Friday, December 11, 2020

Coffee shop innovation

Mr. Andrews and Chelsea Lensing at Coe College are working on another study, about the importance of coffee shops to innovation.

Looking at the expansion of Starbucks from its base in Seattle starting in the 1980s, their preliminary results suggest that patenting activity increased when Starbucks came to town. The same happened when Dunkin’ Donuts, Peet’s Coffee and other chains arrived (*)

Yes, of course, there is the counterpoint: There are many cases of the lonely genius. Although, you might ask, how many of them are quietly doing their thing at a coffee shop?

But more often than not, the informal mixing of disparate ideas, a propensity for a bit of risk taking, and a forgiving professional environment are the ingredients for innovative ideas that take off.

If you don't have it, build it

Don't have a coffee shop nearby? Maybe that's step one: build a coffee shop. And, then build in the relevant policies that allow for "flexible time" at the shop. You might even build it on your premises ... many do.


(*) From the New York Times, November 3, 2020

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