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CUBIS - A concept for the dynamic use of meeting and work spaces

CUBIS

Cubis is the result of Davids and mine Bachelor thesis. It is a concept for a browser-based application that supports users in the booking of meeting rooms and providers in managing their office space. In an ever more dynamic working environment, this enables optimal utilization of meeting rooms and workspaces.
The application takes into account the individual requirements of coworking spaces and startup hubs by allowing a high degree of customization by the provider. The focus of the project is on meeting rooms in Coworking Spaces. However, the concept can be adapted to all types of facilities.


The Coworking Trend

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Status and Evolution

Coworking is becoming increasingly popular with entrepreneurs and the self-employed. In the last five years, the number of coworking spaces in Germany has quintupled to over 500. In 2019, a German coworking space will have 68 members on average (13% more than in 2018). The more members a coworking space has, the more economically it generally works.

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The Challenge

The current usage rate of German spaces of 50% on average is alarming. Only every fourth space writes green numbers. More than half of the operating costs are incurred for renting the Spaces. To make more profit, coworking spaces have to increase their usage. In the course of this increase in usage, the existing spaces are stressed far more than is currently the case. Therefore, it is important to use the available work space as efficiently as possible without compromising the working atmosphere in the coworking spaces.


Research

During our market research we came across a variety of so-called workplace management tools. A selection of the most noteworthy solutions is listed here:
Robin powered Rooms
teem
Condeco
meetingroomapp
joan

Room Types

In order to gain a better understanding of the spaces we design for, we have intensively studied various types of spaces.
Our main goal was to find out what different types of rooms there are and how they are used.


Meeting Rooms
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The classic meeting room for 6-16 people. These are usually equipped with a large table, chairs, a large screen or beamer and a whiteboard or flipchart. These rooms are usually used for confidential meetings, meetings with customers or investors, other formal meetings, presentations or team meetings.

Team Rooms
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Team rooms are usually more comfortable than meeting rooms and can vary greatly in size depending on the team and space. They are not as formal as meeting rooms and therefore unsuitable for most investors or client meetings. The furnishing of the rooms is usually more flexible and can be adapted to the occasion. However, since these rooms are mostly used for concept or creative work, most of them contain whiteboards and/or flipcharts.

Working Rooms
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The category workspaces includes offices, focus and shared desk rooms. In these rooms the main part of the work in the Spaces takes place. They are hardly ever used for meetings, as the atmosphere and space is designed for productivity. They would also disturb other team members at work.

Social Space
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Social spaces have only emerged in recent years. They are centrally located in the Spaces and cannot be booked or reserved. Usually they are open and house a coffee machine and/or a kitchen. They are often equipped with a mix of different seating arrangements and do not have screens or other media. A "chaotic exchange" takes place at these places. This means that members meet by chance and talk about topics that have not been determined before. These spaces can also be used for non-confidential or casual meetings or breaks.

Dialogue Space
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Dialogue Spaces are rooms that are intended solely for meetings. Huddle rooms and dialogue and telephone boxes fall into this category. These rooms are often small and only equipped with the bare essentials. These rooms are designed for the most efficient exchange between a small number of people.

Coworking
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Coworking rooms, sometimes also called desk spaces, are used by self-employed people for focused work and networking. Individual workstations cannot be reserved for this purpose. All tables are open to the public. Tables may not be reserved. whoever arrives first owns the workplace.


Meeting Types

We categorized all meeting formats known to us into three main categories:

1. Update Meeting

(This includes all meetings where the purpose is to keep up to date or to coordinate)
• One-on-Ones, Jour-Fixe, Kick-Off, Feedback- and Presentation Meeting.

2. Feedback Meeting

(Meetings in which a specific topic is discussed, all participants interact with each other and develop appropriate solutions or obtain input.)
• Brainstormings, Workshops, Design Methods or Teambuilding, etc. But also the classic "Let's talk about XY composition" meetings belong to this.

3. Decission Meeting

(The last category of meetings is all about making a decision. In these meetings nothing more is to be worked out, but there is a clear selection of possible approaches and the team and/or management must decide on one of them.)


Interviews

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To better understand the current meeting and workspace situation, we conducted a series of qualitative interviews. Target groups were coworking spaces and start-up hubs in the stuttgart area. Interesting was the great diversity of the individual spaces, as well as the differences in approach to room bookings.


Ideation

Digital Innovation Board – Explore

In order to manifest the collected results of the research, we used a framework specially developed by the "Dark Horse Company" - the Innovation Board. This board was published in the "Digital Innovation Playbook", which was also developed by the "Dark Horse Company". The Innovation Board was our hard drive for the most important data, facts and ideas. Design Thinking, Lean, BMC and Co. The Digital Innovation Board is a remix of the best that the wide field of user-centered design has to offer. The Innovation Board helps to translate this mix of theory into practical results. The Digital Innovation Board (DIB) is divided into two categories, each with four "playing fields". After successfully completing the two categories, it is possible to receive an output with "How might we" questions.

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Mini Sprints
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To generate different ideas and approaches as quickly as possible, we have made short idea sprints. For these we first looked for a question and then worked on it. These questions were based on the "How Might We's". Afterwards, we defined further parameters, such as the situation in which the use case should take place and who should play along. Then, independently of each other, we both tried to present a solution approach in the form of a small storyboard in 12 minutes. We then presented these solutions to each other, discussed the pros and cons and noted down the insights we gained from the respective story. In this way we were able to generate many different ideas. Due to the time pressure we were forced not to question so much while doing it. Similar to Crazy Eight we were forced to sketch out a rather outlandish idea due to lack of time. But these " strange ideas", turned out to be useful later on when we took a closer look at them. Some of the insights we generated from these sprints we could finally use for the final concept.


Mission Statement

"Modular platform that gives providers insight into the use of their offered space and supports users in booking rooms to ensure a more efficient use of coworking spaces and startup hubs."


Our Concept

The findings of our research were clear:
- We have to develop a product that is as flexible as possible to adapt to the conditions of coworking spaces and startup hubs in our user group. This can be ensured by offering a "core product" that is of interest to all providers and provides clear added value compared to the status quo.

Core Functions
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The focus here is on a booking process that should make users book the most suitable room for their upcoming meeting. This is made possible by a query, via simple parameters, which the user either already knows or is given, depending on his level of knowledge. This way, inefficient occupancy of rooms can be avoided. Via the facility management, the provider has the possibility, as with a CMS system, to structure the service according to his wishes (create rooms, services and hardware lending) and to adapt the styling to the CI of his space.
The core is completed with:
• Participant information, which is helpful when planning meetings.
• A room overview, which gives an overview of all rooms of a particular Space.
• A feedback channel, which improves communication between providers and users.
• User statistics, which provide an interesting insight when booking rooms and thus guarantee a more efficient use of the rooms.
• Rights management, which allows e.g. start-up teams to distribute insights into meetings and roles.

Sitemap
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A sitemap is a file that lists individual web pages of a website. On the basis of a hierarchically structured presentation with the corresponding link structures, we were able to obtain a more concrete picture of a meaningful structure of the web app. On the following page you can see the sitemap of our tool. Please note that the website is divided according to the user who accesses it. Since some rooms of the Space can also be booked by external users, there are differences in presentation and structure. The full scope of the web app is only available to members of a Space.

Navigation
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Navigation is one of the central elements of any application. It determines how the user navigates through the individual parts of an application and also determines to a certain extent how the content of the application is structured. The position of the navigation also has a great influence on the content. Depending on where it is positioned, the aspect ratio of the remaining space on the screen changes. This could be counteracted if the navigation is folded or disappears in some areas of the application. However, such dynamic navigation can also confuse the user. In the following, we will take a look at our approach and the different types of navigation we have looked at in the course of our research.


Implementation

Modularity

Cubis consists of modules that can be flexibly arranged in a grid. Many of the modules can be adjusted, shown or hidden. This ensures that the displayed content can always be adapted to the room. The provider decides which information he wants to share and what fits best to his space. Due to this structure, the application can be adapted to all possible types of spaces.

Filter

Hence Cubis can suggest the right room for the user's appointment, the user specifies what he needs the room for and when the appointment should take place. Based on this information, the system recommends a suitable room that is available at the desired/required time. The user is supported in this process by Cubis with tips and suggestions, so that new and inexperienced users can also use the application without any difficulties.

Equipment

If the Spaces offers it, the booking of additional media and services can be integrated into the process.

Invitation

Once the right room has been found, Cubis can be used to create an invitation. The user has the option to generate an information website for the appointment. To do this, he chooses from different information modules from which the website is created. When writing the invitation e-mail, the user is also intelligently supported by the system through interactive templates and form delivery suggestions.


Custom Designs

Cubis can not only be adapted to the content of the different Spaces. It is also possible to customize the design to fit the space. It is for example, possible to change between a light and a dark design, to adapt the font of the headings or to change the highlight color. So each space can reflect its identity in Cubis.


Digital Door Sign

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Outlook

At its core, Cubis is a web app for managing and booking rooms. However, it is conceivable to extend this core with various software and hardware add-ons. New software modules or hardware, such as digital door signs or room sensors, are conceivable. Other linked services, such as a platform for meeting content planning, a blog on the topic of meetings or billing software, would also be feasible.

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