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Finding the unique value for a co-working and collaboration hub

Qualitative research

Co-creation workshops

When competition is growing, it’s critical to focus on what you, and you alone, provide. What’s your unique value?

It’s not an easy question for any organization to precisely answer. Yet, we knew it was central to figuring out how Minneapolis/St. Paul chapter of Impact Hub could increase engagement and broaden their offerings. We wanted to get to the core of who they were and how they connected with their members. And ultimately, their unique value was also their competitive advantage, so we dug in.

External forces, internal uncertainty

In 2019, the Impact Hub-MSP team was ready to start a new chapter in its history after facing a perfect storm of factors. Internally, they had relocated, changed leadership, and dealt with inconsistent member engagement. Externally, increasing competition from other co-working spaces and the rise of remote and virtual working arrangements was fierce. That’s a lot!

Amidst all the change, the team didn’t know what current members most wanted from their membership. Was it access to a community focused on social change? Just a place to work that wasn’t their kitchen table? Networking connections? Startup support? The reality was that Impact Hub had all of this available, but we had to help identify what was meaningful to current and even new members.

Fathom knew what to do. We went straight to the source and had one-on-one deep-dive interviews with both new and long-standing members. Carefully curated questions and conversations helped us go beyond the answers to understand the human needs at play.

Envisioning new ways to engage

We learned that while engagement numbers were decreasing, members were actually craving more connection with each other. Connections and community with like-minded people were central to why members looked to Impact Hub over any other co-working or professional associations. We pin-pointed their unique need, now deepening how the organization could actually satisfy that need was next.

We wondered, if members were there for community, why not bring all those like-minded people together to design where that community is headed? So, we facilitated a co-creation session with staff and members to envision new ways people could engage with the organization, and with each other. Coming out of the sessions, several new offerings took shape that refined what was possible into what was meaningful.

The collaboration was so effective, Impact Hub formed a Member Council to regularly connect and gather feedback from their core base. That was a key to long-term relevance and connection, and was their way to keep their finger on the pulse of their value into the future.