Do The Coworking Core Values Need To Evolve?

Coworking Unconference Values Session

As most of you know, March 10th marked the first-annual Coworking Unconference in Austin, Texas. For those of you that haven’t experienced this type of organized chaos before, the unconference format allows the attendees to not only choose which sessions they want to join at a moment’s notice, it allows them to create the session topics in the first place.

There were dozens of session ideas offered up on the planning board you see in the image above. A lot of the session topics had to do with the dynamic nature of the coworking movement, and where it’s headed in the future. One of my topic suggestions revolved around the Five Values of Coworking and whether they were strong enough to carry us into the future as they stand.

Right now, the values are: Collaboration, Openness, Community, Accessibility, and Sustainability. As Beth and I wrote in our ebook for space catalysts (and as you can probably see just by reading them), these terms are somewhat vague and open to drastically different interpretations.

For instance, some spaces interpret accessibility to mean easy for physically challenged persons to enter and use, while other spaces interpret it to mean the space should be centrally located within the community.

The general purpose of the conversation during the Unconference session was to see if coworkers and coworking space owners thought there might be need to adjust/edit/add/remove/clarify our current coworking core values, and what values they would suggest as replacements.

Here were some of the values/points brought up during the discussion:

People being people (being themselves)

The crew at Gangplank also had a great recommendation for us to take a look at their current manifesto and possibly work the coworking values in as a  “_____” above “_____” style. Check out their manifesto here:

Another great question that came up was: “What is the co in Coworking?”

Tony from New Work City later commented on the Google Group that ” it would be cool if we had a roughly agreed-upon set of core values, but also had a vacant spot for additional value(s) that groups could self-identify with. That way we could communicate the things we have in common but also distinguish what we focus on.”

As usual, I wanted to see what you, the Cohere members thought about the current and proposed values.

Do you think the current five values are sufficient? Are they too vague? What values would you add/take away? Do you like Tony’s suggestion about leaving space for personal interpretation?

And lastly, which values do you think are the most important part of Cohere’s personality? Please share your thoughts in a comment! (And no Skippy, you may not suggest Unicorn Butter as a value 😉

Image Credit: Beth Buczynski

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