Business Trends

Innovation Ecosystem: What is It & Why Your Business Needs It

What is an innovation ecosystem and how does it exactly work in the business world? It has proven to provide great value and success. Read for further details!


There have never been better opportunities in the world for value creation. A business’ capacity in the modern day to leverage technology to assess situations and develop solutions is unparalleled in history. Never have we been at this level of data accumulation and analysis, automation, and communication. Never have we had the opportunity to witness how technologies can scale seamlessly from the smallest startup to immense multinational corporations.


But in order to make full use of how technology has and will continue to drive innovation, we need an environment that prioritizes said innovation – one that does not stifle it. And one that can lead, manage, and network in such a way that we continue to keep moving towards creating better value for customers and clients.


To understand how an environment can be shaped to improve innovation, it’s important to understand the concept of innovation ecosystems.


What is an Innovation Ecosystem? 


Work on innovation ecosystems attempts to identify the factors that influence innovation in a given field (whether it’s an industry, a nation, a city, a region, or even a firm). The sum of these factors is described as an ecosystem.


In ecological science, an ecosystem can be defined as the flow of material and energy – the transit of nutrients between different organisms and their respective life cycles within an environment. Ecosystems also attempt to explain and observe the relationships between living and non-living components within an open system (from small ponds to entire biomes).


The concept of an ecosystem attempts to summarily define all factors contributing to life in a given area. And in much the same way, an innovation ecosystem is an attempt to identify the outside and inside factors that work towards fostering and harnessing ideas and helping them mature into solutions to existing or even unidentified problems.


On a larger scale, an innovation ecosystem attempts to understand and potentially optimize an industry’s capacity for new ideas with tangible usefulness. Depending on the scale, this might include funding, education, and policy changes on a national or regional level, and incremental changes that lead to results over the course of many years.


On a much smaller scale, evaluating a company’s innovation ecosystem, for example, would help a business identify whether their decision-making and management style are optimally conducive towards pulling the best out of their existing employees, while attracting the kind of talent into the business that would continue to breathe life into the industry.


Coworking spaces are a great crucible for innovation, and a showcase of how the individual components of an innovation ecosystem meld together.


The Components of an Innovation Ecosystem


To better understand how to leverage the idea of an innovation ecosystem within a smaller scale like a business or a local industry, it is important to identify the factors that are commonly discussed within various different definitions of an innovation ecosystem.


These are:


      • Actors (the individuals within the system)
      • Activities (from research and development to sales and marketing)
      • Artifacts (products, prototypes, technologies, services, and projects)
      • Institutions (established groups, rules, or policies that set the stage)
      • Relations (the interactions and networking between actors, as well as groups of actors)


Beyond these critical elements exist other important layers, such as the degree to which an ecosystem is collaborative (fostering profitable relationships between separate groups of actors working together) or competitive (wherein the drive to compete fuels innovation between actors), and whether artifacts are being developed either on a complementary level (to build on existing ideas and provide auxiliary products and services) or as substitutes (attempting to replace an existing product or service with something better).


Where innovation is the development of something new or novel to a system, an innovation ecosystem attempts to identify how innovations are made and improve upon existing factors to drive more innovation.



Harnessing Innovation Ecosystems Through Coworking


Just as in nature, innovation ecosystems are not consciously built – they can only be modified or fostered. The ecosystem is already in place, if not within a smaller scale then on a larger scale, often outside of the control of any one business or individual.


Managers and employers are tasked with finetuning the factors that remain within their control to drive innovation within their own ecosystem, whether through hiring methods aimed at attracting the right actors, or through improved relations. In addition, by seeking funding to help fuel activities that may lead to innovation, by changing the way workers are motivated, and by collaborating with other companies capable of providing complementary artifacts.


Coworking spaces are a great example of an innovation ecosystem, particularly its central point: the environment (the institutions) that set the stage for the process. Avoid rigidity, especially in a day and age where innovations are occurring rapidly, and where companies are often encouraged to move with the times – which is to say, very quickly.


Another prolific example is how Apple worked with the music industry and complementary technology companies to develop content for the iPod and iPhone, kickstart the App Store, and dominate the mobile industry in the late 2000s/early 2010s.


By being aware of and recording the factors contributing to the development of a company’s successes, that company can learn to prioritize what is useful, and shed what is not.


