With an increase in alternative forms of work, people are not longer limited to traditional office spaces. The aim for a healthier integration of life and work is encouraged by experimenting with new technologies. As a product of this experiments, coworking spaces are spreading through the urban centres. But our way of dealing with work is still marked by our corporative past.
This project aims to explore how can the coworking spaces occupy a more meaningful role by connecting people with their interests and generating new partnerships. My interest is to unveil the social rules of the space and turn interactions between coworkers easier and more useful.
The result is the use of interaction design as a bridge between humans - coworkers and the space management realised by the host - and clarifying the role of intelligent systems and data generated from the environment.
Inspiration and Method
The main assumption of this project was that perceiving a shared workplace as more than just space for rent would create a stronger local community. To support this goal, the investigation was divided into exploration and conceptualisation.
During the Exploration phase, the focus was generally the future of work, collecting impressions from remote ethnographic studies to understand the day of a coworker and trends review. Prototyping became the way of interfering with the environment and put early concepts to proof and to understand the complexity of some approaches.
The Ideation phase incorporated concepts registered during three groups sessions with coworkers at a conference. A conversational interface became a great method of creating a third place where both groups could collaborate. In order to define the tone of voice of the AI, a wizard-of-oz experiment took place for 2 working days to identify what motivates us to interact with this modality of interface.
Marco is a service composed by an artificial intelligence, sensors and a digital platform to create a better working space. The service can be considered the physical manifestation of a group mind: it can not only facilitate conversations but learn when, how and what people around it like to talk about.
For the host, Marco helps by monitoring the stress levels and minimising the amount of practical tasks required to maintain a nice space. For current and potential coworkers, Marco also helps to discover the most interesting space to work. When arriving at the space, the assistant can help with small errands, clarifying rules of the space, bonding with other coworkers and keeping a nice environment in exchange for points that lead to discounts.
Learning from the behaviours and struggles from both hosts and coworkers, the service highlights the goals and personalities of people working at that space and uses them as an attractive quality for people seeking for the coworking space that suits them the most.