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Newsletter #1063: The “Shared Space” Issue

[Welcome back to the Damn, I Wish I’d Thought of That! newsletter. This is text of the great issue all of our email subscribers just received. Sign yourself up using the handy form on the right.]

Space is a highly valued commodity that most businesses have. And often, when you share it with another group, cool things happen like collaboration and resource sharing.

Here are three shared spaces that make their organizations more remarkable:

1. Pre-schools and nursing homes
2. Movie rentals and pizza
3. Laundromats and libraries
4. Check it out: Library of Babel

1. Pre-schools and nursing homes

In Seattle, a nursing home and a pre-school share the same space at the Inter-Generational Learning Center. The kids and the elderly hang out, read together, do activities, and make crafts. The nursing home residents love being around the fun, energetic kids, and the kids get a chance to interact with and learn from seniors. And since both parties need a safe space and supervision, the combination works out for caretakers too.

The lesson: The very young and the very old have more in common than you would think. What other unlikely groups could benefit from one another’s company?

Learn more: Collective Evolution

2. Movie rentals and pizza

It’s a tough world out there for movie rental stores. But some have gotten creative and forged partnerships to keep customers coming back. For example, Family Video locations are often next door to Marco’s Pizza, so they’ve added a window inside the video stores to the pizza shop. Customers can order a pizza when they get there, and by the time they finally decide what to rent, their pizza is ready.

The lesson: Marco’s and Family Video know their customers, and they know people like to eat pizza on movie night. They just helped their customers skip a step and get both at the same time.

Learn more: Imgur

3. Laundromats and libraries

A group of people from Oxford University came up with an idea for parents in South Africa who spend an average of nine hours a week doing laundry over a washboard to spend that time reading with their children instead. How? By creating an affordable laundromat that’s also a library. Customers at these “Libromats” spend laundry time reading with their children and learning about “book sharing” from the trained staff while washing machines do the work. Within just a few weeks of coming to the libromats, children have improved language, concentration, and social understanding, according to the researchers.

The lesson: The team says they chose laundromats because they fit conveniently into the parents’ lives, and it gives them a chance to work with them every week. Libromat found a way to fit their learning program into something that would help make their customers’ lives easier.

Learn more: NPR

4. Check it out: Library of Babel

The Library of Babel is a site containing every possible permutation of 1,312,000 characters. In theory, that means it contains every book, play, song, and every word every written — and while most of it will look like gibberish, you might stumble on something great. You can browse, search for something, or start with a random work of writing.

Check it out: Library of Babel

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  1. Richard E Tucker December 30, 2015 at 6:11 am #

    A couple of shared space experiences that I’ve had personally – I’ve rented a desk inside of a bigger business, it required some trust (on their behalf) but meant I got a fully serviced office experience without the cost, and they got some pocket money. Perhaps a better example – many years ago I ran a restaurant delivery business that only operated at night, we hired an office that was used during the day by another business – at 5pm we turned up, just as they were going home (well most of them anyway!).

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