Open Coworking is a movement. It is the community of coworking spaces all over the world, working in many different languages. WHat we all share is that we have all committed to the same core values: Collaboration, Openness, Community, Accessibility, and Sustainability
We maintain this Google Group. We also maintain:
We work with the Network hub on the Global Coworking Visa Map.
Open Coworking has grown up as the need arose, and was only formally organized a couple of years ago. In 2012, Jacob Sayles took it on and created a nonprofit organization to manage all of the above. At that time we were very excited that we had reached a huge milestone: 1,000 coworking spaces worldwide!
There are now….more than that. Ahem.
So recently, he handed the reins of Open Coworking over to me. And it is time to talk about where we want to go with it. Organizations tend to naturally emerge around a community’s needs and while I am in a great position to get feedback about those needs, a number of people find it to be high time we talked about what we want to do. And where we want to go.
Is it time to get formal with Open Coworking?
This is an all-volunteer movement. And as some of you know, we have been working on a reorganization of the WIki Team for about a half year. We have grown in that time to a team of 65 volunteers worldwide. As a larger, worldwide coworking community, we seem to spontaneously have this conversation every 5 years or so. But a majority of the people now involved in coworking were I think not here for the last one. So it’s time to open up the discussion again I think.
Here is where we are:
We have me, I am still in for organizing Open Coworking, in Oosterhout, the Netherlands.
We have Oren Salomon in Texas USA, busy with establishing a curated Open Coworking community directory based on a map.
There’s our social media, run by Beth Buczynski in Colorado, USA.
There are the Wiki Associates and Regional Partners, listed on the Wiki.
There’s the Global Coworking blog, run by Melissa Geissinger, who is also giving us a much needed facelift (see below for screenshots)
There are a number of other projects and idea which we have been approached to take part in or contribute to.
The projects I hear most about people wanting are:
a mentoring program, space-to-space; 2) a mentoring program, network to network, for coworking communities setting up local networks;
an overhaul of the Coworking Visa;
a marketplace, coworker to coworker.
a best practices “kit” for spaces at different points in the growth curve: starting out, mature and growing, and even end stage. There is also much interest in a best practices “kit” or discussion group for what we can rural coworking, that is, models for coworking in locations other than large cities and also for coworking in specific sectors: retail, hospitality.
I signed on to maintain the Wiki and serve the community where I could and that is what I intend to keep doing.
Here is what I want from you
I want to know what you think. I want to know what you would like to see from Open Coworking. I want you to take part in this conversation.
I also want you to help us get the word out that the conversation is taking place. With your social media, within your communities and within your cities, as soon as the discussion goes up I would like for you to share the word.
We can continue to keep on as we are keeping on: the organization as it is now is sufficient to maintain the Blog, the Wiki, and this group.
It is not sufficient if what the community wants is for Open Coworking to more actively organize and advocate and communicate with the outside world.
Coworking without Borders, the Coworking Visa, and the new Coworking Map have none of them gotten the kind of support they deserve, simply because we lack the reliable resources to support them. The spam problem on the Wiki has been largely cleared up (hurray!) but it is in many areas out of date and needs to be reorganized.
The organization itself should not be a problem;
We are in a unique position as a community to add to the development of Coworking. The real question before the house is this:
Do we want a Global Open Coworking Organization?
What would you like to see it do?
How can we best do this?
I welcome and value your thoughts.