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What’s Coworking?
                   Why Coworking?
                                          Clay Spinuzzi
              ...
1980
                                                                                                                 2

L...
3

In the first wave, we became an agricultural society and for millennia most of our work was agricultural.
4

In the 18th century, we began the second wave, the Industrial Revolution, and until the mid-1900s industrial work
domin...
5

But, Toffler argued, since the mid-1900s we have been in the third wave: we have become a knowledge society
and the mos...
1980
                                                                                                                   6
...
Adhocracies
   “man will find himself [sic] liberated, a stranger in a new
     free-form world of kinetic organizations. I...
“Soon we may see the rise of movements demanding that
    all work that can be done at home be done at home.
     Many wor...
“We might also see groups of home-workers organize
     themselves into small companies to contract for their
     service...
10

Pervasive and cheap Internet connections delivered through independent telecommunications companies ...
11

powerful mobile computers, affordable to individuals ...
12

and mobile telecommunications, inexpensive enough that even tweens could afford them.
13

These three technologies have really changed the present - and probably the future - of work.
A third space




                                                                                                        ...
BUSINESS                      business




                                                                               ...
“the new production system relies on a combination of
 strategic alliances and ad hoc cooperation projects between
corpora...
17

And theyʼve generated a “pickup” economy in which people reach out through their personal networks to assemble todayʼs...
n
                                    Adhocracies



                                                                     ...
19

Increasingly, itʼs through that third space, that coop that Toffler mentioned but didnʼt really pursue. People without ...
20

you canʼt maintain confidentiality. You donʼt know who else is there. You havenʼt been able to develop trust. And you n...
Coworking

  “Coworking is the social gathering of a group of people,
 who are still working independently, but who share ...
Serving ...
     •     “Mamapreneur, papapreneur.” - Laura Shook, Soma Vida

     •     “People out here are roaming becau...
Aims
      •     Work-life balance: “Our work space allows you to have
            dedicated time to concentrate and accom...
24

They have different ambience...
25
26
27
Commonalities
    •     “People have different social needs ... being human, you need
          some social interaction.” ...
A new urban space
 “The individualization of working arrangements, the
    multi-location of the activity, and the ability...
Photo credits
Slide 2, 3: Public domain, Library of Congress, http://www.flickr.com/photos/library_of_congress/2179136302/
...
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Spinuzzi austin-entrepeneur-meeting2010

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A brief presentation on coworking

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Spinuzzi austin-entrepeneur-meeting2010

