Coworking: …or Business with pleasure?
Thanks for your feed-back, Alberto.
Your analysis is quite right, no matter it is about The Hub or another coworking space, anywhere including Brussels. Personaly I firstly went to The Hub in Brussels, found it a very cool and dynamic place, full of nice young webcannibals. But I didn’t stay there a single half-day for exactly the same reasons you do explain.
So I finaly tried a minimum fees formula in The Loft, another space for coworkers, closer from my home and maybe from my real age level.
Then again the balance between juiors and seniors appeared to be a problem, but a reverse one. Indeed we still can see a kind of gap between the senior generation - including Bernard the founder-owner and elder people like me (I’m often the a veteran figure in the group meetings at The Loft) - and too rare young people, who probably find the place too quiet or too straight for their mood. Or maybe too empty to stay alone there with a small squadron of seriously boring senior experts?
Aiming start-ups and independant workers, the Loft Coworking Brussels - which is not the only one cowork-dedicated initiative in the European capital - is actually a very recent start-up by itself. Thus, the ‘reverse’ struggle is to attract here both real senior open-minded people AND new freshly formed rookies. Clever enough to understand what a great opportunity it is to be smoothly coached by experienced people without any hierarchic obligations. In ideal conditions, to bargain youth energy against elders wisdom should be a profit AND a pleasure for everyone dealing in such new environment.
But the perfect mix and amount of people is far from being achieved.
Therefore, a first strategic step was to attract them with a range of events, conferences and workshops for small business, coaching sessions on creativity or more specific themes (initiations to mindmapping, webdigging, content curating, economics etc.), given by young or less young coachs and consultants.
The whole project being sustained from scratch by a good, professional and permanent online communication (blog, facebook, mail) and PR parallel program. Bernard did it very well, almost alone and with low cost tools, perfectly compatible and coherent with an image mix of economy, originality and modernity.
A second step to mye eyes is, now or never (fast learning and acting is imperative), to motivate mutual loyalty -win/win relationship for everyone abroad - and to agregate the few pionneers and newcomers around a friendly, cool, innovative atmosphere, able to nurture and spread creativity. This is a question of storytelling. I’m very glad to get your confirmation that my modest (nice, I don’t know) sketches “convey the feeling of a warm, informal working environment”, because it is exactly what they are supposed to do, with simplicity and humanity. Plus being a possible reliant tool, I hope, for better networking the coworkers from allover in our countries…
What should be the third step? To generally promote a in-depth coworking culture by a lerge media coverage? Ideally, yes, But in fact, may-be not: too long, too late, too expansive. Furthermore, the coworking spaces network is not prepared for such a long-term corporate campaign.
Short- and middle-term should better be axed on a local and sub-regional conquest strategy,
targetting more starters, young entrepreneurs and freelancers, administrative and institutional relays (social initiatives and/or employment agencies), alternative activities, associative circles, temporary partnerships etc;
focusing on the power of mixity and hybridation of activities with a creative touch, clearly centered around a few range of crossed specificities, for instance new coaching practices, cross media creation, communication & web curation, artistic and social activism (Edgeryders is full of #keywords opening new possible tracks). (JD)