December 31, 2015
Raise your hand if you regularly log-on from a coworking space? Now take a look around that coworking space and count the strange looks you’re getting for randomly having your hand raised. OR, take notice of all of the weird looks you’re not getting because everyone is chugging along in their own little worlds and hardly any interaction is happening among those who are sharing the space.
A lot of coworking spaces try and fail to create a sense of community. Cotivation co-founder Tony Bacigalupo was facing this problem at his coworking space, New Work City, in late 2012. Memberships were lagging and the independent workers who used the space rarely interacted.a
Bacigalupo wanted to revitalize the New Work City culture from within as well as market to new potential members. He shares the idea he came up with in a blog post:
“I thought about what I needed myself, and what I saw in others. Two themes came up consistently: structure and accountability. In traditional employment, these things are taken care of, but for independent workers these critical constructs are nearly nonexistent without some kind of deliberate effort.
So to that end, I cooked up a basic but powerful concept for an accountability group, dubbed Cotivation (think collaborative motivation), where participants would meet weekly to set goals, keep each other accountable, and discuss whatever’s holding them back.”
The first Cotivation meeting resulted in over a dozen people brainstorming, sharing goals and fears, and really connecting on a deep level. If one person failed at meeting a personal goal, the rest of the group would help them figure out why and what they could do to succeed in the future. Eventually the enthusiasm for Cotivation expanded to other cities and as of fall 2014 there were active Cotivation New York, Seattle, Toronto, and Fort Collins.
In the summer of 2015, Cotivation took things one step further and started offering Cotivation Organizer training sessions. Now those who want to start Cotivation groups in their coworking spaces can be trained in the most effective ways to make it happen.
“We were excited to see in 2015 that the organizers we had trained were able to reproduce the same success we’d seen: members have stronger bonds, they’re more engaged, and the community as a whole is healthier,” said Bacigalupo. “We’re looking forward to connecting with more organizers in the coming year so we can continue to help coworking spaces build stronger, more impactful cultures.”
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