The space maker: And the educator.
There are a not many papers specifically on coworking, there is however a lot of thinking online around the subject, I hope that what this paper does is bring some of that disparate thinking together into one document for aspiring space makers to use as a resource and inspiration.
My report at the beginning aimed to answer some initial research questions, What are the key components of a successful work space? Who uses and what are the benefits of using coworking spaces? What will happen next to the spaces we work in? Though my final research covered more broad topics as it came to light that new work spaces could be part of a bigger picture.
The coworking term and thinking should not just be confined to coworking spaces, it’s a new way of thinking about any workplace – people, daily, making the deliberate choice to not work alone. Therefore the findings in this paper could be used to improve any workspace.
What are the key components of a successful work space?
Firstly community, building your community to act both independently and together is important no matter the size of your space a decentralised community can have a larger impact on the surrounding community casting a wider net benefiting the surrounding area. In a space the affordances or Proximity, Privacy and Permission can’t be overlooked, the difference between a planned space and an unplanned space is growth, successful spaces that exist are in high demand. Creating your community and space should revolve around a Human Centred design approach, your membership’s involvement no matter how large is essential to moving beyond sharing to collaboration and collective action. These spaces can be more than just where people work but replacements for our long forgotten community centres and town squares if we create strong communities.
Who uses and what are the benefits of using coworking spaces?
If predictions that the number of coworking spaces will double in size by october 2013 then the people who use coworking spaces will be an even bigger array. Right now Knowledge workers are the main protagonists, independent workers, startups and smart businesses who are placing workers within coworking spaces looking for direct access to inspiration, community and talent. The benefits of using a coworking space are social and educational. We are around others and we learn from others, just by being around people working and creating things people inspire each other to go further, do what they love and develop their careers with life long learning, with what feels like less effort than it would take to do so from home or within an office setting where everyone is in a bubble of similar content.
What will happen next to the spaces we work in?
Coworking can be the facilitators of new economic patterns primarily the knowledge economy and rise of the independent worker. We will see more content from coworking spaces, a merging of educational tools and services with coworking projects. Sharing is caring and the first rung on the ladder of community action and positive impact. Coworking will need to stay true to it’s roots, the continuation of Open Source thinking around coworking is imperative to it’s success and staying true to their logo of the starfish – decentralised – for both the concept and their local communities.
Sam Rosen and everyone at Desktime and The Coop, Chicago. All my Interviewees.