  1. 1. What’s Coworking? Why Coworking? Clay Spinuzzi clay.spinuzzi@mail.utexas.edu Twitter: @spinuzzi spinuzzi.blogspot.com 1 Hi, everyone. I’m Clay Spinuzzi, an associate professor of rhetoric and writing at the University of Texas, Austin. I research how people produce, circulate, and coordinate information in workplaces. And two years and some months ago, I ran into a website that made absolutely no sense to me - I couldn’t figure out whether this Austin-based organization called Conjunctured was a company, a collective, a cooperative, or what. A few months later, Conjunctured opened the first coworking space in Austin, and since then, many others have opened up: Soma Vida, Texas Coworking (now Coworking Austin), Cospace, Brainstorm Coworking, Space12, and soon LINK Coworking - and doubtless others will follow. These people are the real experts on coworking; I’m just going to talk in broad strokes about how coworking fits into larger work trends and why people are turning to it in increasing numbers.
  2. 2. 1980 2 Let’s think in broad strokes. Futurist Alvin Toffler argued in 1980 that we have gone through three “waves” of major change in human history.
  3. 3. 3 In the first wave, we became an agricultural society and for millennia most of our work was agricultural.
  4. 4. 4 In the 18th century, we began the second wave, the Industrial Revolution, and until the mid-1900s industrial work dominated.
  5. 5. 5 But, Toffler argued, since the mid-1900s we have been in the third wave: we have become a knowledge society and the most influential work is knowledge work. Remember, these are broad generalizations, but they’re still useful for thinking through some of the changes we’ve seen. Because we certainly have seen changes. Knowledge work has taken an increasingly large share of the developed world's economy in the last century. By 1980, the information sector grew to 46.6% (Beniger). By 1994, traditional (agricultural and industrial) work has shrunk to only a sixth or an eighth of the workforce - the rest of the workforce is engaged in service and knowledge work (Drucker 1994, p.6).
  6. 6. 1980 6 But these changes aren’t all. Each form of work has its own logic and form of organization. To get agricultural work done, you have to establish hierarchies that direct labor on a mass scale. To get industrial work done, you have to create and leverage markets. To facilitate knowledge work, it helps to establish networked forms of organization: relatively independent workers in fast-changing, recombinant organizations.
  7. 7. Adhocracies “man will find himself [sic] liberated, a stranger in a new free-form world of kinetic organizations. In this alien landscape, his position will be constantly changing, fluid, and varied. And his organizational ties, like his ties with things, places, and people, will turn over at a frenetic and ever- accelerating pace.” “managers are losing their monopoly on decision-making” 1970, p.125, 140 7 Toffler saw this shift to networks in 1970, when he predicted that work would be reorganized from departments to projects, attacked by transient teams of specialists: knowledge workers. In these “adhocracies,” cross-functional teams change in composition, and leadership shifts during different stages and different projects.
  8. 8. “Soon we may see the rise of movements demanding that all work that can be done at home be done at home. Many workers will insist on that option as a right.” “Put the computer in people’s homes, and they no longer need to huddle. Third Wave white-collar work ... will not require 100 percent of the work force to be concentrated in the workshop.” 1980, p.203; 199 8 Toffler saw that adhocracies meant that people no longer had to work in the same space - the same field, the same factory. With more and more work being knowledge work, people could install computers in their houses and perform their work from home - i.e., telecommute.
  9. 9. “We might also see groups of home-workers organize themselves into small companies to contract for their services, or, for that matter, unite in cooperatives that jointly own the machines. All sorts of new relationships and organizational forms become possible.” “neighborhood work centers” “dispersed work centers” 1980, p.205; 200; 205 9 And yes, perhaps theyʼd want to get out of the house sometimes, so maybe theyʼd go to local coops. But Toffler didnʼt see these coops as being preferable to working from home - because he didnʼt foresee three things.
  10. 10. 10 Pervasive and cheap Internet connections delivered through independent telecommunications companies ...
  11. 11. 11 powerful mobile computers, affordable to individuals ...
  12. 12. 12 and mobile telecommunications, inexpensive enough that even tweens could afford them.
  13. 13. 13 These three technologies have really changed the present - and probably the future - of work.
  14. 14. A third space 14 Theyʼve allowed people to work in “third spaces”: coffee shops, libraries, parks, hotel lobbies, McDonaldʼs, etc.
  15. 15. BUSINESS business 15 Theyʼve opened up telecommuting and mobile work to small businesses, not just big business: freelancers, partnerships, contractors. Theyʼve enabled virtualized organizations. And theyʼve accelerated the transition to project-oriented work - and adhocracies.
