In-House Coworking Space as a New Initiative Towards Businnes Model Innovation in Incumbent Firms

A Case Study on Motivation, Knowledge Sharing and Collaboration


  • Kathrine Friis-Holm Egfjord Roskilde University



Purpose:A new collaboration form between incumbent firms and startups has emerged, with incumbents hosting coworking spaces in-house to innovate their business models. This paper aimsto investigate what motivates the startups to participate in the coworking space, how knowledge transfer and collaboration take place and how the role of the incumbent was perceived.

Design:A case study was performed in an in-house coworking space based on 17 semi-structured interviews with the startups.

Findings:Findings uncovered that physical, social and professional conditions were important for the startups. Generally, there was a good physical framework. Being a part of a larger community with “colleagues” and the possibility of participating in professional activities were beneficial. This promoted knowledge sharing, sparring and collaboration between the startups. Ongoing activities to support this were requested. The majority of the startups expressed interest in collaboration with the incumbent, but only few had currently established it.

Value:It was perceived, that both the startups and the incumbent possessed knowledge and resources which could be valuable for both parts. However, it was not experienced that the incumbent clarified how the startups could fit into their business. Thus, an untapped potential for collaboration seemed to be present. Ideally, the present constellation represents an engagement form with both economic, social, professional and cultural capitals. It could be a promising solution, if the incumbent is ready for radical business model innovation.