Coworking Europe Conference 2016

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The Alpe Adria perspective – by Sabrina Schifrer

Once a year the international coworking community meets to reconnect, to get the latest figures of the global coworking survey and to discuss about the developments of the local coworking spaces.

This year the conference took place in Brussels, the heart of Europe. People were offered not just conference tickets but also camps to be together not only during the conference but also afterwards. This year we organized for the first time a Coworking Alpe Adria Camp, thanks to our partner from Coworking Croatia, Matija Raos. We gathered 15 people between the 27th of November – 1st of December in a nice airbnb in the middle of the centre of Brussels.

Arriving to the conference, the first day was packed with coworking stories from other parts of the world like India and China. There our often „tiny“ way of thinking is ridiculous because as there are so many inhabitants they are opening spaces of a few 1000 square meters. They are not thinking about opening one space, they are opening 20 at a time…. They have a complete different situation.

Another highlight of the conference is the presentation of the first results of the global coworking survey. Once again it shows a growth in coworking spaces worldwide. We are now at a number of 11.300 spaces worldwide that shows a constant growth of around 2500 spaces/year. Also people that are working in coworking spaces are growing in numbers. So the movement becomes bigger.

This trend is created not only by individual coworking spaces that are ambitious about their project – there are also a lot of coworking alike chains that are using the trend for their means. At the conference you could really feel the difference between the two movements – the grassroute one that wants to change something in their environment and help local business to grow and the business movement that sees coworking just as another business opportunity. In order to profit from each other much more there could emerge synergies that are not used because often the “others” are seen as enemies. Focussing on that topic you can also read Mike Larosas article on coworkaholic.

The second day was dedicated to topics of the community. Main interests were generated around the topic of rural coworking and combining coworking and coliving. Also we had a session connected to the development of coworking collaboration and started with new ideas how to use the network of Alpe Adria Coworking for further cooperation. The main outcomes were: to organize regional coworking fairs, to do a road trip together, to share our skills and providing education for coworking space managers. A few of them were also coming up already in previous get-togethers. Also to use the already existing format of the Hackathon (hackathon.click) is one of the outcomes of that brainstorming about how to go on with our network activities came up with. We could also get new members and other interested people in our network.

On the third day we had the chance to see the local coworking spaces and could participate on different tours through the city. After visiting all these different 6 places in a group of around 20-40 people everybody was really tired because the day started early with master-classes. Alpe Adria Coworking also gave one concerning EU-funding and coworking. We gave our knowledge to international coworking space owners that were interested in our showcase: Alpe Adria Coworking.

All in all it was a great opportunity to meet again the global community and also to integrate our Alpe-Adria camp into that – we created new ideas and the next step is to realize them – let’s see were our journey will lead.