Fostering and Enabling Innovation in Your Business


Identify and take control of the factors that contribute to innovation in your industry or company. Leverage what you can to find and promote strong actors. Empower them to focus on the activities that lead to profitable artifacts.


Find ways to cut down on demotivation and disengagement within your own team or company, identify and reward talent and initiative, and be a business that positions itself to attract the best talent in your industry going forward.




At the end of the day, the key goal is to improve a company’s value proposition by identifying all the key factors that go towards creating the products or services that customers want or need. The degree to which contributing factors can be changed or affected differs from situation to situation, based on existing factors and the proposed scale of the innovation ecosystem. But the key factors usually remain the same across all cases.


Business Trends

6 Effective Brainstorming Techniques for Teams

How well are you implementing brainstorming techniques for the team? Not only will this practice most likely produce great ideas, but it will also help bring the team closer together. Read more below.


There are two important rules for successful brainstorming:


        1. Quantity over quality.
        2. It’s critical to emphasize that everyone gets a word in.


With these two basic tenets, most brainstorming techniques naturally follow.


The art of brainstorming successfully is demonstrated best via positive creativity – the goal being that you avoid shutting others down as much as possible, and instead bring new ideas to the table or elaborate upon parts of a concept you enjoy or like. It’s easy to let conversations wander and turn towards nitpicking. Or to get hung up on details that ultimately waste everyone’s time. Yes, everyone knows there are limits on what a company can and cannot achieve. There are budgets and time constraints.


But the goal in a brainstorming session isn’t to spend an hour on three ideas. It’s to get as many ideas out there in half an hour or less, never spending valuable time to criticize an idea, but suggest a new one instead. That is how you get to the ideas that push a business forward. And it’s only then that you begin to ask how and get down to brass tacks.


To cut down on the useless criticism and get to those golden ideas, let’s talk about six effective brainstorming techniques that can help you make the most of your team’s time.


1. Set Your Limitations Aside 


Let’s talk about rapid-fire brainstorming. For this technique, the focus is on speed and diversity. Set aside any notions of complexity or critique. It doesn’t matter if 80 percent of the ideas that are brought to the table in any given brainstorming session end up getting scrapped. The more ideas each individual plows through in a session, the more one’s creative juices get flowing. And the more the focus becomes “what else can I come up with?” rather than “why do I think this idea is bad?”.


Set a quota per person and meet it. Give everyone five to ten minutes to come up with at least half a dozen ideas. Then get everyone to present them succinctly and quickly. This leaves no time for anyone to get caught up on any one idea. If an idea is a bad idea, the person presenting it can quickly move to their next one.


If it’s a good idea, everyone takes notes and things keep moving. It’s easy to circle back to the best of the bunch after everyone’s gotten their ideas off their chest. This also keeps things from revolving entirely around the thoughts and opinions of just a handful of creatives in the room.


2. Follow the “Yes, And” Rule


Some people call this “mind mapping”, but it’s essentially a technique based on elaborating upon an idea with improvements or sub-ideas that aim to take the original concept and elevate it.


Based on improv comedy’s golden rule of saying “yes, and” to any development in the skit, the idea here is to avoid hitting a creative dead-end by accepting all changes and simply organically moving from one suggestion to the next. Rather stopping at an idea that isn’t perfect. If there’s something wrong with a suggestion, take your opportunity to amend or workshop it. Evolve the idea. Improve it.


3. Don’t Get Stuck & Be Fast


Another important technique in brainstorming is forced succinctness. When emphasizing that everyone gets a shot at improving an idea or coming up with their suggestion, it’s important not to find yourself spending an inordinate amount of time on a single person’s vision.


There’s no doubt that some ideas are better fleshed out than others, but encourage everyone to provide an attractive “elevator pitch” of their idea rather than present an entire plan off the bat.


Require team members to come up with ways to explain the most useful or engaging parts of their idea. And when it’s circled back to at another stage in the planning process, they can find ways to extrapolate on it. And take in suggestions to improve it further.



4. Get Visual


Visualization is an important technique in brainstorming to get certain ideas across to others in a quick and fast fashion. A picture can be a thousand words (or more). And it doesn’t need to be objectively well-done or have any sort of artistic merit to serve its purpose.


