Joining a collaborative space: is it really a better place to work?

Ignasi Capdevila (PSB Paris School of Business (Chair NewPIC), Paris, France)

Journal of Business Strategy

ISSN: 0275-6668

Publication date: 15 April 2019



Collaborative spaces such as Fab Labs, Living Labs, coworking spaces, hackerspaces, makerspaces, etc. are localized spaces that offer open access to resources. The purpose of this paper is to explain what motivates participants in such spaces, according to different innovation logics.


The paper is based on qualitative studies of 43 collaborative spaces in Paris and Barcelona.


This paper proposes a typology of different collaborative spaces to understand what motivates their participants. The classification is based on the innovation approach of each type of space: methods and techniques of ideation, social innovation, open innovation and user-driven innovation.

Research limitations/implications

The classification of collaborative spaces clearly identifies different innovation approaches. However, it might result to be too simplistic and may not represent all spaces under the same denomination.

Practical implications

This paper provides some guidelines for managers who run or intend to open a collaborative space. In bottom-up innovation modes, to increase the commitment of the participants, managers should provide the tools and resources needed to successfully achieve the goals of the members’ projects. In top-down innovation modes, managers should rather focus on designing an attractive and rewarding process of ideation.


This paper contributes to the understanding of collaborative spaces; it shows that participants’ engagement is related to the nature of the innovation activities that take place in collaborative spaces, and it compares different types of spaces to explain their differences and similarities.



Ignasi Capdevila (2019) "Joining a collaborative space: is it really a better place to work?", Journal of Business Strategy, Vol. 40 No. 2, pp. 14-21

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