GCUC UK 2018 Recap
We had a really nice time at GCUC UK.
Held in the same building where the Guardian has their headquarters, GCUC’s inaugural conference for the UK had a good turnout.
We did quite a bit leading up to the conference, during the conference and even after the conference, which I’ll cover below.
Pre-conference user-research session
Leading up to GCUC, we put on two Cobot workshops. The first one was hosted in Berlin by the very cosy juggleHUB. Our team got to meet face-to-face with both new and experienced space operators, all at various stages of using Cobot at their space.
Not only was this an incredibly informative session for our product design team, it was also a really nice opportunity to put a face to some of the people we support locally in Berlin.
For our second workshop — this time in London — work.life let us host our workshop at their Fitzrovia location (thank you work.life!). Here too, we gathered a lot of great feedback on how Cobot is used in-situ. Our favorite part was watching Luke from work.life interact with Jane Brook (from The Old Cinema) in sharing his IT and operations startup knowledge with her.
Exchanges like this are so satisfying, but also give us some great opportunities to continually improve Cobot. We hope to do more sessions like these in the coming months.
The Actual Conference Days
Like the conference topics for GCUC USA 2018, panel topics of this conference skewed towards commercial real estate — think multi-location, multi-million dollar operations for “flexible office space”.
Our team took some great notes during the panels, of which I’ll share a portion below:
UK Market Report — Let’s Have a Look at What’s Happening
- The UK has bigger spaces than in the rest of Europe
- “coworking” as a search term ranks higher on Google than service offices
- The majority of spaces are located in central West London
The Great Debate: Is the Coworking Bubble About to Burst in the UK?
- Um…nobody thinks it’s going to burst
- People are looking for flexibility in times of instability and the unknown
- The line between traditional office spaces and coworking/flex spaces are getting blurred
It’s All About the Customer Needs: Is Niche the Way to Stand Out in a Crowd?
- Niche spaces are super popular in the UK and the consensus is that you either niche or die in the market. Niche is the only way to stand out in the crowd.
- Niche coworking makes £
- Childcare shouldn’t be considered niche or confused with “women’s spaces”
While these economic phenomena are worth paying attention to, we found we got the most conference value in our smaller, one-on-one conversations and break-out sessions.
Connecting with other people
Aside from some of the bigger sponsors, other players were there such as Office R&D (a super-friendly competitor — hi Monchil and Andrew!), the Coworking Accelerator (rich in knowledge of starting up your own community enterprises) and Jeannine from included.io and the European Coworking Assembly.
Speaking of community, we also had the pleasure of chatting with Bernie J Mitchell and Jeannine van der Linden. At various points of reflection at the venues, we’d meet to discuss a wide range of topics contextualizing our work and expanding our knowledge together.
Memorable discussions included:
- Differences in how Europeans and Americans view “culture”
- How academics and artists can form loose, yet fortifying coalitions for “space” research
- The importance of diversifying workspaces (we facilitated an unconference session together with Liz Elam and Benjamin Dyett — who so eloquently held and provoked great questions)
Being a hapa myself, I’ve particularly curious about questions like:
- What makes a coworking space accessible and inclusive?
- Why don’t we see more people of color and different ability up on those shiny, mid-century modern stock photos that so much of the industry uses to sell itself?
While these questions may not be answered easily just yet, it’s part of what makes this movement connected to many others around the world. Just think of all the other industries out there that may be having the same questions that we do.
Cheers and shoutout to Bernie and Jeannine for approaching these questions together #keepingitreal #moreplease
I’ll leave you with this last photo of a description for an installation one could have easily passed by on their rush to the conference activities for the day. The piece — called “Longplayer” — is by an artist named Jem Finer. The description from their site reads:
Longplayer is a one thousand year long musical composition. It began playing at midnight on the 31st of December 1999, and will continue to play without repetition until the last moment of 2999, at which point it will complete its cycle and begin again.
Longplayer is composed for singing bowls — an ancient type of standing bell — which can be played by both humans and machines, and whose resonances can be very accurately reproduced in recorded form. It is designed to be adaptable to unforeseeable changes in its technological and social environments, and to endure in the long-term as a self-sustaining institution.
If you liked what you’ve been reading, we hope you’ll join us at GCUC Canada.
Join us and other coworking delegates, operators and industry leaders in the Rocky Mountains. We’re looking forward to discussing community building, independent workers, women in coworking, collaborative workspaces and the growing coworking movement.
Also, let us know if we can support your local conferences, meetups, and other gatherings.
We’re always looking for events that benefit the broader coworking or tech communities to attend and support as a team. Which ones do you go to or would you recommend to us?
We’re open to events of all sizes, locations and even languages. If you are organizing anything, be sure to let us know.
Happy Coworking :)