Category: Non classé

Social Workplace Paris 2017 social media coverage

Social Workplace conference Paris 2017 took place last April 18th. Hereby the storify of the event:

Coworking in Asia to challenge traditional hierarchies and make room for innovation?

In January 2015, the Hubud team created and hosted Coworking Unconference Asia, which had around 120 attendees from around Asia. During the last session at the event, the team asked the audience whether or not they should form an Asian Coworking Alliance.  The simple question led to an impassioned discussion about the potential alliance, concluding with 3 coworking spaces offered to take the discussion forward. As many coworkers and space managers know, it’s difficult to get there types of projects off the ground, especially because they are often born from passion, not revenue.

Fast forward to the 2nd Coworking Unconference Asia in 2016, and the CU Asia team decided to get things off the ground and launched the Coworking Alliance somewhat unilaterally. In its first year, CAAP has 30 paying member spaces and has offered 17 webinars for coworking space owners and staff. We caught up with the co-founder of Hubud, Steve Munroe, to discuss the coworking scene in Asia and how the formation of a coworking alliance can help global coworking communities grow.

Coworking has grown exponentially in some parts of Asia. Is the model considered to be a viable option for corporate players and local freelancers? 

Like with a lot of things, the industry is younger in Asia but it is moving faster.  Corporate players are getting involved, which includes both CRE players and corporate customers. As a result, investment is scaling up, for example, Spacemob in Singapore just completed a $5.5. million raise.  At the same time, there has been an explosion of smaller players entering the market.  Last year when we held the Coworking Academy there were only 35 attendees, and this year there were over 100. Attendees came from major markets, such as Jakarta, as well as rural areas.

On that same note, what role do you see coworking playing in the context of redefining “traditional” work culture in the region? 

In Asia,  relationships are traditionally hierarchical, within institutions like companies and governments, as well as within society. So the flatter social systems that are typically seen, and also encouraged, in coworking spaces is a bit of a change.

Steve Munroe, co-founde Hubud, Bali

Are corporate entities in the region embracing coworking? 

Some, particularly in more internationalized markets like Singapore and Hong Kong where some corporates are placing some of their staff in coworking spaces. There are also examples of corporations hiring coworking space operators to consult them on how to ‘import’ the coworking culture into their internal environments, in relation to design, internal communications, etc.

Who are the most likely members to join coworking spaces in Asia? 

This varies greatly by location. The markets in Bali or Melbourne or Hong Kong are very different from one another.  In many countries, however, the early adopters tend to come from places where coworking has been around longer so they tend to better understand the value proposition, such as North America and Europe.

What are the benefits of forming a coworking alliance? 

In its first year, our focus was simple and modest. we aimed to create the kind of networking connections and peer-to-peer learning opportunities for coworking space operators in the same way that we do for our members. Therefore focus has been on hosting events, online webinars and just creating channels for us to communicate more frequently.

This year we are looking to move increasingly into collective negotiating, such as getting discounts from vendors that benefit both our members and/or their members. In addition to increasing beneficial relationships, we aim to focus on research and advocacy that will allow us to support operators looking to start discussions with their local governments/partners and approach regional bodies like ASEAN.

From your experience, what types of partnerships/collaborations have sparked from the alliance that would not have had otherwise? 

Again, the biggest thing for us this year was having members teach each other and share resources (templates, checklists) that benefit one another. Right now we are not actively collaborating with other bodies, but we would like to going forward. The truth is, any kind of alliance is challenging to operate and deliver meaningful value to its members and partners. When we started it, our stated commitment was that we would not start a ‘talking head’ kind of industry association.  So we will see how we and others do with that and navigate what works for everyone in the process.

 

 

COWORKING EUROPE 2017 (Dublin, November 8-9-10) : REGISTRATION IS OPEN

Coworking hubs are a key driver of Amsterdam’s plan to become a world startup hotspot

StartupAmsterdam is a public/private initiative, with a time-span of four years to fortify the city’s position as leading startup hub in Europe, and increase the international visibility of Amsterdam’s startup ecosystem. The growth of a wide web of coworking spaces and accelerators all over Amsterdam is a strong argument used on StartupAmsterdam‘s communication materials to convince outsiders of the powerful position ot the City as one of the the most vibrant startup hotspot in Europe.

Iris Muis is StartupAmsterdam’s startup liaison . The startup liaison oversees Amsterdam’s startup ecosystem, managing data on the city’s startups, co-working spaces, corporates connected to the Corporate Network, relevant events and more. We interviewed Iris about how important the growing Amsterdam coworking hubs’ network was for the developement of city’s  startups ecosystem.

Hi Iris. What is StartupAmsterdam ?

In 2015, the City of Amsterdam has realised that, to play its part in the European startup ecosystem, it had to invest in the city’s vibrant startup scene. Local government teamed up with the startup community and drafted a plan of action: StartupAmsterdam. This plan consists of fifteen measures to help startups grow, based on the five basic requirements for startup success: talent; customers; content; capital and an environment that is startup-minded.

