By Anna Sekula Posted December 8, 2011, 9:00 AM EST
The recession and recent technological developments have given rise to an increasing number of professionals relying on communal workspaces, cloud computing, and mobile devices, which in turn provides brands a whole new community to tap into. For Hewlett-Packard, the coworking center New Work City supplies an ideal environment—an incubator of sorts—to interact with and get feedback from small business owners and workers. The new partnership forged between the two organizations kicked off Tuesday night with an open networking and demo reception at New Work City's TriBeCa space, where members of the center could check out new printers and scanners, and speak directly to HP executives.
“As the workspace evolves, at HP we have to keep stock of how you're using our products, where you're using them, and what you're printing,” said George Alonso, director of marketing for inkjet business platforms and for Web services for small and medium businesses at the 72-year-old computer and printer company. Most important, however, with the collaboration between HP and New Work City, as well as the low-key event itself, was that it wasn't a sales pitch, he said. ”We're not here to sell. We're here, first of all, to help the community with the problems they've been having, but secondly to learn off of what we did with them and pour that back into [product development].”
Indeed, this strategy is a big part of how HP plans to take its inkjet printers out of the home, the traditional market segment for the products, and into the small businesses. “We want to continually keep learning—what we got right, what didn't we get right,” Alonso said. “So partnerships in communities like this really help us to progress that along faster than we would in a regular lab environment. We say, we have to fail and we have to fail fast. I need to know that a product's not going to work before I get it out on the market, because my problem is when I get it to market and it doesn't work.”