photo: Chris Doss Photography

By Pete Bacevice
Many cool things have been “popping up” lately in DEGW’s New York office.  After writing about “pop up businesses” and “organizational agility” in recent blog posts, we decided to get some first hand exposure to these trends by importing some if it to our space.

We partnered with Teknion to create a “pop-up” interactive zone in our space to serve as a gathering spot and focal point for our recent office open house.  With an RSVP list of nearly 100 people, we wanted to see how quickly our office could be transformed from a workplace to a social venue.  With only a few weeks of lead time, Teknion designed, shipped, and assembled a lounge seating system specifically for this event.  We are continuing to pilot this system for different events and uses, and we will post updates to this blog in the near future.

Later that week, we hosted a second event in our “pop-up” space.  This event featured a lunchtime discussion with Charlie Maddock, director of business development for a local start-up venture called Shapeways.  Shapeways supports independent artists, product designers, and other creative types by providing on-demand 3-D printing services.  If you are unfamiliar with the concept of 3-D printing, check out this Core 77 image gallery featuring objects created by artists using 3-D printing technology.

An interesting take-away from our recent interactions with Teknion and Shapeways is in the way that value is created through on-demand work.  While “pop up” businesses such as food carts, art galleries, and retail stores leverage variations in consumer demand* and the permutations of micro-markets**, a growing network of businesses support these fluid ventures and the entrepreneurs behind them.  The way that Shapeways supports an independent artist who needs to quickly fabricate an on-demand prototype iPad case design actually mirrors the local coworking community that supports independent entrepreneurs with on-demand meeting space for an important client meeting.  Likewise, businesses like Liquid Space and Loose Cubes help broker deals between ad-hoc organizations in need of workspace and organizations that have surplus space to provide.

In short, work is increasingly fragmented because opportunities quickly come and go in this economy characterized by technologically mediated and compressed innovation cycles, as well as by an accelerated rate of creative destruction.  Consequently, a constellation of agile organizations continues to redefine the competitive landscape in this economy.

* I just learned that one of my favorite Brooklyn soup counters is only a seasonal business and is now transformed to an ice cream shop for the spring/summer months

** Think about how textbook resellers set up tents on college campuses during finals week to buy back student textbooks