StartupAmsterdam works with an extensive network of partners and is happy to share its approach with other cities. It does not invest in individual startups. We help optimize the startup climate in the city, making sure all is in place for you to make a success of your startup.

Iris Muis

According to your website, the city’s wide network of Coworking spaces are one of Amsterdam’s main assets to lure Startups. Why ?

The City of Amsterdam is proud of its well-developed and diverse startup ecosystem which embeds these companies and the knowledge institutions, high-quality accelerators, incubators, startup academies, corporations, coworking spaces and VC firms that help them grow.  Not only are coworking spaces key players in the startup ecosystem, they also provide a basic need for startups: a place to work. Amsterdam’s city centre is crowded, because of the limited space we have in our circular grid of canals. Coworking spaces can lower the threshold for startups to have an office space in the city centre.

What is the difference you make between coworking spaces and accelarator/incubator offering ?

Accelerator programs offer intense training courses for startups. Incubator programs offer in-house mentoring, and coworking spaces offer space to work. For the oversight of those different players on our website, differentiation is easy. Most of the time, accelerators, incubators and coworking spaces approach us to ask if they can be placed on the relevant oversight. Startup physical Hubs are key players in our startup ecosystem. To see an overview of the amazing incubators and accelerators in our city check our website: http://www.iamsterdam.com/en/business/startupamsterdam

More than 1.100 startup would be based in Amsterdam. How many work from hubs (coworking and accelerators) ?

What I can say now is that these hubs are an important driver of startup growth in this city, as they often support seed or early stage startups and really strengthen their growth. We have set up a governmental incubator called Startup in Residence. One of StartupAmsterdam’s measures details how local government can act as launching customer to startups. In collaboration with the Chief Technology Office (CTO) of Amsterdam we set up Startup in Residence: local government invites Dutch and international startups to devise innovative solutions to social issues in the city. The pilot of this incubator successfully ran in 2015 with seven startups. Currently we are running Startup in Residence 2.0.

Since the summer of 2016, seven new coworking spaces have opened their doors in Amsterdam.

Are Amsterdam’s coworking spaces becoming more numerous or simply bigger ?

B.Amstedam

Both. For example, coworking space B.Amsterdam started out with 20K square metres in 2015, and now has more than doubled in size, to an astounding 42K square metres: http://b-buildingbusiness.com/amsterdam/. Since the summer of 2016, seven new coworking spaces have opened their doors in Amsterdam. We keep track of them, their addresses and the amount of square metres of co-working space they have.

Do those hubs collaborate ?

Amsterdam’s ecosystem is very well-connected and parties work together where needed. We have a small hands-on team working on executing the fifteen measures of our action programme. Some examples of what StartupAmsterdam has been up to so far: establish Launchpad Meetups to connect corporates and startups; help launch startup academies like BSSA and the Growth Tribe academy to educate the talent startups need; kickstart Amsterdam Capital Week to connect startups to capital; bring code into Amsterdam school curriculums and educate teachers to do so; attract talent to help startups grow; establish international relations and organise bootcamps to the benefit of our startup community; to know more about what we do we recommend you browse our online news section and about page.

Coworking hubs in amsterdam are both becoming bigger in size and more numerous

The StartupAmsterdam website offers a useful calendar of all the startup-related events in Amsterdam. The calendar is open to all to upload startup events taking place in Amsterdam, just hit the “Submit Event” button. After we agree that your event is relevant to Amsterdam’s startup community it will show up on the calendar!

Amsterdam is also one of the tech clusters in the Netherlands that work closely together under the name of StartupDelta. In the past one and a half years, StartupDelta has linked up the various innovation hubs in the Netherlands and positioned our country as one of the most attractive startups ecosystems in Europe. Whereas StartupDelta was a governmental programme on a national level, StartupAmsterdam is a four-year action programme on a city level. The Dutch capital city is one dimension in the multi-faceted ‘StartupDelta of Europe,’ the Netherlands.

How about welcoming ‘talents’ in Amsterdam. Is your approach similar to what you do with advising startups ?

For welcoming talent in Amsterdam and connecting them better with the startup ecosystem, we have developed several programs. TechConnect is a program that brings together students and graduates with a tech background with startups. We also work closely together with the universities in Amsterdam, for instance in designing an honours track for excellent students to introduce them into the world of startups. Coding 4 Amsterdam is another program.

Subscribe to our newsletter

How to measure coworking business performances

At the most recent Coworking Europe conference, which took place in Brussels in November of last year, Anil George, Head of Operations at 91Springboard, India’s largest Coworking network, facilitated a masterclass on how Coworking spaces measure their business performance.

Here is a sum up of the workshop.

1. Determine the right metrics and indicators

Coworking spaces, like any other businesses, need to measure and quantify performance progress based on defined targets and goals based on various activities. One must consider KPIs (Key Performing Indicators) specific to running a coworking space.

Those metrics will have to be customized according to each activity related to the coworking operations.
We also need to ensure that KPIs are readable, as well as standardized and automated so that everyone can clearly understand these changes.

