Posts Tagged ‘CoCo’



June 4, 2013

Although I made note of these encouraging signs, it took the arrival of the Summer Issue of “thirty two”  for me to understand that a transformation was indeed happening.  A featured article, “The Next New Economy” by Jessica Conrad began with this:

If there has ever been such a thing as a silver lining to the economic crisis, it may be this:  As we dig ourselves out of the recession, we are also building the stepping stones for a new economic paradigm, where trust is the new currency and sharing is more attractive than ownership.  Jessica Conrad explores the rise of a global phenomenon in the Twin Cities.

To set the stage, Conrad described two new sharable phenomenons  in Minneapolis-both of which I am familiar with, use and support:  Nice Ride bikes and HOURCAR.  Conrad thinks the fact that Avis  purchased  a similar service, ZIPCAR,  shows that the rental car industry recognizes the viability of car sharing.   People want the sharing option.  In fact, a national consumer study commissioned by Campbell Mithun found that 60% of respondents find the concept of sharing appealing; and 71% who already use “sharable” goods expect to continue.

And with that, my interest peaked, I read on to learn more:

The sharing economy leverages the power of on line social networks and smartphones to provide a new way for old business models to thrive…people all over are sharing, lending, trading, bartering, and swapping goods  via peer-to-peer exchanges instead of owning them.  And in doing so, we have created a cultural shift that builds trust among strangers….”And it’s an economic revolution where access has become more important, and more fashionable, than ownership” 

You are not convinced yet?  Think Time-shares and Netflex!.  As I continued to read, I was reminded of more examples….SOFIA,  an online platform for social education….The Mayo Clinic  as a pioneer in social education and I also  learned  about a whole new list of national and international examples that have been experimenting with this concept. 

I added Rachel Botsman’s TED Talk on “The Rise of Collaborative Consumption” to my to-do list, and learned of a new service in Minneapolis: “Heroic” -an online platform for free recommendations. I enjoyed the author’s take on CoCo being driven by not only a tough economy, but also a more ecologically minded population and a desire for stronger community.  A creative city-making concept I learned when I participated in Plan It Hennepin was mentioned as part of the Starling Project on University/Central Corridor Light Rail; I was happy to read that appealing to owners of vacant properties  to consider short-term leases  for artists and others  is working not only on Hennepin Avenue and in Whittier Neighborhood, but has now been applied to spaces on the Central Corridor.

Familiar with some of the examples given, it was easy for me to see this as a growing trend; however, I took note when Conrad tied the trend to both community creation and the creation of staggering wealth.  “Forbes actually estimates that people will earn more than $3.5 billion this year through the sharing economy, with growth exceeding 25 percent.” 

That is a significant contribution!  Add to that, a declining supply of natural resources and an exploding population, and I concur with Conrad that it is more important than ever “to find new solutions for curbing the waste inherent in modern consumerism.”

There is much more “food for thought” put forth in the article as it continued.  Check it out-more details at  Perhaps, like me, you will concur with the author’s closing remarks:  “It’s encouraging to see entrepreneurs embrace the new model and drive innovation because they…believe that we can’t afford not to try.”





The Millennials

October 27, 2012

Yesterday, the STRIB Business Section featured Coco as the “office” of the future. The accompanying photo caught its “visual” essence superbly; but only if you stop in for a visit, does one catch the positive vibe! I’ve mentioned in the past how much I admire the concept and rennovated space; in fact, if I was not sitting in my home office (read: free space) only 3-4 blocks away, I’d like to think I’d be composing this from there!

However, I think the article focus conveyed a more important message:…the Millennial workforce and the changes they are bringing to the business world.

I have aired some thoughts on this in my August 30 blog, and again last week, I mentioned an inspiring “breakfast with a Preservationist” meeting led by a panel of the “Under 30s”.

Nevertheless, I think Don Jacobson nailed it in his article featuring Coco and why it is appealing to the Millennials. It is because, these Millennials, like the transitional early Boomers, have a very different view ofthe world in which they find themselves…and are clamouring for change. No one my age can honestly say they cannot relate, so my suggestion is we hang on, listen and learn!!

Ponder on these comments by Jacobson and the message from Thomas Fisher, Dean of UM College of Design to a gathering of commercial building owners :

That highly covered corner office may just be more passe than powerful.

Thanks to profound social and economic changes brought on by the Internet, millennials are reshaping the so-called office. They want to do away with the hierarchiacal layouts of the past and build collaborative spaces where they can rub elbows with clients and colleagues.

Millennials…see privacy as a negative…by 2025, “the office” as we know it will probably be gone.

How they use space flips what we have today: Most of an office will be open, flexible and fluid in its use, with only occasional need for private space.

The transformative power of the the Internet on how young workers will do their jobs, has, if anything, been underestimated.

…millennials preferences for live-work hybrid spaces that combine not only apartments and offices, but also small manufacturing functions….

Yes, this paradigm shift poses challenges and threatens city zoning codes, but we cannot rigidly hold on to the past if we want to succeed as a country in present times.

For the millenials, the office space isn’t necessarily a place to do work, it’s a place to network. It’s a place to be with other people and generate as much creative activity as possible.

The audience was also cautioned that places of work within 15 years will need to be accessible by bicycle and mass transit. Firsher cautioned the audience that “If you’re only accessible by car, you’re going to find people starting to look elsewhere.”

These comments so reinforce what I have been observing and commenting on. My regret? I won’t live long enough to see where this generation ultimately steers our world-and I know that will be a bold new world led by Americans fueled by innovation and collaboration and not restricted by the rules and regs we Boomers have adjusted to…that created the stalled and divisive state in which Americans live today.