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How does coworking create value? Australia’s first coworking conference explores

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The first official coworking event to take place in the region, the Coworking Conference Australia, is just over a month away. The program, officially announced last week, includes presentations not only from the coworking community, but from corporate Australia and coworkers themselves, with topics exploring the theme ‘how coworking creates value’ amongst all sectors and industries.

While there are just under 60 coworking spaces in Australia, which is few by regional comparison, the growth of the movement in the south pacific exceeded 500% in the past two years. The types of coworking spaces, and the ways they have been embraced by different sectors in society, is an interesting point for debate. 

Australia and the region: a unique coworking experience

Indeed, the movement in Australia in particular has been embraced by big businesses, who have not only adopted the principles of open and collaborative workspace as means of increasing productivity and innovation, but have incorporated coworking spaces into their business models. A number of national banks, the HQ of international insurance firms and international brands like Deloitte – who is joining as a supporter of the conference – use coworking spaces on a regular basis to hold meetings, workshops, and as alternative workspaces for employees.

In this regard, Australian coworking spaces have created a new dimension of partnership with the corporate world, and so have much to share with other coworking communities around the world, where the movement is not yet widely-known. With speakers and panelists coming from as far as New York, Philadelphia, Indonesia, and Auckland, this conference will present the opportunity for cross-regional learning and international dialogue.

A conference addressing regional challenges and experiences

But there will of course be a strong focus on regional experiences. The Coworking Conference Australia will reflect the diversity of industry and sector, with presentations and attendees both representing coworkers, space operators, and the Australian business community. Government sectors and other stakeholders from the design and tech industries will also be involved, with office furniture design company Haworth supporting the collaborative work movement as a main sponsor.

The event is co-organized by Deskwanted, an online platform for finding and booking collaborative workspace, and Hub Melbourne and Inspire9, two of Melbourne’s best-known coworking spaces. The Future of Work project, a Brisbane-based consultancy helping big business become more innovative through a shift in work practices, is a main supporter.

The first day, held at Hub Melbourne, will invite experts from the coworking community and beyond to share practical lessons and invite participants to explore the future and potential of the movement.

Day two, held at Inspire9 and facilitated by Trampoline, will be an unconference, whereby attendees set the order of the day.

A networking event, Wine Down, is planned for the Friday, and organizers have taken strong measures to help connect the community in the weeks leading up to the event.

Connectivity beyond the event

Aside from the networking events, Startup Stay, London-based platform connecting travelling entrepreneurs to locals, has partnered to offer special invitations to join the online network, giving attendees the opportunity to maximize meaningful business relationships.

Coworking à la Australian – no fun without the beach

A pop-up coworking project, ‘Coworking by the Beach’, is taking place simultaneously at Coolangatta Beach as a part of the 10-day bleach* festival. While participants at the conference won’t be able to duck off for a quick dip, the two coworking crowds will ignore the 1,700-odd kilometres that lie between them, exchanging knowledge – and friendly city vs. beach banter – via Twitter conversations and live feeds.

Around 100 are expected to attend the inaugural event. Early bird tickets are available until the 31st, when the standard ticket price will be charged. For more information about the conference, information on how to volunteer, or general inquiries, contact Anna from Deskwanted.

It’s sure to be a truly inspiring event, helping propel the coworking and collaborative work movement and ensure its widespread knowledge in the region.

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Coworking Conference Australia
When: March 1 & 2
Where: Melbourne, Australia; Day 1, Hub Melbourne; Day 2, Inspire9
How Much: AU$86 Early bird, $100 thereafter. Last minute tickets, $129

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