If you follow the BCA on Twitter, you will have noticed today (11th November 2015) was the first day of the European Coworking Conference in Milan.
As is perhaps the custom at conferences, day one has been a humdrum of ideas, shared practice and creativity, shaped by the positive outlook among participants.
At the start of the day, the assorted attendees heard from Cristina Tajani, from the municipality of Milano, who outlined the strength of the sector in this famous Italian city.
With 49 spaces – and counting – the city has become Italy’s coworking capital with much more to come.
The discussion quickly moved onto the Global Coworking Survey 2015, an ongoing exercise, which is designed to measure progress made by the sector, and what lies in store for operators and members alike. Some of the key statistics were as follows:
A number of presentations were given across the day which included a fascinating insight into the way incubators, accelerators and coworking spaces are helping to shape London, given by Sara Turnbull from the Bootstrap Company.
Other presentations touched on the different profile types of individuals who become members of coworking spaces; strategies for securing sponsors and partnerships; and the impact coworking is having in Africa.
The afternoon then brought a series of panel discussions. Of the three sessions attended by the BCA, perhaps the most fascinating was the one on the phenomena of “coworkation”. In essence, these are coworking spaces, delivered in carefully chosen, and spectacular, locations with, in some cases, the opportunity to live within the same complex.
Stuart Jones of Coworkation.com has set up spaces in locations such as Croatia and Bali, allowing individuals the freedom to live and work in these places. This, he argued, resulted in a significantly enhanced quality of life, as well as increased productivity and creativity.
Other panelists had started spaces in Paris, Vienna (within a hotel concept) and Berlin. It will be interesting to see whether this will truly take off, as “coworkation” is still a nascent concept at this stage.
Overall, the first day of the conference lived up to its billing, and the positive mood was reflected throughout all who were present. The composition of attendees is fascinating, with people coming from as far as Singapore, Australia and the United States to share in the stories and best practice. Based on this, the global coworking sector has a very strong future ahead of it.