Collaboration of digital businesses challenges the future of the firm

Digital businesses are increasingly setting up shop in tech hubs or shared workspaces – the merits of the Sharp Project, Pie Factory and Media:City were all discussed at length at the recent BVCA Digital Age event held in Manchester.

Much of these initiatives are aimed at providing cost effective office premises for those fledging businesses which might not otherwise be able to afford a ‘normal’ office space plus they often have access to state-of-the-art technology and superspeed broadband access.

The merits of such initiatives have been well publicised but less so is the potential importance of housing these businesses under one roof and, more importantly, what the potential for collaboration might mean for future business structures?

What if small businesses seize the opportunity to network and co-create on projects? What if micro digital businesses pull together as deep specialists to provide best of breed combined solutions to beat off the competition provided by larger established agencies? If digital businesses really can collaborate seamlessly to beat the bigger boys then might this mean that the importance of separate firms or company structures becomes less important to the point that the concept of the firm starts to dissolve?

If so, would this be a step forward?  What do you think? Could digital businesses lead us into a new era for the way we do business in the 21st Century?

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