quelles utopies sociales ?

Des nouvelles formes de collaboration : quelles utopies sociales ?

« You will join a community ». La promesse est récurrente. A la distinction consommateur-producteur succèderait aujourd’hui une catégorie unique : celle des collaborateurs. Liés par une infrastructure numérique globale, des communautés imbriquées, un langage quasi-universel (l’anglais), des standards, des peurs et des fantasmes planétaires, nous voilà tous sur un même bateau. Chaque individu, et chaque objet (de plus en plus « connecté ») peut désormais être pris dans le vaste mouvement de la collaboration.

Pour la énième fois, fini les hiérarchies. Les immeubles de la cité et les organigrammes s’aplatissent toujours plus, habités par des individus incités à des collaborations plus horizontales.

Mais quelles sont les nouvelles utopies sociales qui nourrissent aujourd’hui ce « travailler ensemble » (ce qu’est étymologiquement la collaboration) ? Qu’est-ce qui fondent les valeurs collaboratives des mouvements sociaux comme ceux des makers, du coworking ou de l’entrepreneuriat social ? Les utopies du 19ème siècle ? … Read more

Coworking spaces, maker spaces, fab labs: true communities?

After a set of new visits of coworking spaces and fab labs this week, I am more than ever skeptical or at least, lost, about the use of the notion of ‘community’.


You will join a community, share a space, collective events. I’ve even heard the word ‘family’!

Let’s make a short detour. An historical detour again towards the history of western universities. It is often reminded that the word university comes from the latin word ‘universitas, universitatit, f’, which means (among others) ‘community’. Unversities have emerged for the Middle Age period. They are a typical collectivity of the Middle Age. The archetypal community of that time are monasteries (see previous post). With a strong set of rules, a major time and space unity. Monks of that time (and most monks today) are fully involved in collective life, day and night. Everybody is expected to respect the same rules, the … Read more

Après le coworking, le coliving : retour au Moyen Age ?

Après le coworking, le coliving : retour au Moyen Age ?

Depuis plus d’une dizaine d’année, le coworking se développe dans les grandes villes occidentales. La tentation était sans doute trop forte pour certains grands groupes immobiliers et certains acteurs de l’écosystème des tiers-lieux.

Pourquoi se quitter ? Pourquoi ne pas développer des lieux où non seulement on travaillerait ensemble, mais où il serait également possible de partager une vie commune (des « dortoirs pour adultes »)? De dormir, faire la fête, recevoir des amis ensemble ? Dans le respect bien sûr de certaines règles. Parmi quelques autres précurseurs, WeWork a ainsi développé une nouvelle offre sur San Francisco et Washington (« WeLive»). Une unité de temps et de lieu pour le travail, la vie privée et les loisirs dans le cadre d’immeubles réhabilités. Chacun dispose d’un studio. Le ménage et les courses sont totalement assurés par WeWork… La vie ensemble est animée par un community manager. Les indépendants, les entrepreneurs, les artistes, les professions … Read more

Developping new collaborative policies in partnership with collaborative spaces

Developping new collaborative policies in partnership with collaborative spaces

Coworking spaces, fab labs, maker spaces, media labs… What does it mean, what does it bring?

Almost one year since RGCS started.

What about the novely of the phenomenon? Are we entering into a new world? Are we attending to the end of waged employment? Will we all become independant employers and makers in tomorrow’s society? For sure, it is too early to state such a deep, structural, change.

Will we still talk about cowworking spaces in 10 years? Will we talk about maker spaces, media labs, fab labs? Part of the vocabulary will probably disappear, and part of the trend will remain.

But my conviction is elsewhere. Today’s novelty is elesewhere.

These new collaborative spaces link tendencies which for long have been independant: public policies and management, on the one hand. Transformation of societies and transformation of work, on the other hand.

Firstly, I am convinced that the choices … Read more

Meetings in London and Paris

Our RGCS network now gathers 142 international researchers interested in collaborative practices and the tools, spaces and places (e.g. new open spaces, coworking spaces, fab labs, maker spaces, hacker spaces…) expected to host them. It is structured around three chapters in Paris, London and Montreal. Practitioners and managers of third-places are more than welcome to join our debates!

We are pleased to announce the following RGCS events in London and Paris.

In London, our next meeting will be the 8th July, 2.30 PM at the King’s College London (Room G.94). It will include a admin meeting among coordinators, following at 3.30 by a discussion with spaces owners and finishing with a research presentation based on a case study about Impact Hub. A tour of the Trampery Old Street will be also organized the 9th July at 10 AM.

In Paris, two meetings will be organized in September. First, a … Read more