A Move: Offices to an Open-Concept Space

There have been many changes taking place at Genesis as of late. Of these changes, the two most significant are the rebranding and the move into our new home, The Emera Innovation Exchange (at Memorial University’s new Signal Hill Campus). Behind the scenes, there has been another key change which is only noticeable from the inside of Genesis; the switch from having segregated office space for each company and Genesis staff, to an open-concept space.

Most of the technology start-ups in Genesis Enterprise, our flagship 3 year incubator program, work out of our office space and joined us in our move this past fall. The shift into an open environment was huge for everyone. Because of the significance of the change, I spoke to both Genesis staff and companies to get their thoughts on the new adjustment.

Genesis’ new open-concept space at the Grand Opening, Fall 2018

Genesis’ new open-concept space at the Grand Opening, Fall 2018

Fytics is one of Genesis’ largest companies in the incubator right now with a staff of 16 people. They develop inventory management systems for restaurant and bar owners. Since Fytics is so big, I asked their Ambassador of Buzz, Robyn Budgell for her thoughts on the move. In her own words, Robyn thinks the move is great! “It's nice to be able to see what people from other companies are up to, in the old space you didn't really see anyone outside your own office.” However, Robyn saw some disadvantages as well, especially when it came to the noise difference that comes with an open space compared to a traditional office, “it can get very loud in here when people are making phone calls in a big room.”

I also spoke to Genesis’ own Liam Flanagan, Start-Up Development Coordinator to get his thoughts on the move. Liam, like Robyn, thinks the new space is an improvement. “I’ve seen people from different floors meet to discuss issues in their code, or trouble with their PCBs (or Printed Circuit Boards if you aren’t a techy like Liam). It’s been awesome to see this form of collaboration really start up in this environment, regardless of how clichéd it might sound.”

If you’re still reading, you must be wondering how a bunch of companies working on secret projects or industry disrupting tech can work so closely together? This can be credited to the strict confidentiality policies that have been adopted at Genesis. Liam himself was worried about such a thing. “One thing that was important to me in the move to an open office environment was a need to keep a sharper eye on privacy. So I introduced a game where if a Genesis staff member leaves their computer unlocked, I send an embarrassing message to the rest of the team to discourage it, and it seems to be working so far.” I can attest to Liam’s method based on my own paranoia from whenever I leave my computer.

All in all, the new space has been great. Even the addition of natural light in the office makes a difference in how people work and feel every day. Considering the brief timeline, the benefits of working in a shared space have been quite clear. I look forward to seeing how much further Genesis can go in its new home!

·         Learn more about our new space here

·         Learn more about the history of our new space here

By: Nicholas Pinsent | Venture Support Intern

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