In my opinion, the coworking movement is among the most important global business developments in recent years. Think about it: There were only 14 coworking locations in 2007; today, there are 17,725; and by 2022, the estimate is that there will be at least 30,400…if not more.
This movement espouses five core values: Community, Openness, Collaboration, Sustainability, and Accessibility.
The coworking movement started in 2005, when Brad Neuberg decided to let anyone take his idea and make it their own.
A software developer in San Francisco at the time, he wanted “the freedom and independence of working for myself along with the structure and community of working with others.” To address that need, he started what he called a coworking space, initially located inside a local wellness center, and invited anyone to join.
More importantly, he invited those who liked the idea to share and remix it. He didn’t hold onto ownership over the word or the concept; as an advocate for open source thinking he did the opposite. He actively encouraged people to take coworking and run with it.
Before long, people like Tara Hunt and Chris Messina came along and did just that. They established decentralized resources for coordinating the activities of independent coworking community organizers around the world, including the Coworking Google Group, Coworking Wiki, and Coworking Blog. Those resources became the foundation for the movement as we know it today.
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Obviously, co-working is not for everyone, nor is collaboration, for that matter. Some people thrive in an open-space environment, others do not. It should also be said that open-space thinking can occur in a traditional workplace environment.
To learn more about this workplace paradigm shift, please click here.