But first, let’s make sure we first have paid attention on the following things  :

  • Frequency of the action which is measured (daily, monthly, quarterly, etc)
  • Unit used (numbers, currency %, etc)
  • Source (such as sales CRM, or a software management tool like Essensys)
  • Checklist, dashboard, etc; the audience (team or organisation)
  • Target; and how we represent and interpret the final result.

2. Measure the coworking business performances

During the devising metrics masterclass of 91Springboard in Brussels, the participating group worked as one Coworking Space provider with multiple departments and arrived at different conclusions based on various metrics.
Key indicators were used as a way to measure activity in their departments and improve overall performance.

Here are three fields of measurement we can elaborate on : Operational performance, Business performance and Community performance. 

A. Operational Performance

We refer to those items around the regular day-to-day running of the coworking space : efficiency, smooth processes that continually improve with the help of reviewing relevant data…

Take the example of bandwidth management. What can be done to measure patterns of consumption ?

Example :

  • Create utilisation patterns across the day for different types of users
  • Do the same by weeks
  • Introduce a metric to understand the bandwidth consumption during events
  • Etc.

By groing through this, we will able to cater the best possible solutions for upgrades, downgrades and improved infrastructure (access points, router etc) as a whole.

Another example, more focused on qualitative inputs, is : “Good Resolution” by the team running the place.

This can be measured in terms of the number of support tickets for problem-solving, resolution time to close, the sentiment of members after closure and so on.

The overall idea of these operational metrics is to improve the running of the space by going deeper into each one of these elements.

B. Business Performance

The space and its business models must make unit economics sense, for sustainability and scale.

First and foremost, one needs to design the right metrics to provide with the right assessment. Thos metrics might be :

  • Revenue per square meter
  • Revenue per member
  • Revenue per workstation
  • Sales conversion ratios
  • Cost per lead
  • More

It speaks for itself that those are various measures to be reviewed on daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly bais would one want to learn from what’s happening with respect to the business performance, and how he/she stands against our predictions/forecast. 

So many proxy metrics of capacity utilization, occupancy, churn serve as second-level/dive-deeper metrics that links back to the root metrics of revenues and expenses.

C. Community Performance

Community is a core element of the why we all love coworking. The idea of creating unique communities that are defined and created by the members for members, which is facilitated by the space providers.

We can improve and measure the internal community dynamic, the external community dynamic, as well as the level of performance regarding events management.  

Here are some quantitative and qualitative metrics that can be used to assess the level of engagement of a coworking community:

  • Surveys, to deem members’ satisfaction
  • Synergies and collaborative projects between members
  • Connections and friendships
  • Success stories
  • Event attendance
  • Quality of event feedbacks
  • Event attendance patterns
  • Etc

Understanding values, beliefs, character, and goals of the space, metrics, which vary from one space to another.

Tracking metrics in a systematic way will develop unique insights, which will make room for new metrics to evolve.

Overall, it will help to draft strategic goals, which can be broken down into more metrics that will answer questions related to personal needs.

Perfect metrics do not exist. However, based on his/her experiences and goals, space managers will find the best metrics that work for them.

Download 91Springboard Metrics presentation :

coworking-europe-banner-02

The design of our space is research backed to promote varied types of interactions-Ben Gattie,The Working Capitol

Ben Gattie, the co-founder, and CEO at The Working Capitol wanted to nurture creative work environments in his home country of Singapore. After working for a real estate developer focused on SoHo loft conversions in New York City, Ben returned to Singapore about 8 years ago and set up The Bamboo Group, a boutique real estate company specializing in the redevelopment of neighborhood shop houses. Deciding to enter a more meaningful and multifaceted industry centered around creating inspired work environments for companies big and small, Gattie co-founded The Working Capitol with his sister, Saranta.

Today the professional landscape in Singapore is changing, and it’s all thanks to places like The Working Capitol. We caught up with Ben to discuss these changes and how his work is enabling more open and flexible work environments.

Hi, Ben. What is work culture like in Singapore? Have people embraced social workspaces? 

It was quite conventional in a lot of ways until a few years ago with the mainstream emphasizing job security and working out of the central business district. Singapore has made a conscious effort to decentralize, and independent operators such as ourselves have legitimized fringe locations and social workspaces. Thankfully, Singapore is accustomed to change at an aggressive pace and is very adaptable to new things. Singapore apparently has over 60+ co-working spaces so I certainly hope this means people have embraced social workspaces! That said, in our earlier days, it was essential to educate people about what we were doing and to adopt a genuine spirit of giving before we could expect to get in return.

Does TWC aim to promote shared work culture and if so, how?

Ben Gatti

Definitely. We try to promote shared work culture across as many touch points as possible. The design of our space is research backed to promote varied types of interactions, ensuring there are different environments suited for different types of work or social engagement.

We want all our members to feel a sense of ownership of the entire building regardless if they may have signed up for a dedicated workspace. Our events and programming ensure that people come together across different points of interest, which we populate according to the verticals of arts and culture, personal and business development, health and wellness and lifestyle and entertainment.

