Media Evolution City – fostering community through shared office space

On Jun 7, 2022 our class was given the opportunity to visit Media Evolution City, a space for the non-profit enterprise where earnings go back to the member organization. Upon arriving, we were greeted by the business developer for Media Evolution, Pernilla Lavensson who shared that they are an innovative center and community for digital and creative agencies located in Malmo, the southern region of Sweden. Referred to as a “house,” Media Evolution City brings those involved together, pairing a focus on growth through collaboration and knowledge exchange. With 100 companies, organizations, and universities on-site, companies are able to organize conferences and run meetings in the shared space. Others can also join the membership without having a regularly occupied physical space. There are open spaces and large meeting rooms that can be rented for a discount. Key factors include flexibility with simple and low thresholds, helping to cut costs.

In 2010, they established an international conference called “The Conference,” to put Malmo on the digital world map in order to generate growth in the region, while also emphasizing collaboration as the future of business. Pernilla is very passionate about the company, what they stand for, and their growth. She shared that while remote work and digitalization is where we are moving in a positive way, she also believes that the human experience is better in-person, which the conference underlines through carefully curated sessions followed by networking parties.

Our class also had the opportunity to tour some of the offices and meeting rooms. Many office spaces had sliding doors, and very little use of curtains or privacy film. Upon arriving you can sense the openness of the working culture at Media Evolution. Another fascinating detail was the step up to some of the offices, so that desk and computer workspaces would be at eye-level if someone were to stop by. This allows you to see the person across from you, as they believe that you should not look at anyone down or up, rather, you should see members from an eye-level.

We also got a glimpse of a book called “Work is a four-letter word” which was written with the intention to inspire and give tools to aspiring space-makers, sharing what they have learned and will keep doing to hold a successful community. We were also lucky enough to have the opportunity to briefly meet the CEO of Media Evolution, Magnus Thure Nilsson, who shared a bit about their bridge expansion that will flip the backyard to be the entrance, and connect more spaces.

Next to “Max & Friends”

After our company visit, we had a better understanding of the culture, and how great it differs from many perspectives in the United States. Media Evolution essentially practices a blue ocean strategy, where they do not see competitors as a threat but rather a partner, and the term “competitor” is used more sparingly. Media Evolutions also refers to everyone as members, which feels a bit more personalized. Their set up is a similar to WeWork, but fosters a community rather than simply utilizing spaces next to each other, something that the United States might benefit from in busy cities that have shifted to remote and are looking to cut costs.