We had a great time at the European Coworking Conference, which ended on saturday. There is no way to cover all of the event in a single blog post, but below are some of the highlights from my perspective:
1. Coworking is growing rapidly in Europe: much like the U.S., coworking and the number of coworking facilities is growing quite rapidly. There is a pretty interesting pattern to the growth - the farther south you go, the more facilities you find.
Spain and Italy have a lot of coworking facilities. The nordic countries have few. The countries in the middle - Germany, France, UK, etc - have strong coworking movements but not as strong as Spain and Italy.
I'm not sure what, if any, conclusions you can draw from this. But it is interesting.
2. European Coworking is Very Similar to U.S. Coworking : The topics, issues and discussions were very similar to what is covered at a U.S. coworking event. Even the look and feel of the event and type of people attending were similar. This is not at all surprising in today's globalized world, but still interesting.
3. Business Models are a Key Challenge: Just as in the U.S., coworking business models are a key challenge. The European facilities are experimenting with a lot of alternatives. Deskmag has a good article on some alternatives suggested by Mattia Sullini from Italy.
The bottom line is the bottom line for coworking in Europe is yet to be fully figured out.
I'll have more the on the conference after Thanksgiving.