Furthermore, our team is genuinely interested in what our members do and aims to facilitate interactions and connections whenever possible.

When TWC was being developed, was special attention paid to design? 

Yes. Design with intention is key  i.e understanding why the spaces exist and for what purpose it serves. Design is always best when it puts the member experience first and naturally weaves these human experiences into the built environment.

In your experience, what type of design promotes a better work culture, while also increasing productivity?

Specifically, in the case of The Working Capitol, the flow of one space into another, the incorporation of natural light, a lively color palette and ensuring there are different types of micro-environments suited for different types of work made accessible to everyone have been major contributors to our unique energy.

Do you believe that the physical design of a shared workspace is an essential part of the model? 

It is an essential part of the model. It directly influences not only how well we can perform operationally, but how successful we can be at creating the right energy and interactions. If the hardware is poorly designed, it makes it that much more challenging for our team and all their efforts to bring the space to life successfully, ensuring people are inspired to do their best work.

What types of members do you attract? For example are you focused on the local community or do does TWC extend themselves to digital nomads? 

Our members truly span a broad cross section. Being fortunate enough to have an international upbringing and exposure to different cultures, it was extremely important for us to champion diversity in terms of the type of industries we cater to, as well as different stages of development. We welcome everyone from solo-preneurs to large companies. That diversity can only help to provide different perspectives and learnings to local businesses in Singapore and enable people to grow in both business and personally.

On that same note, do you have corporate members or business partners? If so, why do you think that they are drawn to a place like TWC?

Our corporate members tell us the main draw has been to attract and retain the best talent. They want to provide their teams with access to inspiring spaces, access to amenities and opportunities to engage with other members and companies.

CHECK OUT SOCIALWORKPLACES.COM UPCOMING EVENTS

“Many people who came to work at Starbucks discovered that the coworking environment was a much better solution”-Ashley Proctor

Ashley Proctor runs both Creative Blueprint and Foundery in the vibrant city of Toronto, Canada. The newly renovated 15,000 sq ft community hub is an accessible venue run by Ashley and her business partner, Jake Koseleci, who also owns the property and leases space to Creative Blueprint and Foundery, in addition to a Starbucks.

Established in 2006, Creative Blueprint is a pioneer and leader in Toronto’s arts and coworking communities. Creative Blueprint provides studios, services and support for artists and entrepreneurs. The CB Studios in downtown Toronto are home to practicing visual artists, designers, makers and creative entrepreneurs.

We caught up with Ashley to talk about what it was like to partner with Starbucks and how coffee culture can help coworking spaces grow.

Hi, Ashley. Can you please tell us a bit about the current state of Foundery and Creative Blueprint?

Established in 2010, Foundery currently operates two Coworking and Event Spaces within The Foundery Buildings. Foundery is one of Toronto’s first coworking spaces and we are home to a diverse and vibrant community of passionate, independent freelancers and artists. Foundery provides 2 unique shared coworking environments in addition to private offices and meeting rooms.

In the new year, we are planning to launch an exchange program with our newest Creative Blueprint location in Seattle, Washington (in partnership with Office Nomads).

Why did you decide to partner with Starbucks rather than opening your own coffee shop? 

My original plans for a coworking space included art studios, as well as an art gallery and cafe. The businesses are all complimentary and they support each other. The Foundery Buildings were the first venue where we could open all of these elements under one roof. Yet, we had an entire building to renovate and a mortgage to cover, so we decided that it would be a good idea to partner with an established anchor tenant that we didn’t feel bad about charging market rental rates.

Ashley Proctor

Ashley Proctor

At the time when we bought the building, there was construction on the street and we needed to increase foot traffic. Also, coworking was not as popular as it is today and many people were still unfamiliar with the concept. Thus, the cafe gave people a reason to come by and check out the newly renovated building.

Do you feel that this partnership brought Foundery more opportunity?

Yes. Overall, it’s really events, coffee and casual opportunities that make connections and what helped to introduce the community to our space and to the coworking movement.

It has been a great way to find and to introduce people who need a community to the coworking concept. The partnership also offers a secure stream of patrons for the cafe and a secure revenue stream for the building. It also works out well when we need breakfast or coffee for our in-house workshops and events!

What are some of the specific benefits of having a partnership with Starbucks and what does it bring to the tenants and to the space owners?

Our members love coffee. We drink coffee all day and we also like snacks. Since we have our own desks next door, we don’t take up precious real-estate in Starbucks.

As a coworking space operator, I also visit the cafe to tell those people who are working on laptops that there is a better option that’s right next door. I’ve actually invited many cafe customers in for a trial day at Foundery and that worked out well both for Starbucks and for us.

Does having a partnership outside of the space provide the ability to impact the greater community on the whole as you have a wider reach?

Our reach was initially wider with Starbucks as a tenant, but now we have since established our location and our own community. Today, our events and members attract new visitors, like the CB Gallery, which is open to the public during exhibitions and we also participate in many city-wide initiatives that open our doors to the community.

Have you found that there could be a potential risk that your members would want to work in Starbucks, rather than your space?

