Third space: a Beanissimo mindset
Bart Van Langendonck
It was a cosy Moroccan restaurant where we met to wrap up an exhausting but equally fulfilling year at Beanmachine. In 2016 we expanded our team firmly, frequented far more organizations than ever before delivering state of the art interventions. We invested a significant amount of time and budget in our machinery (both digital and tangible tooling). And Kim, our beloved Bean Counter, just confirmed us a break even result for 2016 (even estimating a small profit). 2016 went exactly as planned…except maybe for what we would call ‘third space’.

“Good evening, gentlemen, a drink to celebrate the past year?“ Definitely! In 2016 Beanmachine developed an incredible amount of energy and intervention power. Beanmachine being no longer just the 3 of us, up and about 15 Beans now joined our cooperation. Together we succeeded in turning Beanmachine into a real brand through the tools we build and the state-of-the-art projects we run. We get noticed! We are invited to talk at conferences instead of having to present ourselves. Interesting new clients sometimes find us quicker than we find them.

However success came with a price we did not expect.  Only a few weeks earlier all Beans gathered on a 2-day offsite, sharing 2016 experiences. What struck us in some stories, is how Beans sometimes feel… lonely. How could this be?! Everyone at Beanmachine truly believes in the collective mindset, in the power of collaboration. In fact, being connected is what we constantly advise to our clients. So how come we ourselves appear to neglect our very own vision? Is this the trap of being a seasoned consultant? Is this the alfa-male muscling for rank?

First, second and third space  

Beans can attend to several co-working initiatives and dispose of the newest collaboration apps, but it shouldn’t surprise that a new habitat alone doesn’t kill old habits. Jan suggested we should be thinking about investing in a kind of ‘third space’.

Second space is where Beans are dedicated to their clients going the extra mile in serving their needs. It is what we love, what we are good at, and we put a lot of energy in it. Nevertheless our very first space off course is where we all try to be a good husband or wife, parent, sister or brother, friend, neighbour,… Again we stretch ourselves. Looking at the first two you would think there is no third space left. But although endangered, there is. And it is a pure energy booster.

We know for a fact that every Bean has his own third space. Take for instance Joeri preparing his weekly soccer training for the kids, or Koen and Katrien running their miles, Gunter shoveling in his garden, Takis going berserk at concerts, Hans and his handicrafts, Jan and Geert cycling, Bart volunteering, Kim cooking, … No obligations, no deadlines, pure quality time. What if this kind of space would also exist on an organizational level and thus become a shared third space? And what if organizations would dare to make third space equally important as second space?


How would such a space look like? A big smile on all 3 our faces appeared. Not just because of the delicious couscous that had just been served, but because one specific Bean highlight in 2016 immediately came to mind. It was called Beannissmo. Last day of the summer holiday and not just Beans but also their families were invited to a charming place with this huge and adorable garden. Purpose of that day? There wasn’t one. Program of that day? There wasn’t one. And so Beans, partners and little Beanies were all over the place. Laughing together, playing together, enjoying each other. And while doing so, we strengthened the ties more than ever. Beanissimo, so a lot of Beans testified later on, turned out to be a massive kickstart for the last quarter of 2016.

However, third space is not just literally space. It has to become a mindset. The Beanissimo mindset to create and share energy for each other without inhibitions. In our Beanmachine cooperation this shared third space could very well be the crucial ingredient in sustainable growth. Actually, what a huge competitive advantage it would be for any organization.

While fresh Moroccan tea was served,  our conversation now wandered off towards politics, sunny holiday destinations and whether Vincent Company would ever rejoin the Red Devils.

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Bart Van Langendonck
I make sure we build what you need.
+32 498 946 964