Already one of the great fruits of the widespread discussion on free coworking is the acknowledgement that paid coworking has lost its bearings in many instances. Alex Hillman on his blog dangerouslyawesome puts it like this: “MANY paid coworking spaces aren’t differentiating themselves from business centers and aren’t keeping in line with the coworking core values. Social capital is often missing from the exchange between the provider and the member.” I fully agree with Alex!!!
Kategoriearchiv: CoWorking Basics, Konzeptionelles
As I was just researching on an article on “Free Coworking” , more precisely on “Free Coworking Grants”, I noticed something that we should become more aware of. In trying to make a better coworking world, we run the danger of becoming slaves to an apparently “cozy” but artificial design world. In doing so, we tend to relate more to the building and things rather than to our coworkers. To give you an example. There are a lot of coworking sites now that promote coworking offers. A lot of them are very nicely done, with very attractive pictures. One example “SharedDesks”. The example chosen is random, I picked London, and this is what I found. Very beautiful, I think everyone will agree, but something is missing. It is not only the people that are missing in the picture, but more importantly there is no feedback loop. You cannot comment on this or any other coworking offer as a user. And this is the same on all the other sites I found in the net.
I just saw on Google Groups that there is a great opportunity for people who cannot make it to Austin to take part in the discussions tomorrow (8th of March). Claire Rodriguez is setting up various Google Hangouts (Panellists), (Unconference). As we will not be able to be in Austin this could be a great opportunity for us to take part and to discuss and develop “Free Coworking” with the panellists and visitors of the conference. I hope there will also be some people “on the ground” in Austin who are interested to discuss the subject. Looking at the schedule of the conference, the sessions from 9:30 to 10:30 “How to Design, Build and Grow your Space for Collaboration” and from 1:15 to 2:00 ”How to Get Government Funding, Operate as a Non-Profit and be Bad Asses” are probably most relevant for “Free Coworking“. I asked Claire if she might be able to set up a forum for “Free Coworking”. If we are lucky, she will succeed. In any case, I hope we will advance the idea and can develop “Free Coworking” during the conference in one way or another. Please join if you can!
Currently I see two very important developments in coworking. One is the increase in collaboration between coworkers for example in the jelly coworking mode (example Jellyweek). Secondly I see more collaborations between spaces and coworking operators like in Prague and Seattle ( as described in this article below). Both developments use “Free Coworking” and help to bring about a more integrated and interconnected coworking community.
In his talk on “Science and Practice of Cooperation” (see Video below thx David Hodgson for sharing) Harvard Professor Yochai Benkler develops the idea of systems of self-interest and systems of collaboration. In terms of computer hardware and software these systems could be identified with people like Steve Jobs and Bill Gates on the one hand and networks and developments like Linux and Open Source on the other. In terms of knowledge transfer they could have representatives like Encyclopaedia Britannica and Wikipedia. Yochai Benkler is not a complete critic of the system of self-interest although he presents ample evidence that systems of collaboration are not only feasible, but also more sustainable and human.