In his TEDx talk in November 2009 Michel Bauwens made some very interesting observations about peer to peer production. He points to the fact that when people create something in common, they create their own infrastructure. On the other hand when people link to share their expression they tend to use a corporate infrastructure like Facebook or Flickr. I see coworking at the moment as a combination of these two.
Yes it is true. Coworking is going to evolve into “Free Coworking”. I predict that within the coming year you will see a marked increase in “Free Coworking” offers. What do I mean by “Free Coworking”? ”Free Coworking” means that as a coworking space user you do not pay for the use of the desk, chair etc. How is that possible? Someone else is going to pay :-) !!! Why would anyone want to pay for your coworking space usage? Because “this someone else” is benefiting from your work. This might be a customer or client, a member of your project team, an organisation, a small or large cooperation, a foundation, the state – in short “Financial Capital” will pay the bill.
Now we have scientific evidence by Margaret Chatham Crofoot and Ian C. Gilby that small groups have a competitive advantage over larger groups. Translated in terms of changing the world: Small groups like coworking spaces or action groups have a competitive advantage over society as a whole in bringing about a change. Here is what Chatham Crofoot and Gilby found in an experiment with wild capuchin monkey (Cebus capucinus) groups:”Although numerical superiority is assumed to provide a competitive advantage, small groups can generally defend their ranges, even when greatly outnumbered. The prevailing explanation for this puzzling phenomenon is that individuals in relatively large groups experience a greater temptation to flee from conflicts, in effect levelling the balance of power.”
Inspired by Marit Larsen´s song “If a song could get me you” and my long-held conviction that coworking and radio can benefit hugely from another I like to ask whether 2012 will see “Coworking Radio” come alive? A lot of what coworking has been about up to now passes via written texts (emails, websites etc.) – through an interface that is usually a keyboard. I believe spoken texts, live interviews, music, dancing and singing will be very important aspects of our work to come. In an empathic world we need to exchange more than short text messages and emails. Without the “spoken word and music” enthusiasm for new challenges will be very scarce. States of “Flow” as described by Mihály Csíkszentmihályi currently occur very rarely. We need to activate our voices and bodies to be more productive, more energetic. Our society and our planet needs action now. We need to become whole and happy individuals.
When you sit in a coworking space in the first world, you would rarely think of yourself as a member of a “Digital Factory” (where physical brains are the machines of a linear production process). Even less likely that you would be grateful for this compared to someone in a “Digital Factory” in Haiti carrying out a “Mircowork” job and thereby feeding their family and friends. Leila Janah and Samasource are already changing the lives of people in 6 countries. I think they are also changing our lives in the “first world”. It is time to understand that we are not living on an island. “Microwork” might come your way whether you like it or not. Create the world or the world will create you.