I attended a workshop by Shared learning Collaborative in Chicago held at a location called 1871. I have never seen anything like this incredibly cool space. The first thing you see when you walk in is a 143’ curved, colored, glass wall that is a gigantic marker board used for mind-mapping and visual brainstorming. Aside from that, group work areas are scattered all over the remaining 50,000 square feet. The space is totally flexible…walls and furniture can be arranged in any configuration. There is a long sleek kitchen, and along the north side is a wall of windows lined with couches and comfortable chairs with an amazing city view. It just felt energizing and innovative. This place supports the kind of thing that changes the world…connection and collaboration…shared ideas and passion…the melding of hearts and minds, in a word: creation. Although 1871 is used for digital start-ups, the idea behind this: a space lending itself to innovation, collaboration, connection, and creation…is a universal need. I can imagine a teachers’ lounge or school conference room with a wall painted with Idea Paint, and seating that is flexible. A place in and of itself can either encourage or discourage collaboration.
1871 opened May 2, 2012, and this is from the 1871 website: “1871—(1) catalyzing moment in Chicago history, when the most brilliant engineers, architects and inventors came together to build a new city; (2) where Chicago’s brightest digital designers, engineers and entrepreneurs are shaping new technologies, disrupting old business models and resetting the boundaries of what’s possible.”
Wow. What an amazing way to work…in every industry.