Collaborative working space sparks creativity in Ottawa

Since July 2009, Groupsia has been working in a collaborative working space in downtown Ottawa called The Code Factory. As a small virtual business, Groupsia members Michael Roberts and Dominique Morin had originally intended on working from their individual home offices, however, they soon discovered that face to face interaction and group collaboration was much more conducive to creativity than virtuality Hence, they rented a shared office space at The Code Factory, where they have since been working alongside diverse groups of entrepreneurs and small businesses, feeding off of each other’s knowledge and energy.   

As the founder and owner of The Code Factory, Ian Graham, explains:

“There's a real community element to it. No matter what business you're in, you're always doing something that's tied to everyone else.

“In this kind of workspace there's more intent to get to know the people you're working around. If you introduce those with common interests, everyone can harness the power of the community and others who work on their own. If you have, say, a graphic designer, a programmer and someone developing a new product or service, those people can tap each other's knowledge and possibly work together, he says.”

In this case, Groupsia organizes weakly lunches with all members of the The Code Factory to get people to share their project ideas and get feedback from others around the office. It’s the “wisdom of crowds” concept, as Michael Roberts often refers it to. Getting people of different backgrounds and expertise together to exchange ideas in a very informal way. In fact, new collaborations have sprung out of these informal meetings between Groupsia and another small business renting an office at The Code Factory called Big Blue Button. Big Blue Button co-founders Fred Dixon and Richard Alam are developing an open source web conference tool for distance education and are now collaborating with Groupsia to test out their product by hosting the Bellanet Alliance’s international web conference calls. 

The Code Factory also rents meeting room facilities and hosts daily group events, such as the “Open Source Business Breakfast”, “Team Camp Wordpress” and “Drupal in Government” for example. 

In the last few months, The Code Factory buzz has been spreading in Ottawa and its surrounding areas, and more and more self-employed entrepreneurs are looking for small workspaces that offer the amenities of an office and perks such as networking opportunities. With almost half a million full-time jobs having vanished since last October in Canada (Statistics Canada), many laid-off workers have found it easier to create startups online, and in June alone 37,000 of them turned to self-employment as entrepreneurs and consultants. For many of these new entrepreneurs, collaborative working spaces have become the ideal solution for launching their businesses. Groupsia International is one of these small social enterprises that has since becoming a member of The Code Factory, thrived in its development, confidence and creativity.