Quite the opposite. Many people who came to work at the cafe discovered Foundery and decided that the coworking environment was a much better solution. Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoy going out for coffee, but I’d rather work from the Foundery rooftop patio or in my studio with friends. I’m so much more efficient and productive in a coworking space than I could be in any cafe.

What would convince you to have your own cafe? 

Now that we have established the model at this location, we’d like to see another service provider operating in the space. We are actually in the process of replacing the Starbucks with an independent operator that is more in line with our vision and mission for the space and community.

As we are a building full of independent artists and entrepreneurs, so it would be nice to see our peers using the space. Yet, we are taking our time in looking for the right cafe partner or collaborator who can provide amazing coffee, healthy food options and catering options for our members and many events.

Coworking Grows Up: An interview with Jean-Yves Huwart, founder of Coworking Europe

Like many of the major players in today’s coworking scene, Jean-Yves Huwart, started off as an unsatisfied employee. Driven by a need for more freedom, Huwart quit his job at a media company and started working as a freelancer. Yet, it didn’t take much more than two weeks before he started to get cabin fever. At the same time Huwart was going crazy in his home office, there was talk in Brussels about creating one of the first European Hubs, Hub Brussels, which launched in 2009. Huwart was one of the first members to join the space and he quickly realized that coworking was the epitome of what he had been writing about as a business journalist. For him, this budding movement met the requirements of the rapidly transforming modern workforce and was much more than just a fad.

Hi Jean-Yves, what initially pushed you to start the first Coworking Europe Conference?

Jean-Yves Huwart: While I was working at Hub Brussels I was witnessing, first hand, a growing need for shared workspaces that prioritized human interaction over production. I started looking elsewhere for similar spaces to the Hub, and I quickly figured out that coworking was a growing phenomenon that could be found all over Europe. This was the initial inspiration to start the first Coworking conference, and because Brussels is the capital city of Europe, it made sense to identify as a European conference.

When did you have the first event, and what was coworking community like in its early stages?

The first event took place in 2010. We expected around 50 people but instead 150 showed up. At that moment, we understood that something was really cooking. At the time, spaces were still in their nascent stages, Betahaus in Berlin was just one year old, and many of the big names you see in coworking today were just starting out. Because things were still operating on a smaller scale, we were able to easily connect with a lot of people who were developing spaces, and also the individuals who had knowledge about the coworking movement.

What countries, at the time, had the most advanced coworking scene? And how did these developments help develop the Coworking Europe Conference?

In 2010, many of the people we met at the conference came from Germany, which was the most advanced coworking scene at the time. They were already organizing themselves into an association, Coworking Deutschland, which was something that was ahead of its time. After the conference, Coworking Spain started and you also had a strong Italian scene growing.

Coworking Europe conference, 2015

Coworking Europe conference, 2015

Because of these coworking associations that were forming, people started looking at ways in which they could come together, thus the people in Berlin invited us to have our conference there for the next year, which was in Betahaus, and Club Office. Then, when we were in Berlin, we met the people from Paris who invited us for the next year and from there we gained more traction and the interested has never stopped growing.

From the first Coworking Europe, a real community was formed, so while the conference is still a yearly event always open to newcomers, it’s also an annual gathering of people who see each other as a family.

As someone who has been there from the very beginning, what are some of the major developments you have seen in the coworking over time?

In a lot of ways we grew up alongside many of today’s more developed coworking spaces, so we have really seen the ways in which the movement has changed over time. We also had the chance to see the way that spaces [have] experimented since the very beginning.

One thing that has changed over time is that coworking operators have learned how to monetize their spaces. Many of the people who attended the first conference were interested in coworking, not so much from a business perspective, but rather as a side project.

Today, the coworking community is playing a major role in how new economies will be structured in the future, as they are paving the way for an innovative workforce.

What are some of the major trends that you see currently in the coworking scene?

This year we had 360 attendees in Milan, which was comprised of experts in the field and also many newcomers. After Milan, we can really say coworking is steadily growing as an industry, which has become more and more mature, while still acting as a source of inspiration for various curators. One thing we’ve seen is that there is a whole new set of players interested in coworking, from government, employees to corporations.

These different sectors are interested in coworking because it is shaping the workspace of the 21st century. They realize that the function of the workplace is changing and that it is more focused on interaction and the human experience. Overall, the sharing economy, co-living, and collaboration are key elements to success in the business world today.

What do coworkers expect today that they didn’t before?

There is certainly more insight available, but what we do see, now more than ever, is that people are interested in growing a business and the proportion of spaces created purely as a social project has decreased. This doesn’t mean that the passion and the ideals have disappeared, but it does mean that coworking is approached in a more mature way. The more the movement grows, the more we understand the economics behind it, such as the importance of having private offices and services, which can generate income.

For example, the initial results of the Global Coworking Survey, which was presented at the conference, showed that more spaces than ever are looking to expand.

We also heard a lot about the emerging trend of coworkcation, what does that say about the way we approach contemporary work styles?

