Lessons From Jelly#3 – How The Layout Of The Space Dictates “The Vibe”
One of the initial triggers that led to the blog post, Why are there no Coworking Spaces In Long Island?, and eventually into our growing bi-weekly Jelly event, was the book Emergence – The Story of the Centre for Social Innovation.
Part 1 – Emergence – The Story of The Centre for Social Innovation
Part 2 – Rigour – How To Create World-Changing Spaces
Part 3 – Proof – How Shared Spaces Are Changing The World
Having read all three books now, one of the concepts I found most fascinating (especially after yesterday) came from Part 2 – Rigour.
The most important thing to remember is that you are not just creating a physical space – you are creating a social, environmental, and psychological space too. Each of these elements deserves careful and deliberate “curating“ to achieve the vision and goals you have set.
Yesterday’s Jelly was held at the Citibank Conference/Breakout Room, generously donated by Citibank and RXR Realty. As I’ve probably said a hundred times already, “the space was awesome!” We had a huge U-shaped conference table, a big area with couches, private bathrooms and more…the perfect space to aspire to when we are ready to move to a permanent space.
Anyway, as yesterday’s event went on, I was not the only one to realize that the vibe was not quite as energetic as the previous Jelly. While I heard from several folks they were able to get a lot of work done during the day, something was a little off. I even heard the word “library” thrown around a couple of times.
Around 3:30 PM, several of us in attendance gathered outside the work area to discuss the days event, and how we could improve things for Jelly #4.
Larry Reiter, President at EcoEnergy Consulting and Supply Corp, wins the prize for the most insightful post-event feedback. He noted that u-shaped configuration/formal layout of the work area was the culprit for not encouraging as much interaction as there could have been. After thinking about the layout of the room in our previous Jelly, Larry was 100% right.
In our previous location, we made a concerted effort to randomize how the tables were laid out. As a result, people felt much more comfortable walking around the room and interacting with others in attendance. The U-shaped conference configuration tended to limit the interaction in the workspace to only those who were seated right next to each other. Larry’s point was highlighted further during lunchtime where several of the attendees sat together at a rectangular cafeteria table and the conversation flowed much more readily.
While we easily could have adjusted the layout mid-stream yesterday, I am kind of glad we didn’t as it taught us an important lesson about how much the space dictates the overall vibe of the room.
On the positive side, some of the other issues we had during our first two events were non-factors, and most importantly, we added several interesting and passionate members to our growing Long Island Jelly community.
If you’re a Long Island solopreneur, start-up, freelancer or small business and want to work alongside other passionate folks “fighting the fight”, our next Jelly is for you.
Spaces are filling quickly and there is only room for 25 people. To RSVP please click here.
Image Source: Part 2 – Rigour – How To Create World-Changing Spaces