When a small group of coworking enthusiasts gathered in Austin, Texas in 2008, they knew they were on to something special. They couldn’t have known, however, that their budding movement would turn into a global industry. But, turn into an industry it has, complete with big money, corporate involvement, and a strong focus on scale. As the Global Coworking Unconference Conference (GCUC) executive director Liz Elam said at last week’s conference in downtown Los Angeles, “If you’re not thinking about growth, you’re not thinking.”
As an industry, coworking is on a meteoric rise. In fact, it’s still at the base of a sharp growth curve with only two percent market penetration. The industry is hot and it’s expected to stay hot, with this unprecedented growth continuing for an estimated five to seven years. As Steve King, partner at Emergent Research told Elam, “You can’t build [coworking spaces] fast enough for the demand coming your way.” Despite the incredible growth in the West, Elam says the growth rate in China is “making us look like we’re standing still.” In the face of all this growth, coworking and GCUC are changing.
At last year’s conference, Tony Bacigalupo from Open Coworking and New Work Cities kicked off the event with a question: Who thinks coworking means dividing up office space to sell at a profit? Not a hand went up. He then asked those who think coworking is something more than that to raise their hand. Nearly every hand in the room went up, accompanied by cheers, shouts, and hollers of approval.
This excerpt was taken from “Look out Coworking, Here Comes Big Money” by Cat Johnson from Shareable. To read the full article click here!