This year’s conference presented more data and hard facts than ever before. We are seeing the rise of different concepts driven by coworking, like “coworkation,” which presents a completely new approach to freelancing. We had several presentations on the topic, from Hubud in Bali and also Neo-Nomad. This increasing global mobility for employees and employers will be a cause a dramatic change in the way we see travel and it will also impact tourist destinations. In the future we could see a significant population of the workforce moving freely and it may eventually be the standard way to make global connections.

In addition to nomadic freelancers, many people are discussing the relationship between coworking and corporations. It has always been a topic, but now we see people developing strategies to make this relationship a reality. Corporations in the future will most likely look like today’s coworking spaces. In many ways, large enterprises need to look towards the coworking model in order to remain relevant in the future.

You also had the first Coworking Africa conference in Cape Town this year. What were some of the most significant takeaways and what did this experience tell you about the global coworking community?

The reaction was very positive. We saw that in the same way that coworking is important in Europe, it is equally, if not more, important in developing countries. For us, basic standards like fast internet in an office space is a commodity, but this not the case in Africa. In the coworking community in Africa, the primary role of the movement is to provide basic infrastructure at an affordable cost. In addition to meeting basic needs, coworking also brings a lot added valued in regards to social engagement, both on a local and global level, in the African community.

What do you predict the future of coworking will look like?

If we keep seeing the value system of the sharing economy as a main force behind the development of new economic models, coworking spaces will be one of the most visible parts of this transformation. The coworking movement will go beyond the conceptual stage and become the physical manifestation of the collaborative economy. While walking through a cityscape, coworking spaces will line the streets, much like factories and offices did in the last industrial boom.

Note: This article was originally posted on Shareable

A coworking retreat in rural Serbia realizes another benefit that coworking can bring to corporate players

An increasing amount of companies are realizing the benefits of the coworking movement. Retreats are a big part of the changes taking place in the workplace, and offer a welcome opportunity for both newcomers and experienced players to get away from their everyday routine. The majority of people imagine these retreats to be on tropical islands, yet as the concept has spread rapidly, there are now getaways being offered in more off the grid areas.

In Mokrin, a village in the the province Vojvodina Serbia, a new coworking retreat will be launching this year, offering workers the chance to explore the idyllic Serbian landscape while also gaining exposure to potential local and international collaborations. We spoke with Ivan Brkljac, project leader of Mokrin House about what their latest project offers to nomadic workers.

Hi Ivan, can you please tell us a bit about the project and what inspired you to start Mokrin House?

I am the project leader of Mokrin House, which is an urban coworking retreat in a rural part of Serbia. We offer an ideal place to get away from the large city chaos and focus on your work. Even though Mokrin House is in the remote countryside, you will feel anything but isolated. We offer the chance to connect with like-minded people, such as other digital professionals who enjoy a work-life balance at a rustic pace.

What would a typical day at Mokrin look like? 

Imagine your day like this: A morning jog through the fields, giving you energy to then focus on your work or current projects. For lunch, you will have a healthy home-cooked meal prepared for you at the estate. After some more work, you have the option of going on a bike ride into the village, or a swim in the pool (best in summertime) or even just relaxing with coworkers, over a glass of wine on the porch. That’s how we envision our coworking retreat.

How long have you been in operation and did you face challenges when introducing your space to the public?

The estate has been in operation since 2012, however, most of the activities to take place there so far, have been corporate and large enterprises. In addition to these events, we have also had many arts and culture workshops, such as ceramic workshops, concerts, exhibitions, and so on. Today, we are focusing more on the rising coworking movement, as we feel it is a better fit for us.

The coworking retreat will start in the Spring of 2016 and in the beginning, spreading the word  has been challenging. But the more we explain the concept to the people, the more they become interested. In fact, several reservations for the spring launch have already been made.

Most of the coworking activity is located in Belgrade, what could you offer to those who are unfamiliar with rural parts of Serbia?

Belgrade has a vibrant startup and freelancing community buzzing with new ideas and projects. However like all large cities, living and working there has its downsides. Traffic jams, lack of parking, air pollution, and higher prices are just some of the difficulties that you might encounter. On the upside, Belgrade has great nightlife scene, a lot of cultural events, interesting young people and much more. What we offer in Mokrin House is not opposite of what Belgrade or other large European cities offer,  in fact, we consider our space to be complimentary to urban environments.

Ivan Brkljac, Mokrin House

Ivan Brkljac, Mokrin House

All of us sometimes need to get away from the noise and crowd and just restart ourselves, and there is no better way to focus on your work than changing your environment, especially one that is designed to to boost your productivity during your “work” time and ensure maximum relaxation during “after work” hours.

In Serbia, many of the rural areas have faced economic hardship. Do you think that offering a space where people can create and also stay for an extended period of time will help revitalise rural regions? If so, why? Have you already seen any positive signs?

