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[manchester-coworking] An idea for more structured co-working

From: Paul Robinson
Subject: [manchester-coworking] An idea for more structured co-working
Date: Thu, 22 Nov 2007 14:34:28 +0000

I've been thinking about how to improve an occasional day of co-working.

In the long term, we might want to look at more permanent space, but I'm thinking about how to increase collaboration and co-operation in a very 'easy' way, with perhaps one day a month like the one we just ran, but borrowing some ideas from what we discussed and what we've seen work. Right now I'm not talking about finding somewhere for us to work full-time, but stepping up the benefits of co-working gently.

How about this: we grab a space (MDDA is fine) one day a month. BarCamp style, people are encouraged to turn up with an idea of a project they need help with, or an idea they want to make happen (but realise on their own they can't do), or an area they need some expertise in. Examples: I really need some help with SEO and where to start with learning about it; I've just thought of a great service we could build together...; The business plan for this project I'm working on needs some creative input

There could be up to say, 8 x 45-minute sessions in one day. If there are more than 8 projects, the 8 that are going to get the most people wanting to work on them go up on the board. The smaller groups can hijack an adjacent space.

We then use three spaces. The small office (near the door at MDDA) is used for the eight sessions.

The large room we worked in is a quiet work area where people can get work done and are able to concentrate (perhaps because they've got code to fix, etc.)

The coffee area is for informal chats, or for those people working who don't mind yacking whilst they do it.

We could do it with just two spaces if people don't mind working on their own stuff in the coffee area and we use the main room as a meeting space

It means in one day you get up to 8 groups of people working on things, people can crack on with their own stuff regardless, and we get the social aspect (almost) of a BarCamp.

It's informal, structured, productive, useful and helps us achieve some of the goals of co-working without the expense.

Those of us who want more permanent space or want to work with each more often can organise that ourselves, but this gives us a kind of recruitment agent that anybody can sign up to and get involved in, and it's up to them to take it on to the next stage.

It's not Co-Working, it's not BarCamp. It's BarWork! :-) Yes, we need a better name...


Paul Robinson

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