These new value networks need virtual and physical locations in which to meet and collaborate. The office as we know it is gone. The traditional school, library, and meeting centers will follow.
We need new physical locations, located at new geographical spots, where people can meet, work, exchange information, and more. Organizations today have to rely on powerful, and above all, inspirational encounters around the workspace. This needs to occur not only with colleagues, but with everybody who is connected with the organization, itself. These encounters help us to create a sustainable value network around the organization, and that is what makes the Organization 3.0 future proof.
But, how do we find other relevant people within our organization, and how do we connect?
That is why Seats2meet.com invented “The Serendipity Machine,” a conscious contradiction. On top of any physical location, the transformational expierence is augmented by a branded real-time virtual dashboard, showing the people present, including their knowledge and expertise, and is enriched with social media buzz and local information. In this way, coworking and meeting other people at physical locations can become unexpectedly relevant, useful, and a new way to connect and form new ways of collaboration – serendipitously. Almost like a machine…
Seats2meet.com has a good reputation when it comes to connecting people. We operate a number of physical environments where people really experience, virtually triggered, serendipitous encounters, share knowledge, and form new ways to collaborate. Special transactional features, like capacity control and yield management, are, of course, incorporated in our systems, but we have also made sure that people get really engaged with organizations and each other. We use the techniques of gamification to trigger people to connect to new people. You can challenge each other on the leader boards, which really shows your participation in the network of your organization. Checking in on the Serendipity Machine can be done easily and quickly, simply with one of the existing social accounts.
Our formula offers venues for coworking, meetings, and collaboration between knowmads and traditional organizations on their way to Society 3.0. A super hub and spoke network of physical coworking, office, and meeting locations in which, besides dedicated venues, even individual coworking places in 3rd party office buildings (belonging to companies who believe it is an asset to welcome outsiders within their walls) are opening for participation.
Our meeting rooms and office spaces are booked by regular cooperate clients and knowmads who pay a fee per seat used (and not per room), where pricing is based on a sophisticated yield management system.
For knowmads who just want a place to work, meet, and connect with others, we offer coworking spaces, Wi-Fi, beverages, and even an occasional lunch, free of charge (in old monetary terms). “Free” means, however “no free lunch”: upon reservation, the bookers/co-workers tell the system, thus the entire S2M network, what topics he/she is working on, where his/her interests lay, and more. This way, the booker commits him/herself to the network: he/she is available for unexpected meetings, and may be called upon by traditional clients in the meeting rooms to share their expertise and knowledge. Payment by knowmads is, therefore, done by means of social capital and this capital is visualized on the Serendipity Machine. As traditional organizations in transition are renting regular meeting rooms still pay per seat in traditional Euros, we have created a monetary system linking traditional and social capital.
On top of every physical Seats2meet.com location, there is more virtuality. When a physical meeting room is booked through the S2M online booking system, a virtual meeting space is generated automatically and linked to the group of people attending that meeting, training session, or conference. This service is offered in close cooperation with the Helsinki-based company, Meetin.gs. These virtual meeting rooms or classrooms are used to interconnect participants up front, to communicate with participants before and after the physical session, and to communicate organizational details around that meeting.
With these software systems, we enable our stakeholders to collaborate in real time within the Social Economic Entities of the world of Society 3.0. In blurring these virtual and physical products, services, and logistic components around our physical locations, we have created an organization in, what Pine & Korn name in their latest book, Infinite Possibility (2011) “The 3rd Space: The digital frontier, lying at the intersection of digital technology and offering innovation, beckons companies seeking to create new customer value by mining its rich veins of possibility… But by far the greatest value will come from those innovations that create third spaces that fuse the real and the virtual.”
This 3rd Space enables us at Seats2meet.com to offer a unique, tailor-made experience, with a serendipitous educational element, to all our stakeholders. Experiences at Seats2meet.com locations become transformations, in line with Pine & Gilmore’s theory of “Progression of Economic Value” (The Experience Economy, 2011), where “Transformations” are the subsequent drivers of value creation after the traditional experiences.
Research by the Rotterdam School of Management in the Seats2meet.com Mesh supports that “many people at S2m actively engage in interaction with other coworkers and that the payoffs are manifold. Not only does working at S2m increase their social network, it helps also to develop people’s skills and improves their products and services. These personal business outcomes are then followed by concrete business outcomes such as collaborating on a project or targeting prospects together. Even finding new jobs and assignments are not uncommon outcomes.”
We, as an organization, get back a lot. The return is immense. Our stakeholders appreciate our products and services tremendously, and help us to position Seats2meet.com on the “free agents” Mesh. They create an enormous flow of buzz on the web (we used to call that PR in the old days); they feed us with tips, reviews, knowledge, and their time (that used to be called marketing); and actively promote us to other knowmads and to corporate and governmental organizations (that used to be called sales). Whenever they have real business, they book their training and meeting rooms at Seats2meet.com locations without asking for a discount. So, at Seats2meet.com, we no longer have a PR, sales, or marketing and reservation department. How do you think that works out for our operational costs? And the still growing army of fans who do our commercial activities is staggering.
With (potential) coworking operators worldwide, we now share our coworking reservation and yield management system, the property management software, and operational knowledge (partially free) through a special program called Myowns2m.com. In The Netherlands alone, we have grown this way within 3 years, from 1 location to over 70 locations, while internationally, we are on the brink of making the same waves.
We are also selling, using the freemium business model, our software like The Serendipity Machine, the S2m Event Software, our Publishing Tool and our Coworking S2M location software are all available to 3rd parties, so we create nice additional money streams from our Mesh.