Coworking and innovation

Nutrion is fortunate to contribute research in the field of innovation and coworking by adapting the concept of third places by Ray Oldenburg to Joseph Schumpeter’s understanding of innovation as establishing new goods. The concepts show coworking can significantly enrich and accelerate the evaluation of opportunities for new goods, resulting in innovation.


The research was first published in the book Coworking als Revolution der Arbeitswelt, published by Prof. Dr. Simon Werther in 2021.

Innovation and inspiration in third places

According to the theories of Ray Oldenburg, third places are locations of meeting and chatting. Typically, restaurants, beer gardens or coffee shops are mentioned. These places tend to attract a community of citizens that meet for chats and discussion. Thus, for Oldenburg a third place is the beginning of democratic spirit and association of people with different backgrounds.

Discussion and exchange with other people of other backgrounds and professions is indeed the main activity of third places and sets them apart from homes (first places) and specialized workplaces (second places). Thus news, rumors and new developments in the town are likely to be first discussed in third places. 

Coworking between second and third places

Coworking spaces can be seen as having some characteristics of third places like an environment for discussion, networking, and exchange with other people. Of course, coworking spaces are workplaces that include a rather small section of the knowledge society. You will rarely find a blacksmith or a farmer working in a coworking space. Therefore, discussion of news, rumors and new developments are likely to be less pluralistic than Ray Oldenburg had in mind. 

Coworking and innovation

The discussions in coworking spaces tend to have a certain entrepreneurial perspective and are driven by the experiences of the people working in the knowledge society. But this framing gives them a greater chance to address what matters most for innovation: the evaluation of ideas before they go to market. As Joseph Schumpeter states, the question of innovation is the establishment of a new product or service in the market, not so much development or research. Thus, the entrepreneurial background and the experience in new markets can enrich and accelerate the process of innovation. Coworking locations can be seen as hotspots of the new and places to evaluate innovation. 

Fachbuch: Coworking als Revolution der Arbeitswelt

You can find further information on the book Coworking als Revolution der Arbeitswelt, published by Prof. Dr. Simon Werther, on the Springer Books website