There are several positive effects a coworking space in the rural area has to the local community. First, and most apparent is the positive economic impact. We hire several people from the local village as staff and these jobs wouldn’t exist without the space. Also, most people who stop by Mokrin house, usually purchase some of the local produce, such as excellent cheese or homemade rakija. Apart from the sheer economic benefits, the local community is always invited to take part in educational and cultural workshops and seminars, which has unmeasurable nonmaterial benefits.

Are there any government/state initiatives that have helped you grow and develop? If you were to make such a partnership how would you define your added value?

No. We have not worked with any government bodies and at the moment we are not really considering these types of partnerships.

What types of services/perks do you offer and what kinds of people do you typically attract?

The most important thing we offer is an ideal work environment. Everything else, from cooking classes, pottery classes, healthy homemade food, afternoon bike rides, mulled wine, to swimming in an eco-friendly pool comes as an extra perk. People who are attracted by the idea of Mokrin House are the ones who cherish the work-life balance and who understand how important it to travel, change working environments and meeting new, creative people.

Do you have any plans to expand/make changes/ add-ons to cater to a certain group?

Our expansion plans depend on the markets readiness to adopt this new concept. Our final vision is to revitalise an entire rural village of Mokrin, by making it the biggest and the most diverse coworking village in the world with Mokrin House in its centre.

As a space operator, what are some of the key changes needed in your community? What do people need to improve their professional lives, and how can your space offer this?

As a space operator, I need to make sure that all the coworkers are living the experience that they expect. The spring of 2016 will be the first time that we focus solely on coworking, so we will consider the many changes needed to be made in order to fulfil everybody’s needs.

You were at Coworking Europe this year. Was it your first time, and what were you looking to gain from the experience? Was there some good input you were able to take away and apply to your own projects?

This was my first European Coworking Conference, and surely not the last. The conference gave me a chance to get to know many people who are on the same path as Mokrin house. Two things left the biggest impression on me. The first one was the statistics that have showed how fast the coworking movement is expanding, confirming that we are on the right track. The second thing that was very noticeable that almost none of the coworking spaces have an identical model. Every space is different and unique, showing that the industry understands that each community is different and requires different things.

“Over time, coworking spaces are going to transform the way businesses is done in India”-Innov8 Coworking

Last year, the coworking movement hit an all-time high. With conferences in Europe, Africa, the USA and Canada, it has become evident that coworking is not only growing in established communities but all over the world.

Dr. Ritesh Malik, founder of Innov8 coworking in Delhi, believes that coworking will be essential to business growth in India. We spoke with Ritesh about the current coworking scene in Delhi and what the emerging movement has accomplished so far.

Hi, Ritesh, can you please introduce yourself and tell us a bit about Innov8 Coworking?

I am a doctor by education, but a passionate entrepreneur and startup lover at heart. I started my first venture back in 2012 and eventually sold it to Times of India group (Alive App). Over the last 2 years, I have been deep into startup funding, and I am actively working with the government of India in order to help build college entrepreneurship ecosystem in the country.

I have also spent some time in Boston, Santa Clara, LA, London etc. and have understood how these types of silicon valleys have been built over time. I realized that Silicon Valley is not a real estate but a mindset, and that is what we’re trying to build today in Delhi.

You say on your website, “we believe Entrepreneurs & Startup Enthusiasts of Delhi deserve better”, can you explain what was lacking, and has coworking improved the lives of professionals in Delhi?

24% of all the startups in India are from Delhi, but until now Delhiites weren’t exposed to startup community building. I personally feel that the most integral part of startups is the community building. It’s all about people. At Innov8, we are not focusing on the office spaces, which we provide, rather office spaces are just 10% of our business, and 90% of our focus is on community building.

We organize events (almost 1 per day) based on skill development, which helps entrepreneurs to scale up, build, break and innovate. The idea is to provide an innovative space right in the centre of Delhi where we can converge the biggest talents and create the most vibrant community in Delhi.

Dr. Ritesh Malik

Dr. Ritesh Malik

I feel that the most vital aspect of a startup is the community building, startups are all about tinkering. They’re about meeting new people, interacting with them and synergizing win-win situations to create growth hacking and disruption within conventional business models.

How would you describe the coworking movement in Delhi? Is it popular, and if not, what are coworking leaders doing in order to help spread the movement?

Delhi is very immature when it comes to coworking awareness. We only got our first coworking centre back in 2012. There is a very thin line between coworking, accelerators and incubation centers in Delhi. Most of the coworking centers in Delhi are not focused on coworking, but rather focused on incubation. At Innov8 we’re very clear about our mission, we’re a pure play-coworking centre and we just aim to build the most vibrant & helpful startup community in the city.

At Innov8, we are also reaching out to the universities and educating the students about coworking. In Delhi people still have a notion that coworking is all about shared office space, but we want to change that.

What types of members do you typically house at Innov8? Are they mostly freelancers or are there members from companies?

We have a strict application process to join our coworking centre. This is for the first time in the world when coworking centers screen the applications before allowing applicants to be a part of the ecosystem. The reason for this process is because we want to keep track of the people who are part of our community. We want to attract the most intellectual and innovative minds.