When relying on visualization, encourage team members to either prepare visual aids for their brainstorming ideas or simply sketch certain parts and processes of their ideas on a paper or whiteboard. This technique further elaborates on the idea that speed is important in brainstorming. By cutting down on unnecessary explanation where a visual medium can help provide a much clearer picture.


5. Include Everyone


There are two great techniques for involving everyone in the brainstorming session. The first is a basic round-robin, giving everyone a set amount of time to present their idea, as discussed previously. The other is the stepladder technique, which manages how team members get involved in decision making and are ideal for smaller groups.


The stepladder technique relies on a core of creative powerhouses (usually just two people) discussing ideas in a room together while the rest of the team brainstorms on their own. A third member is brought into the room to present their idea first, and then they hear about what has already been addressed, and how their idea might contribute. Then a fourth member enters, presenting their idea, listening to what’s been talked about, and so on.


For teams of twenty or more, this type of brainstorming is relatively unrealistic, and can easily take all day. But smaller creative teams can benefit greatly from this technique. It forces the ever-growing group to listen to a person’s ideas without them having been influenced by what’s already been discussed and deliberated (i.e. groupthink).


6. Brainstorming Online 


Learning to brainstorm over the internet is especially important for businesses working remotely from home. In addition to out of coworking spaces, and other workspaces.


Any of the techniques above can be adapted into virtual brainstorming via an array of digital tools. This includes teleconferencing software and collaborative editing software, but it still takes a little practice to get used to brainstorming outside of physical space. You can let team members join the call one-by-one to simulate a stepladder decision-making process. Or give everyone a few minutes to present their ideas round-robin style and use a variety of software to aid in explaining and presenting your ideas and suggestions.




Brainstorming doesn’t need to be difficult or frustrating. It can be extremely fruitful with a little bit of cooperation and a focus on the core tenets of swift, expedient presentation and improvisation. Avoid getting hung up on the details, and move from idea to idea, taking notes as you go along.


Business Trends

The Importance of Virtual Skills Training for Both Employees and Management

Virtual skills training for both employees and management is critical now more than ever. But also, we live in a world, where technology continues to play a vital role to help gain success.  Read below for detailing insights on this important subject.


We live in a day and age where technology rapidly evolves on a regular basis, best practices are constantly changing and shifting, and systems are undergoing daily optimization and frequent alteration.


A formal education is no longer as valuable as it once was, and even tech giants like Google, IBM, and Apple seek out individuals with exceptional flexibility, creativity, and adaptive intelligence, rather than academic accolades. Many are looking towards virtual skills training as an alternative to emphasize a continued education.


Workers today must make it a habit not just to absorb the basics, but to spend their entire careers evolving and contributing to a world that is never again going to sit still.


For employees, this means staying on the cutting edge. For management, this means investing in the means to help employees continue to learn long after school has ended.


Technology is Always Moving 


It must be said that the rapid expansion of technology throughout our daily lives in the Information age has successfully integrated with every industry on the planet. Countless businesses rely on cloud technology, VOIP, a consumer internet, the ubiquity of the smartphone, and the expansive use of big data collection and complex algorithms.


As businesses are encouraged to continue the integration of new technologies, employers must look towards efficient and cheap ways of getting their workers up to speed quickly. Most businesses do not have the luxury of hiring in-house instructors, organizing training manuals, printing and sending out entire volumes of instructions on a monthly or annual basis, and planning seminars to keep employees up to spec. Things have to move faster to match the pace of the world we live in. That is where virtual skills training becomes critical.


Skill Sets are Changing


Regardless of whether you run an SME or have a managerial role within a larger corporation, virtual skills training is relevant across industries. Whenever a new technological paradigm shift presents itself, businesses – small and large – scramble to adapt and outdo the competition, taking advantage of better, faster, more reliable services in order to attract greater audiences, improve their share of the market, and invest in the future.


But if a business moves forward without taking its employees with it, it is setting itself up for failure. Training programs must be swiftly rolled out to help workers catch up and integrate new technologies into their daily processes. Whether it’s something as simple as a software change, or something far more fundamental, such as switching delivery methods, streamlining into a totally digital business, or expanding vertically at a rapid pace.


Workers Aren’t Ready


In 2019, a study by SHRM Research revealed that 83 percent of responding managers had trouble finding the right talent for their business within the last 12 months. Over a third of respondents explained that this was because they didn’t have the technical skills needed for the job.


This is a recurring problem in several different industries: a lack of upskilling, wherein many companies are finding themselves trying to meet the ever-growing demands of modernization without investing in resources to help existing and new employees learn the skills necessary to perform their tasks, after their formal education has ended.


Let’s face it; while education is important, it’s just as difficult for schools to stay on the cutting edge, and curriculums cannot be updated as swiftly as technologies evolve. Many in the workforce today are too busy or lack the resources needed to acquire new skills and must rely on management to help bridge the gap between yesterday and tomorrow.


Furthermore, many older workers suffer the most under a lack of effective training or poor training, and one in four American workers believes that they lack the technical skills necessary to perform the job they already have.


How can virtual skills training address these issues?



Distance Nullified


The first big problem when trying to create a training program to scale to the needs of today’s workforce is that you just can’t get to everyone. The experts needed to compile, write, and disseminate these training programs exist, but they can’t be in all places at once.


Virtual skills training completely eliminates this real world problem by taking things into the virtual space. This is by connecting via VOIP, cloud editing tools, and online classrooms. Experts and coaches around the world can help businesses leverage existing technologies to educate workers on existing and upcoming tools.  And thus, help them become more valuable and effective workers.


Lowered Costs


Aside from cutting short on distance, virtual skills training cuts down on cost. It is estimated that virtual instructor-led training cuts down on training costs by as much as 70 percent in some cases.


Of course, at a reduced cost, businesses might appear more eager to begin overtraining their workforce, but trying to push workers to complete too many tasks at once will backfire just as much.


Yes, effective and useful virtual training can considerably improve employee satisfaction. Many workers value training because it gives them greater career options and allows them to play a greater role in the company.


Swifter Implementation


It’s fairly clear to readers at this point that hard skills change fast, and workers need to be up-to-speed on matters of data accumulation and processing, artificial intelligence, VR, and other emerging technologies that are becoming relevant in many different industries. However, it isn’t just the hard skills that are changing.


Those in the front-end and customer-facing parts of the industry must also learn how current technological leaps are affecting business, in order to help answer customer queries and offer actual solutions to recurring problems.


Furthermore, as automation continues to take humans out of the equation in simple, repetitive tasks, workers must learn to leverage that which separates them from the machines – their humanity – to better serve customers and coordinate with management. To keep up with this, training programs need to take place, which virtual skills training enables.


Virtual Training is Not Easy to Implement


Yes, virtual skills training is more effective than video or text-based learning materials, because it connects employees to knowledgeable instructors who can answer questions, clear confusion, and offer better guidance than normal reading or viewing material could. However, it is not always easy to implement.


Not every business has the infrastructure to begin implementing online training for every employee. There are also types of training that are far more effective when given in the real-world, rather than over video or VR.


Instructors train several people at once, which means they cannot always spend a disproportionate time trying to provide unique teaching styles to address every employee’s needs. Technical problems can cause delays in training, from losing internet access to a downed server.


Businesses must be aware of these issues and work on addressing them to get the most out of virtual skills training, and help their employees be the best they can be.


Office Space

Traditional Office vs. Shared Office: Which is Right for You?

When looking for office rental space, there are different options to choose from including traditional office space vs. shared, or co-working space. But, which one is right for you?


Shared offices (or coworking spaces) are growing at a rapid pace, filling an important niche that traditional office spaces can’t, and offering a service that is quite obviously in dire demand. The forecasted growth for coworking spaces appears to be huge, and there are plenty of other markets overseas where coworking has only just begun to catch on.


However, that doesn’t mean that the coworking model will replace the traditional private office. Rather, it’s important to recognize the two as very different, and both equally necessary. Yet when looking for a space to grow your own enterprise, it’s important to ask yourself to choose, and pick your best option. Whether that’s a coworking space/shared office or a traditional office depends on a number of different factors.


1. Needs and Commitment


The first thing to consider is how far you are willing to commit to your enterprise. While it’s important to believe in your work, not all teams or projects need to last for years. If what you need is a space to work with a small team in a collaborative effort for no longer than a few months, a shared office is your best bet.


The economics are very important here – upfront, as well as in the immediate future, a shared office or coworking space will often be far more economical than a traditional office in the same neighborhood. But if you’re in it for the long haul and already have a small business that has become relatively stable with solid prospects for the next five years, then it may be worth looking into a space of your own.


While the benefits of coworking spaces are overwhelming for small businesses, they’re also mostly short-term – if this is something you have the means to invest in and the intention to commit towards, then looking for affordable and valuable office space can be helpful.


      • If, however, your business is little more than an idea, then a traditional office may simply be too much. Most office spaces lease for no fewer than three years, which can be both costly and difficult to justify on an unproven business.
      • Shared offices and coworking spaces usually let you make use of their space on a monthly basis. Much like a gym membership, you can choose whether to renew every month. While some coworking spaces do call for slightly longer commitments, of upwards of three months, they’re often the exception.


2. Options for Amenities and Utilities


A traditional office space may or may not come with its own furniture, but you aren’t likely to find any workstations, printers, or other equipment already installed by the time you first lease the space.


That means investing significantly in setting up your own office, getting the backbone of the operation going, not to mention the layout, branding, design, decoration, and art. For larger companies with an established clientele, a bigger team, and serious capital, all of these initial investments might not be too difficult to swing and can net some significant potential for growth.


However, if you’re still a young company or are in the process of building your business, these are all costs you can do without. Coworking spaces come prepared with several amenities, workstations, and utilities.


Workers can bring their laptops and share communal equipment such as printers and coffee machines. Furniture often accommodates a large variety of different work arrangements, from workers who prefer their own space, to small groups sitting around a coffee table, to large teams tackling a new project in a big meeting or conference room.


3. Creating and Preserving Workplace Culture


One of the benefits of having your own office space is that you control the design and layout of the office, and as manager, you can control the office culture. Office culture accounts for a number of things, including:


      • How your workers behave
      • What is and isn’t appropriate
      • How morale is boosted at work


Consider your office’s culture the culmination of its personality, the sum of everyone working together, displaying their strengths independently yet also contributing to a greater total.


Office culture can be a good thing, or it can be a bad thing. When managed properly, a workspace can develop a positive culture that greatly impacts worker productivity by keeping workers happy and motivated. When managed poorly, an office culture can contribute towards acts of bullying, intimidation, burnout, and a high turnover.


Coworking spaces generally have a positive workspace culture, as it’s their purpose to attract many companies and independent workers, yet this might not always mesh or vibe with your organization.



4. Learning from Coworking


At the end of the day, even though the coworking model won’t replace private offices entirely, its popularity still serves to help inform many office managers and business owners on how better to design their offices in order to take advantage of the factors in coworking spaces that promote productivity and worker contentment.


There’s a lot to learn from the design of these spaces, from approaching the office as a more worker-centric environment that doesn’t focus on hierarchies or management control, to providing a greater degree of freedom on where and when to work, as well as how and where to take breaks.


From a variety of amenities to a more lax and open environment to help encourage communication and cooperation, these spaces help workers:


      • Better flex their creative muscles
      • Mingle with others
      • Still find quiet spaces to withdraw when it’s time to call upon an inner focus and concentrate on the task at hand


So, Shared or Traditional Office Space?

Shared offices do their best to be appealing spaces to work in. To heavily advertise their function as a communal space for work and cooperation, they generalize and try to home in on a non-specific, community-driven work culture.


Private offices have the luxury of developing their own work culture, but companies must be wary of developing a culture that promotes gatekeeping or ranking.


A lack of inclusivity can push newcomers away and keep them from fully unleashing their potential, simply because they aren’t interested in going through a harsh welcoming period before finally being a part of something bigger.


In coworking spaces, workers immediately feel welcomed into a larger group, and can start immediately working with others to develop new projects and discover new ideas. An environment that encourages newer employees to open up and be enthusiastic about their work is far healthier than a toxic environment.


Common Questions About Office Rentals

1. What is the difference between traditional and shared offices?

Traditional private offices typically have a longer lease term, usually no less than three years while our shared offices can be rented on a monthly basis.

2. Which type of office is best for you?

This depends on many factors including: economical and financial factors, needs and commitment, necessary amenities and utilities, workplace culture and more.

3. Does The Collection offer both types of office?

Yes, we offer monthly-lease terms along with traditional creative offices.

The Collection offers a variety of both monthly office rentals and traditional office space. If you are looking for a place to grow your business, contact us today!

Work Environment


Los Angeles is a unique city that can help businesses boom. Here are some of the least well-known facts about our favorite city.

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