A few days ago I spoke with Ronald van den Hoff about his extremely innovative concept for promoting encounters and exchange of value among professionals, called the Serendipity Machine.
Magpie Geese in Serendip Sanctuary - CC-by-nc Fir0002/Flagstaffotos
seats2meet.com is a coworking and meeting space with a twist. Companies can book a meeting space with a fully variable cost structure where you pay for the number of participant times the duration of the meeting, but the 3.0 innovation is not this one. The incredible social innovation is that professionals who use the coworking space book it and pay with their social capital, that is they declare which are their skills and knowledge they are willing to share with the other professionals like them, and they pay with this currency by being available to consultations from the others. No money involved!
This social capital currency is the grease that makes value flow freely among people in the coworking space and ultimately creates value for everybody. Ronald calls seats2meet the Serendipity Machine, a “machine” that allows, promotes and facilitates serendipitous encounters, a catalyst for serendipitous encounters. Now that the machine is working and shows it’s not just a dream but a true social innovation, Ronald is taking it to the next level.
Every seats2meet.com coworking space at any moment reflects the total social capital of the people currently at that location, so that people can choose the location they want to be not only for its location (there are 59 seats2meet.com locations in the NL) but also according to the skills and knowledge they need to reach at that particular time. Reversing this concept, the coworking space acquires a particular connotation depending on the people who normally attends it, and this makes for a great innovation opportunity for companies: what if a company hosted a seats2meet location at their premises, which were frequented by people in the company’s knowledge domain?
A seats2meet within a company has the real possibility to become a fertile ground for a company, to nurture innovation in an open innovation context and facilitate the emergence of innovative concepts and ideas. Now it’s the turn of companies to show if this is a (business?) model they could be interested in!