This week the Coworking IDEA Project will host a panel at Coworking Europe: Europe’s biggest coworking conference. We caught up with one of the organizers, Ashley Proctor, to learn more.
Hey Ashley, thanks so much for speaking with me! Can you tell me a little bit about yourself and the Coworking IDEA Project?
My name is Ashley Proctor, and I’ve been leading coworking communities for the past 18 years. Through my company Creative Blueprint I manage Coworking Canada and COHIP (Coworking Health Insurance Plan) and I co-produce the Coworking Alliance Summit. I am one of the co-facilitators of the Coworking IDEA Project—an International alliance of coworking operators and organizations who are committed to making the industry more Inclusive, Diverse, Equitable and Accessible.
Although we’ve been working on this initiative behind the scenes for the past decade or so, in 2021 the Coworking IDEA project began issuing public monthly challenges, asking industry professionals to dive even deeper and take meaningful actions in their own communities. On December 1st 2021, the Coworking IDEA project will host a panel discussion at the Coworking Europe Conference.
What’s the significance of the Coworking IDEA Project panel appearing at CWE this year?
We’ve been having IDEA discussions and hosting participatory workshops and IDEA sessions at the smaller more intimate industry events (like CCCSEE and Coworking Canada) for many years but when it comes to the larger, International conferences like Coworking Europe, the topic tends to be addressed around the edges of the event, in breakout rooms, unconference sessions, on social media, and in hallway discussions. To see an IDEA discussion on the main stage is a small step, but a big shift in the right direction, and it’s a real opportunity for the CWE audience to hear from an incredibly diverse and talented group of coworking experts. This panel is absolutely stacked with coworking rockstars.
What impact do you hope that the Coworking IDEA Project panel at CWE will have on the industry?
As always, I’m hopeful that when people know better, they’ll do better, and that when professionals in the coworking industry are given the tools and the opportunities to make small changes in their behaviour, their language, their hiring practices and in their coworking communities, those changes will ripple out beyond their spaces, beyond their members, and into the world at large.
A more inclusive, diverse, equitable and accessible coworking industry doesn’t just benefit those who were previously excluded or marginalized, it truly benefits all of us. It’s no surprise that the coworking spaces that are thriving, are investing time and energy into IDEA practices. It's not just the future of work, it’s the future. The future we are collaboratively building.
I hope that this panel will serve as an introduction to many who have not yet engaged with the IDEA Project or the monthly IDEA challenges, so they know we create a safe space to hold these larger conversations, and a brave space to practice what they are learning.
What does the Coworking IDEA Project have planned for 2022?
In 2022 the Coworking IDEA Project will continue to issue monthly challenges and host free conversations. We will also continue to raise funds for IDEA facilitators and speakers, and support value-aligned initiatives that will ensure inclusion, diversity, equity and accessibility remain in our minds and most importantly - our actions - for years to come. If you’d like to propose a topic, help organize, sponsor, or co-facilitate an upcoming challenge—please email us. All are welcome!
How can our readers connect with the Coworking IDEA Project online?
You can find the Coworking IDEA Project and the monthly challenges online here: https://coworkingidea.org
Or follow along on social media:
Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1017837808390841
YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCTdgLT2lwaMQoIVOiud7k0Q
If you aren’t already using Cobot as your coworking management software, give it a go! You’ll find that our features can help you run your coworking space more effectively and grow your community. Just sign up for a free trial or a live demo session. And if you have questions, our support team is all ears!