New Needs Require New Spaces: The Multifactory Model – Test, Phases, and Applications

New Needs Require New Spaces: The Multifactory Model – Test, Phases, and Applications

Copyright: © 2019 |Pages: 35
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-7089-9.ch006
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The chapter focuses on the multifactory model, its evolution, and a step-by-step guide to building a multifactory. The first part of the chapter will present the reasons that led the authors to the decision to elaborate a model for a co-manufacturing space, the main features that characterize a multifactory, the key points of the multifactory model, and a description of the salient elements that have characterized Bigmagma, the development environment of the multifactory model. The second part presents the result of the evolutionary path of the model, presenting the subdivision into phases and macrophases of the intervention model and describing the first complete experience of application of the multifactory model, R84 Multifactory Mantua.
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Why A Model

Vision without systems thinking ends up painting lovely pictures of the future with no deep understanding of the forces that must be mastered to move from here to there. Peter Senge (2006)

During the first phase of the on-field research, the authors got in contact with shared workspaces that hadn’t been developed following an existing model, a defined path. They were based on assumptions coming from some previous experience of the coordinators or initiators, and almost totally made on a trial and error basis. People belonging to different shared workspaces never met each other and didn’t know anything about other similar projects. So, it was somehow surprising to discover that the shared workspaces faced the same problems and they presented many similarities in structure, organization and governance. Moreover, also the self-perception of people involved in different shared workspaces is very similar, as is the overall ethical point of view.

Focardi and Salati (2015) point out that “None of the spaces included in the research wrote anything about their experience, and they never theorized anything on their intervention scheme. Sometimes they have some theoretical refer- ence models coming from the US, but these models were completely changed as the socio-economical environment is radically different. As a matter of fact, all of the analyzed Multifactories are managing their growth by themselves, as if they have no idea that there are other similar places to compare with.” And they also underline that “it was also clear that the lack of reference models leads the spaces to carry forward their own projects on a trial and error basis, so a systemization of these experiences and the development of a coherent model should have been very helpful to support the establishment of new ones, especially because places similar to the eight included in the research are in project or under construction, or open to the public every month, and a unifying intellectual framework could help their development.”

Senge underlines that “personal vision, by itself, is not the key to releasing the energy of the creative process. The key is “creative tension,” the tension between vision and reality. The most effective people are those who can “hold” their vision while remaining committed to seeing current reality clearly.” All the spaces visited during the research tried to reach this balance between the visionary prospect of a future where human and professional relations are based on exchange and sharing and a present where economic operators can apply these principles concretely and at the same time be able to operate in highly competitive markets.

Sharing a vision and objectives is the basis, but it cannot be enough. Senge points out that “a shared vision is not an idea. It is not even an important idea such as freedom. It is, rather, a force in people’s hearts, a force of impressive power. It may be inspired by an idea, but once it goes further—if it is compelling enough to acquire the support of more than one person—then it is no longer an abstraction. It is palpable. People begin to see it as if it exists. Few, if any, forces in human affairs are as powerful as shared vision. At its simplest level, a shared vision is the answer to the question, “What do we want to create?” Just as personal visions are pictures or images people carry in their heads and hearts, so too are shared visions pictures that people throughout an organization carry.”

The keystone, therefore, lies in the organisational structure, which is the framework capable of making the shared vision of a group of people effective. The authors focused on those characteristics that could help to start, run and develop a comanufacturing space, run as a community project and highly heterogeneous in terms of members composition. The authors first defined a Model to describe the structure of a multifactory, taking from the observed shared workspaces the main elements in terms of governance, organization and composition, and then developed and tested the Intervention Model, a step by step guide to help in the construction of a multifactory from scratch and to support its development.

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