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Alex Hillman

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EP11 – Thriving, the psychology of belonging, and what makes a sense of community

16 Feb 2015
by Alex Hillman

The science behind the feeling that everybody wants but only successful coworking spaces truly understand

So we’ve all heard about the “sense of community” that people refer to about the best coworking spaces.

But…what exactly IS a sense of community?

What are the elements? How do you know if it’s there? Is it even something you can create, and if so, how?

I’ve been excited to share this interview since it was scheduled back in January!

I interviewed two research scientists – Peter Bacevice and Lyndon Garrett – from the Center for Positive Organizations at the University of Michigan.

Their work has been published by the university but also by Time magazine!

Pete and Lyndon are behind a series of studies to try to understand the source of a sense of community, and to find answers to some of the more counterintuitive results that coworking is able to deliver. In this interview, these two shared a TON of valuable insights about what really brings people together in our communities, and suggest some reliably consistent patterns that can help ANY coworking space create a more valuable sense of connection for their members.

Their research included did a mix of survey research and immersive ethnography, actually embedding in and observing a Coworking community in action…which is where the most valuable insights came from.

We talk about the difference between working and thriving at work, the importance of choice, the need for “flashes” of community and even how a sense of community emerges at different stages of desire for community. Seriously amazing stuff to help shape all of our work and our members’ experiences.

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Hey, thanks for reading!

Alex Hillman I am always thinking about the intersection of people, relationships, trust and business. I founded Indy Hall in 2006, making us one of oldest fully independent coworking communities in the world. This site is packed with the lessons and examples I’ve learned along the way. You can find me on Twitter, too! 🐦 Say hi.