The Need For Collaboration Space In Chicago

By Mike Maddaloni on Wednesday, March 25, 2009 at 07:55 AM with 8 comments

Over the weekend it came to me – there is a need for collaboration and networking space in Chicago. Two things came into my field of vision to that were unexpected and probably coincidental, but led me to this conclusion. Let me explain, and tell me if you agree.

The Need for a New likemind Location

Lunch Rolls window signAs my family was walking home from brunch at Lou Mitchell’s, we walked by The Spa Cafe on Monroe Street, where just a few days earlier on Friday was the monthly likemind meetup. There were people coming in and out of there though it is closed on Sunday. Then I noticed The Spa Cafe is no longer; the signage now read Lunch Rolls. The restaurant and cafe changed its concept over the weekend, as well as its hours, and opens at 10 am, which is about the time likemind ends. Of course I wish this locally-owned business all the success in the city.

Now we need a new place to meet once a month for likemind. The ideal location would be in the Loop or close-by, and a space where about a dozen or so people can meet and talk… and of course have a cup of coffee. The Spa Cafe was ideal as it was in the Loop and a locally-owned business, but we can be flexible. Any suggestions are encouraged and very welcome.

The Need for Space Beyond a Monthly Coffee

As I was catching up on reading blogs this weekend, I saw this one from Micki Krimmel about seeking a space to work and collaborate with others, calling it Operation Nerd Immersion. Then it hit me, we need this here in Chicago as well as they do in LA. Where networking events are awesome, it is the time in between them where the real activity – dare I say magic – happens.

Office Space For Rent window signThere’s no shortage of available space in Chicago, as seen by signs all around the city. But in the traditional model, you make a long-term commitment to X amount of space for yourself or your company. Sure there are virtual offices where you can rent much smaller spaces, but again, it is with some consistency. What about a scenario where it is almost ad hoc, where you go to your collaboration space a few times a week, or whenever it is best appropriate, to either work alone and feed off others or to collaborate with colleagues?

Think about this for a bit. For myself, I could use such a space once or twice a week at most. For others who are traveling through Chicago, it could be their office away from their office. Some may even decide to be there every day. And I am not talking for free. People can pay by the day or month. As for the space itself, it could be anything from an empty office to a large conference room in an existing office. What company couldn’t use a few grand a month for unused space?

So I put this out there to the tech and creative community of Chicago. Perhaps the folks at the Chicago Tech Report or WindyBits could pass this along to others? Maybe folks like Jeff Pulver and Justin Chen who are in Chicago on occasion have a thought as to if this would work? Or maybe people who are more connected than me like Liz Strauss, Jason Jacobsohn, Daniel Honigman or even Ron May could chime in? Am I onto something here, or is this just a half-baked thought?

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