One of the most interesting things we've observed in our research is how rapidly coworking is expanding, evolving and mutating.
There is almost a Cambrian Explosion of new types and forms of coworking occurring.
Coworking is widely being used as both a noun and a verb. Informal coworking is rapidly growing in popularity. Facilities of all types are adding coworking features and supporting shared work methods. Examples of workplaces that have many of the attributes of coworking, but aren't "traditional" coworking spaces are increasingly common.
One example is the Plug and Play Tech Center in Silicon Valley. The San Jose Mercury News article Silicon Valley spirit in a box does a nice job of describing this well known tech incubator. Key quote:
"The place is a microcosm of Silicon Valley. "Silicon Valley in a box," Amidi calls it. It has all the attributes you've heard about forever: diversity, risk-takers, brainiacs, investors, cubicle culture, synergies born of chance encounters, and a certain spirt that is difficult to describe and impossible to deny."
While Plug and Play is an incubator, it has most of the attributes associated with coworking and coworking facilities.
Another interesting example comes from a Future of Work newsletter article on coworking. One of the places they cover is Roam, an Atlanta facility that describes itself as:
"Roam is the Innovators Workplace: an innovative meeting, dining, and gathering place for a new progressive workforce. We are dedicated to people on the move that need a better way to connect with others, work productively and grow their businesses. Our mission is to give you an ‘insanely great’ meeting experience!"
I've never been to Roam, but it sounds like a combination of a coworking facility and private club. It also sounds like something we would join if we lived in Atlanta.
Neither Roam or Plug and Play are included in our list of coworking facilities. They don't meet all of our criteria. But they are shared workspaces and certainly have coworking attributes.
The growing diversity of the coworking ecosystem highlights the increasing strength of the coworking movement. As trend analysts, we get really excited when we see this type of activity. It generally means a trend is moving from the fringe to the mainstream.