  16. 16. “the new production system relies on a combination of strategic alliances and ad hoc cooperation projects between corporations, decentralized units of each major corporation, and networks of small and medium enterprises connecting among themselves and/or with large corporations or networks of corporations.” Castells 2000, p.96 16 Theyʼve allowed more work to be outsourced. Companies retain their core functions, but they contract other jobs.
  17. 17. 17 And theyʼve generated a “pickup” economy in which people reach out through their personal networks to assemble todayʼs team, to find contractors, to be contracted.
  18. 18. n Adhocracies 18 These are adhocracies to the nth power. And this is the environment in which entrepeneurs find themselves working - part of the reason that entrepeneurs can devote part time to the Ideation stage, but also how they can lay groundwork for their Growth stage by networking with like-minded people But in a pickup economy, how do you find your team? How do you network?
  19. 19. 19 Increasingly, itʼs through that third space, that coop that Toffler mentioned but didnʼt really pursue. People without offices find themselves meeting in places like coffee shops. But coffee shops are noisy, unpredictable; you canʼt get a table;
  20. 20. 20 you canʼt maintain confidentiality. You donʼt know who else is there. You havenʼt been able to develop trust. And you need a place where you can develop trust if youʼre going to work effectively in an adhocracy.
  21. 21. Coworking “Coworking is the social gathering of a group of people, who are still working independently, but who share values and who are interested in the synergy that can happen from working with talented people in the same space.” Wikipedia, “coworking” 21 For the past two years, Iʼve been visiting such spaces - coworking spaces in Austin. In these spaces, people work in relatively unstructured locations with unstructured schedules, share resources, form friendships, barter services, serve as tech support and emotional support for each other, subcontract each other, mentor each other, form businesses, and above all, network.
  22. 22. Serving ... • “Mamapreneur, papapreneur.” - Laura Shook, Soma Vida • “People out here are roaming because they have to.” - Andrew Bushnell, Cospace • “30 to 40 year olds ... who want to get out to the office because the kids and the dog don't understand that they're on a conference call” - Liz Elam, LINK Coworking • “Freelancers tend to do stuff virtually .... But then one of the benefits of having this space is you get to sit down next to a group of people and work on projects face to face.” - Dusty Reagan, Conjunctured 22 Coworking spaces serve different people, groups and industries...
  23. 23. Aims • Work-life balance: “Our work space allows you to have dedicated time to concentrate and accomplish tasks, while working within a community of entrepreneurs, free spirits and individuals looking for more balance” - Soma Vida website • Mentoring: “We just want to sit next to this guy and just soak up everything he leaves behind [about running a small business]” - Andrew Bushnell, Cospace • Collaboration: “I'm not going to let you go be on your island.” - Liz Elam, LINK • Swarming: “A project gets dropped in, we can swarm to kill it, disseminate, and keep flowing.” - John Erik Metcalfe, Conjunctured 23 They have different aims...
  24. 24. 24 They have different ambience...
  25. 25. 25
  26. 26. 26
  27. 27. 27
  28. 28. Commonalities • “People have different social needs ... being human, you need some social interaction.” - Cesar Torres, Conjunctured • “That's the one thing the Internet social networking, all of that stuff you cannot replace face-to-face.” - Liz Elam, LINK • “So really the community aspect of it is what's made it be so easy for us to keep growing. Because everyone keeps feeding it.” - Andrew Bushnell, Cospace • “I think it makes people reach their potential more when there's that supportive container, than when you're kind of spinning your wheels in your own isolated bubble.” - Sonya Davis, Soma Vida 28 But they share a commitment to connectedness, networking, collaboration, and entrepeneurship.
  29. 29. A new urban space “The individualization of working arrangements, the multi-location of the activity, and the ability to network all these activities around the individual worker, usher in a new urban space, the space of endless mobility, a space made of flows of information and communication, ultimately managed with the Internet.” Castells 2003, p.234 29 As corporations continue to outsource non-core functions and as knowledge work becomes more prevalent, expect to see more coworking spaces, functioning partly as shoestring incubators. And expect to see more variations on adhocracies.
  30. 30. Photo credits Slide 2, 3: Public domain, Library of Congress, http://www.flickr.com/photos/library_of_congress/2179136302/ Slide 2, 4: Public domain, Library of Congress, http://www.flickr.com/photos/library_of_congress/2179077779/in/photostream/ Slide 2, 5: CC, Rod McLatchy, http://www.flickr.com/photos/rodbotic/2479178443/ Slide 9, 12: Public domain, OCal, http://www.clker.com/cliparts/2/4/e/ 2/1208185285896971921coredump_Glassy_WiFi_symbol.svg.hi.png Slide 10, 12: CC, Ryan Jones (ichibod), http://www.flickr.com/photos/ichibod/2073251155/ Slide 11, 12: Public domain, http://www.pdclipart.org/albums/Telephone_and_Cell/mobile_phone_22.png Slide 13: CC, Kevin Fox (kfury), http://www.flickr.com/photos/person/107899274/ Slide 16: CC, Ed Yourdon (yourdon), http://www.flickr.com/photos/yourdon/3823194254/ All others: Spinuzzi Slides will soon be up at spinuzzi.blogspot.com 30 Photo credits

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