Very few people get the chance, if ever to say they’re having to go to Bali for work, let alone get to say it twice. The island, believed to be the center of the universe by it’s native population, attracts a wide array of individuals; those looking for great surfing, to perfect their yoga moves, or perhaps find themselves, not necessarily to attend a coworking conference. That’s just one of the reasons why Steve Monroe and Peter Wall co-founders of Hubud (Hub in Ubud) decided to launch Coworking Unconference Asia in 2015 and host it again in Bali one more time in 2016. With 10 coworking spaces and more on the way, Bali has surprisingly taken a lead role in coworking advocacy throughout Indonesia and Southeast Asia.
Though, it can’t be that surprising considering the surge of tourists visiting the island ever since the publication of Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert and the movie adaptation staring Julia Roberts, along with them a demand for reliable internet…and working space. While some of the locations certainly cater to these visitors, there are just as many that are finding expats and natives that are excited to join their coworking communities.
With the rise of coworking around the globe, and the creation of a new subset within the larger overall industry, has come a plethora of conferences to support its evolution. Newcomers are desperate for resources other than a wikipage or Google group to learn how to open a space. Owners of existing spaces are looking to further network and plan their expansions and everyone is looking for best practices so as to make their businesses more profitable and effective. Coworking Unconference Asia is different from other conferences held around the world, not just because of the location, but because of the unique approach taken by the organizers.
Hubud’s co-founders come from backgrounds in education, which is easily seen from the approach they take in managing the coworking space in addition to the launch of Turnpoint, a new destination education concept run out of Hubud. Inspired by other conferences around the world, their only goal was to bring the concept to the Asian and Indonesian coworking community, keeping their expectations low as it was the first time any program of this nature had been produced. With close to 200 attendees from over 30 different countries, those expectations were blown away, though the team knew there was room for improvement.
A combination of feedback from 2015 attendees and observing other conferences trying to scale their programming and global reach left the CUAsia team asking themselves the same questions over and over again: How do we offer greater value to our attendees? How do we strive for quality over quantity? That’s the overarching theme for this year’s event and is evident through the expansion of Coworking Indonesia programming (taking place in English this year), the addition of excursions and a curated coworking tour of the island and the new Coworking Academy.
The Coworking Academy has been designed as a full day workshop offering attendees learning and solutions for those who are looking to open a space or are newly opened but feel stuck. Presenters include coworking experts such as Alex Hillman of Indy Hall, Jonathan O’Byrne from Collective Works and Melina Chan from inspire9. Different from other “Coworking 101” programs, attendees will receive tangible tools and templates to support executing what they learn.
Day One of the conference offers exclusive new results from the 2015 Global Coworking Conference as presented by Carsten Foertsch of Deskmag. In addition to industry statistics and data, workplace design expert Anisa Mohammed will present “Future of Work: Purpose > Place”. Other presentations include Digital Nomads in Asia, The Rise of Shared Workspaces in Shopping Centers and Coworking 2.0 – Niche Spaces and New Models.
Day Two offers a traditional coworking unconference where attendees set the agenda and discussion, allowing better dialogue and interaction. A major feedback from unconference attendees has been that as the industry grows, so does the disconnect for those who are in unconference sessions. More attendees doesn’t necessarily mean more value. The sessions are being curated to offer opportunities for those in similar places on their coworking journeys to better connect and will include a new guided visioning exercise to offer attendees additional tools to best execute on what they learn.
Registration is open now and includes a wide array of options including individual day tickets, full access passes and all-inclusive packages that come with hotel and food accommodations.
Coworkaholic Omnimedia is a Media Partner of CUAsia2016.