One of the key benefits of coworking are the collaboration and networking opportunities provided by being part of a community.
Coworkers collaborate in large and small ways. They share ideas and expertise, combine talents on projects, refer business to one another and even found companies together.
So far, most of this collaboration is taking place at the local level and within a single coworking facility/community. But we're seeing early signs that these collaborative efforts are starting to expand across coworking spaces and communities.
Examples of these signs include Coworking Seattle, a shared website for coworking workspaces in the Seattle area; and The Hub, which is forming a global network of coworking spaces focused on social entrepreneurship.
The Coworking Visa Program, which allows traveling members of one space to use another coworking space, is another example of cross-community pollination.
A recent Deskmag article also points to this trend. They interview Jean-Yves Huwart, the organizer of the upcoming Coworking Europe conference. Key quote:
Coworking spaces also have a role to play as nodes of international interaction between small companies wanting to expand .... “A coworking space is an ecosystem that can connect with other local ecosystems,” Huwart says. “They could be a gateway or hub.”
I will be attending the conference along with Emergent Research Managing Director, Carolyn Ockels. We're looking forward to learning more about cross community collaboration, as well as European coworking in general.