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From San Francisco to Barcelona
August 04, 2013

June 07, 2012

Collaboration: The Long Journey
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The CoWorking Institute is an undertaking of the pioneer of technologies for collaborative work and play Bernard DeKoven and newsmaster Gerrit Visser.

The home of Coworking and our Guides to the resources on Coworking, Twitter, Jaiku and Facebook are dedicated to the exploration of collaboration:

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    CoWorking Visions

    From San Francisco to Barcelona

    Posted by: Bernard DeKoven
    August 04, 2013

    Gracia Work Center: Recently, I was interviewed by a group of people from the Gracia Work Center in Barcelona. They were working on a film to be titled "From San Francisco to Barcelona: Searching for the Origin of Coworking." And I, mostly by chance, and partly by luck, find myself part of what has become the Coworking Movement.

    When I first coined the term "coworking," I was describing a phenomenon I called "working together as equals." I was exploring how the insights I gained in designing games and facilitating play could apply to the facilitation of work.

    I arrived at a method for facilitating business meetings using a computer (I called this method "technography," and managed to secure for myself a position as "a groupware pioneer."

    I learned, somewhat reluctantly, that the whole idea of "working together as equals" was a lot more revolutionary than I had naively assumed.

    They are graded and isolated, categorized and shuffled into a hierarchy. They are separated by rank and salary level, creating an indelibly competitive relationship which, even when they find themselves members of the same team, is rife with distrust, duplicity and often downright sabotage.

    The genius of what became the Coworking Movement was to create an entirely different approach to "working together as equals." They made it possible, also using technology, but by creating an environment in which people could work together, as equals, separately - each working on their own projects, pursuing their own, separate business interests. In this way, they were free to help each other without worrying about competitive pressures. And the result was productivity, community, and, surprisingly often, deeply shared fun.

    The interview afforded me the first opportunity I had to make that connection clear - to you, and to myself. The San Francisco connection was, of course, my work with New Games. And I discovered that the Barcelona connection was not just because I had coined a term, but, deeper than that, because we had shared a deep appreciation of the joy of participating in a creative, playful community.

    Bernard DeKoven

    Via (searching for the origin of coworking)