Today, we focus on getting more entrepreneurs, investors, and product-based startups to be a part of the ecosystem. We are also working on a program to help freelancers build their own products by bringing 2 to 3 freelancers together.

In your experience, is coworking helping to transform work in Delhi. For example, are more corporate entities open to changing their work environment, like using a coworking space?

Not yet, but I feel that over time coworking centers are going to transform the way businesses are done in India. Perceptions of coworking are already changing. For instance, we got a request from the Kotak Mahindra Bank, as they want their CIO & his team to move into Innov8 so they have the chance to think outside the box and have a wider vision of the startup ecosystem.

What types of services do you offer and are there any particular needs that your members have? Such as events, support, education?

Mortar office space is just 10% of what we offer. We believe that more than the office space, what startups need most is the community, mentorship and access to networks. We help them build these networks by creating a fertile ground for ideas via thought leadership. We focus on skill development and also offer a virtual acceleration program where we provide our startups with a startup handbook, which includes the the do’s and don’ts.

How would you describe the design of your space? Were you inspired by any particular model, such as open workrooms, private offices, café, breakout rooms, etc.

We have one of the most beautifully designed campuses in India, we were featured in OfficeLovin, one of the best office design magazines in the world. Our space is a combination of modern design and contemporary artwork.

What seems to be the most effective types of spaces that nurture productivity in your community?

We have an ideation cube, a white boarding room, an amphitheater, common innovation zone as well as an open terrace. These are the areas, which are full of innovation and entrepreneurial drive.

Your site often mentions Silicon Valley. Do you aspire to be the next Silicon Valley or are you creating your own ecosystem specifically for your community? Do you think coworking spaces are important to creating hubs for innovation, and if so, why?

I believe that coworking centers are the mecca of innovation worldwide. We are on a mission to make Delhi as the next Silicon Valley after SFO, Tel Aviv, Bengaluru etc. Silicon Valley is not a real estate, but a mindset; we’re changing the mindset.

SmartOffice and KantoorKaravaan: Winners of the Coworking Europe Awards

For the first time ever, Coworking Europe hosted the Coworking Europe Awards in 2016. The event included two categories, one for best design and one for best community action. Spaces and operators submitted their concepts and projects to be voted on by the coworkers from around the world. The awards allowed for Coworking Europe to showcase some of the top initiatives taking place today in the global coworking community.

The winners were judged on the range of innovative steps taken towards their unique design, or actions towards community building. This year’s Coworking Europe Awards also honored the winners with prizes worth more than 3.000€. Awards included 6 months free membership on the ESSENSYS platform and 12 months usage of the KISI smart-locking system for your space free of charge. In addition to practical tools, Coworking Europe also providence a placement on a Coworkation trip to Barcelona and two tickets to Coworking Europe 2017.

Smart Office takes home first prize for the Coworking Community Action Award 

The winner of this year’s Best Community Action Award was presented at the Coworking Europe Conference in Brussels, to Miroslav Mijatov, founder of Smart Office in Belgrade, Serbia. Smart Office recently expanded their space and network by moving into a new space in the city center in the Serbia capital. In addition to physical growth, Smart Office also extended their community by reaching out to those in need. The award was presented to the Smart Office community for their initiative to help refugees and displaced persons by using their community and resources.

Miroslav Mijatov, winner of the Best Community Action Award.

Miroslav Mijatov, winner of the Best Community Action Award.

In his presentation of the project, Miroslav explained that as Serbia is both a country in transition and a hub for refugees and immigrants, the Smart Office sees these changes not in a negative light, but an opportunity to garner community spirit and offer support. Their event, titled “Refugee Fundraiser – Quiz Night”, grew and strengthened the Smart Office community, opening their doors to those who had nowhere to go for quiz and games night.

Smart Office members also had the option to bring donations, including clothing, hygiene items, food and water, packaging, baby products, blankets and other items. Ultimately, their actions also brought in donations, which enabled the space to provide 100 meals for those in need. Not only was this initiative fueled by doing something for the greater good, but also strengthened the Smart Office team. Today they are recognized as a coworking space where members value generosity and genuine community building.

KantoorKaravaan wins Best Coworking Design Award

It’s hard to pick just which coworking space has the best design. Coworking spaces by nature are innovative, imaginative and flexible, and just like coworking communities, they all have their own special touch. This yeah at the first Coworking Europe Design Awards, the winner brought us something pretty unique: mobile coworking. Kontoorkaravaan provides coworking offices that are on the go. Setting up shop in converted caravans, the fully equipped coworking caravans are integrated with the great outdoors, making scenic stops along the way.

KantoorKaravaan

KantoorKaravaan

Kontoorkaravaan hails from the Netherlands, but currently has coworking stations setup in various locations. The caravans are designed to have offices that face the great outdoors, allowing coworkers to enjoy the view and stay focused. Kontoorkaravaan also accommodates larger groups, with mobile workstations with large tables for meetings and group work. At the end of a productive day, coworkers set up a full camp with different caravans and tables in the middle.

The Coworking Europe Awards were sponsored by Essensys

coworking-europe-banner-02

Source: