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CoworkingIssues

Page history last edited by Tim 10 years, 6 months ago

Some of the issues everyone is facing:

 

  • How to find investors, financial supporter and sponsors (especially in the early stage of the spin-off) seems to be a real issue. For people outside the "idea circle" (of co-working) it is not so clear what the benefit and earnings expectations are (Ralf, LockSchuppen)
  • How to balance these collaborative spaces with actual work spaces? How do we get stuff done as well as encourage interaction? As many startups are coming into these spaces, it becomes an issue.
  • Intellectual Property has been an issue. Most of these spaces encourage an open plan, even for meeting spaces...with the idea that discussions should be public to allow for many minds to get involved and help one another out. This has been extremely fruitful for everyone involved, but many companies still have a tough time wrapping their minds around getting rid of NDAs and keeping a shroud of secrecy.
    • This is a classic challenge of Open Source and similar initiatives: negotiating the public/private boundary. It's one thing for you to say that everything you do and your business models and code are free, but would your clients feel the same way about their underlying code and business challenges and data that you will be revealing in the process? I've been surprised by some of the detail I've seen at whiteboards in coworking spaces, and have learned from overheard conversations, some of which I've been able to join in on and contribute to, perhaps to the benefit of other coworkers and their clients. There is a definite value process in the sharing. However, I believe that there will be more heartbreak ahead as companies adapt at an uneven pace and get surprised by seeing their internal data exposed before they even get it back from their consultant who works in a coworking environment. -- Raines
  • Is this a collective or should there be space leaders? Ideally, these spaces are run by the community, but thusfar, it has been a problematic model. We are looking at a hybrid model described in the book by Ori Brafman, The Starfish and the Spider, which looks to 'catalysts' and 'guides' to lead these spaces, with the community members being semi-detached, but given the ability to become 'deputized' within the meritocratic system. Very much an Open Source development model.
    • Who says it has to be one or the other? (I'd love for the "problematic model" commenter above to step up and self-identify for this conversation) The community can delegate, space owners can subcontract or offer other incentives for people to step up to leadership roles, and leaders naturally emerge in any community. "run by the community" doesn't mean that everybody has to decide everything collectively, it means that everybody feels empowered and supportive and takes initiative in a consultative fashion. If this isn't happening in your space, there are many tools available that can help. -- Raines
  • Keeping the spaces populated and buzzing daily. When it isn't 'your office', impetus to go to the coworking spaces is lowered, so the attendance at some spaces has been sporadic...much like a coffee shop (go when you feel like home is driving you stir-crazy). If there isn't critical mass in a space, it loses the advantage of the collaborative. Do we encourage more 'office-like' spaces so people are encouraged to leave their workstations there and, thus, driven to their office each day? How do we keep from becoming those sterile 'office' setups?
    • This is a key issue that I have experienced in several coworking spaces, particularly those where the founders took a risk by taking initiative before a group was assembled, to take advantage of a unique opportunity, like an available space already leased, or an allegedly perfect place. While it is fun to talk about self-forming communities and collaborative work efforts, effective outreach takes a form of (respectful) marketing communications, and that takes work. If it isn't in your money budget, then it had better be in your time budget, and your in-kind budget. And your flexibility budget - perhaps what people want most isn't what you want to offer or support? Because if your coworkers aren't happy, they won't stick around and won't attract more, and by the time the lack of rental/anchor income shows up on your balance sheet, it may be too late. -- Raines

 

Amongst other issues, each city and each space within each city will have unique problems as more questions arise within different cultures and contexts. Please feel free to add those issues here as well.

 

If you think of anything else, please feel free to add them here.

 

Check Out Another Wiki! I figured that since I help keep this wiki "safe" it'd be okay to link to mine.