If we look at hub-like spaces today that bring people and ideas together, such as café’s and pubs, the thing that makes these spaces important is the architecture of them. It is a space where people get together from different backgrounds, different fields of expertise, and share. They are spaces where, as Matt Ridley talked about, “ideas could have sex”. A cool fact is that an astonishing number of innovations from the 17th century in England have a coffeehouse or pub somewhere in their story.
According to innovation researcher and writer Steve Johnson, ideas don’t just appear as “eureka” moments, they need time to develop and connect with other people’s hunches and opinions to grow further. He started calling it the “liquid network,” where you have lots of different ideas that are together, different backgrounds, different interests, jostling with each other, bouncing off each other – that environment is, in fact, the environment that leads to innovation.
If we look at an environment that could be perfect for this on a more international level, we could start looking at hotels. Instead of café’s and pubs, hotels have the ability to create a steady influx of new, talented people from different disciplines and backgrounds. Most café’s and pubs have a clear goal of having people mingle and ideas or social connections flow freely. If we look at hotels nowadays, they are the most highly underutilized spaces where talented people from all over the world could have the great possibility of mingling. With Zoku, we’d like to start that.
Check out this inspiring TED talk by Steve Johnson about “where good ideas come from” for a deeper exploration: