Every year, right after the Coworking Europe Conference, some of us enjoy playing around with this idea: find the keyword that nails perfectly the specific mood of that specific conference.
In Bruxelles (2010) the keyword was sharing.
In Berlin (2011): community.
For Paris 2012… well, it’s not so easy.
Maybe organizer Jean-Yves Huwart had maturity in mind. And indeed we did hear in Paris a lot about specific projects with coworking in a wider perspective.
Hence the famous question came up, once again:
What is coworking?
On this matter, Cowo’s view has been defined in the Cowo Manifesto, but obviously lots of people apply the coworking spirit to different, and sometimes personal, approaches… that makes 2012 unsuitable for maturity.
Stating that, we could think of normalization, considering that the conference has taken steps in trying to define what coworking really is.
The closest we got to this, was on Day 2, when the program became liquid and every participant proposed a topic in the typical barcamp formula.
Actually the topics mainly covered specific needs of coworking spaces, and none of them went into the aforementioned question. Enough for normalization as the 2012 keyword!
Maybe, then, we could find inspiration on Day 3, in the morning workshops or in the afternoon tour of coworking spaces.
As a matter of fact, during the visits, the keyword diversity would easily popup as a choice.
We visited a good number of very different spaces, considering the huge differences in size, design, approach.
Fine with us, but the concept itself of diversity completely lacks that shared component that makes a coworking space a coworking space.
No diversity then, no good.
In the end, what we really need this year is a single concept able to convey in the same word the different ways in which a coworking space can be conducted, and the closeness that unifies them all.
So, dear coworkers, how do you like evolution?
Mattia Sullini manages a coworking space part of the Cowo Network since 2009, and has been recently nominated President of the Florence FabLab.
Coworking pioneer with 22|A22, he’s about to launch COMBO Open Project, a new coworking space and makers facility organized as a modular system in order to provide services with different degrees of participation, with strong focus on makers.