#futureofwork / The Cafe That Helps Beat Writer’s Block—by Fining You $22.

This is interesting: A cafe/co-working space optimized for a specific type of work to be done combined with paid accountability.

The cafe’s co-owner, Takuya Kawai, directs his customers to set a goal for the day and, if requested, prods them to get on with it. If they fail to meet it by the time they leave, they have to pay a fine equivalent to $22. It’s an honor system, says Mr. Kawai, but it seems to work.

It seats 10, and costs around $2 an hour, or $4.50 an hour for a premium seat facing a brick wall.

Students working on book reports, comic-book illustrators, authors, and corporate warriors with a presentation due have been flocking to the cafe, which opened in April in an artsy Tokyo neighborhood.

Whereas this place is optimized for writing, imagine if it was optimized on levels of trust and industry. It’s interesting to gather folks of the same vocation together, but way more intriguing when they have an additional shared trait. Add a level of safety and trust, and the interactions are far more meaningful.

I have witnessed this firsthand in two different settings—first, creating and hosting a retreat for studio or consultancy owners. Second, hosting Design Leadership Forum events for executive design leaders, not based on where they lived but by industry. In both settings, once a level of trust was established, the quality of discourse increased dramatically.

As remote or hybrid working conditions are here to stay, there are going to be more opportunities to explore in offering goal oriented, trusted spaces. I’d love to see more experiments with this idea.