03:11 - Source: CNN
Hybrid space stimulates innovation

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Story highlights

Brooklyn Boulders Somerville is a Boston-based collaborative workspace

Rock climbing and yoga are available alongside traditional tables for working

Its co-founders are planning to open a third location in Chicago following its success in New York and Somerville

CNN  — 

In rock climbing, it’s all about making it to the top - and in business, it’s no different. At Brooklyn Boulders Somerville, the two worlds collide. The company’s co-founders Lance Pinn and Jesse Levin talk to Smart Business about how an active collaborative workspace can stimulate innovation and creativity.

CNN: How did you come up with the idea to combine physicality into the workspace?

Jesse Levin: There isn’t a space that really exists like the active collaborative workspace and the true benefit for people is the mixed modality, the multi-dimensionality experience. So it’s not just an office space, coming in to kind of work on their idea. It’s not just a rock climbing gym, it’s not just a café, it’s all of these things wrapped into one. People really just do things differently, really want to have a different type of experience.

So we designed a place for them to come in and if they’re freelancers, if they’re coders, or they’re entrepreneurs; they can come in here, they can sit down on a yoga ball and do sit-ups and work at their desk or they can stand at a stand up desk and do pull ups and jam on their spread sheets and also go for a climb, take a yoga class, sit in the sauna, grab a coffee, check out the street art on the wall; you name it.

CNN: The company’s first facility was in New York. What made you choose Somerville, Boston as your second location?

JL: In Somerville we really brought the creative entrepreneurial aspect to the forefront. And climbing unlike any other sport really attracts an incredibly diverse sub-set of people. You have artists, you have yogis, you have foodies, you have entrepreneurs, you have coders. It’s a very cerebral and strategic practice. And we really wanted to kind of help people identify and have a really extroverted social experience. We layered in entrepreneurship, build, art, music and culture and really kind of created this project around the notion that physicality stimulates innovation and creativity.

CNN: You’re setting up a third space in Chicago. How do you think people will respond to it?

JL: Because a space like this and a concept like this doesn’t exist, people didn’t really quite understand or know how to best utilize it, what to expect and nor did we for that matter. And that’s ok, it was an experiment and continues to be an experiment with our community and our team. Some people definitely come in here and spend their entire day working out of the space. They figure out how to use it and they make it work for themselves.

CNN: What separates Brooklyn Boulders Somerville from competing workspaces?

JL: We’ll never compete in the collaborative workspace traditional environment, that’s not who we are, that’s not what we’re trying to do. We’re really trying to experiment in a way where people can blur the lines between work, life, and play, as we like to say. In ways that they’ve never done it before. And the active collaborative workspace is simply one facet of that.