The second day of activities of Latam Coworking Summit Mexico 2019 was full of spaces that fostered dynamic conversations around the challenges and current opportunities of both coworking and flexible work spaces. To begin, the panel "Challenges and opportunities in workspaces" was moderated by Javier Hoyuela, executive producer of TeleFórmula. This activity was attended by Juan Pedro Beguerisse, founder of .Krow, Gerardo Nava, CEO of Nodus Business Center, Mario Romero, Managing Director of Impact Hub in CDMX and Guillermo Cerón, CEO of Grupo Frontint 5.0. The speakers contributed several experiences derived from their involvement with collaborative workspaces, and in general, they supported the idea that it is necessary to break the myth that the opening of a "flex" workspace is a simple process that anyone can carry out successfully.
After various arguments, the speakers concluded with some recommendations for new managers: Mario Romero said that a new operator has to adapt dynamically to its contextual reality, understand what kind of community they want to support with the management of your space and also to get deeply into what their competitors are doing. Gerardo Nava recommended choosing a specific niche to address, that means, the specialization of the public and the identification of the added value that will be provided to it.
Later, the panel "Impulse to open innovation from collaborative spaces", moderated by Eduardo Ezban, Founder & CEO of Space Consulting was enriched by the participation of Luis X. Barrios, Co-founder & CEO of The Pool, Isaac Carreón , Founder & CEO of Cow.tech and Manuel Del Valle, Founder & Partner of Homework. As representative members of the ecosystem of innovation and entrepreneurship in Mexico, the speakers shared the stories of their spaces, now consolidated and industry benchmarks in the CDMX; Isaac Carreón, for example, talked about the road that Cow.tech has had to go trough to be a project that began with 200 m2 to currently have three locations: one with 2,200 m2 in Roma neighborhood, another on Revolution Av. with 1,500 m2 and another one in Polanco with 4,000 m2.
Talking about innovation and collaborative work, Luis X. Barrios argued that design and architecture are important within a coworking space, but they’re not everything when creating a community of innovation. In addition, he mentioned that innovation is very close to the labor culture processes that are handled within the collaborative spaces and how is the treatment given to the collaborators.
Manuel Del Valle said that one of the main challenges of the collaborative spaces of innovation is the constant learning to achieve quality standards and alternative and flexible solutions that benefit the client and the owner and that ultimately generate profitability.
Later, Iván Jiménez de Sandi-García, Director of Growth Initiatives, Real Estate & Design Alliances of Steelcase, moderated the panel "Architecture and real estate industry around coworking". Jiménez participated in sympathy with Ximena Díaz, Interior Design Senior at Gensler, Eduardo Pulido, Project and Works Director at Grupo Estuco, Lizeth Herrera, Infrastructure Leader at Ruta N and Jerónimo Prieto, Director at Terral Inmobiliaria. This interesting conversation space was enriched by participations such as Lizeth Herrera’s, from Ruta N (project established in Medellin), which mentioned that the current work modality, both in design, architecture and infrastructure issues, should be based on experiences. In this context, Jerónimo Prieto spoke from his expertise and how it is that the construction of educational spaces such as the campuses of Escuela Bancaria y Comercial are also deeply based on the generation of experiences and the fulfillment of the public’s needs.
Eduardo Pulido of Grupo Estuco (company whose main areas of action are corporate, residential complexes, restaurants, retail and industrial) opened the conversation in relation to the fact that the industry is filling up with projects without solid planning both at the real estate level and at the architectural. Ximena Díaz, from Gensler, a leading global firm in interior design and architecture, commented on flexible work schemes and the way in which they have been introduced in large companies such as Microsoft, IBM or Facebook, ensuring that 65% of this type of corporations will soon migrate to a coworking space, whether operated by a third party within their own offices or to an independent place where they continue with their operations. This does not mean that traditional real estate contracts are going to disappear, however, the work schemes are transforming rapidly, commented Diaz.
The last debate space of the day was constituted by several international speakers of the coworking world with great expertise in the industry: Ernisio Martines, President of the ANCEV (National Association of Coworkings and Virtual Desktops of Brazil) and founder of VBA Coworking, Jaime González, Vice President of ChileCowork and CEO of Housenovo, Manuel Zea, Director of Coworking Spain Conference and Mauricio Savariego, Managing Director of Sach Office Hosting and co-founder of Kokatu and Zora Systems. Titled "Associations of business centers and coworkings" and moderated by Manuel Del Valle, Founder & Partner of Homework, this panel served to learn about the process of forming associations such as the ANCEV and ChileCowork, in addition, the activity served to gather opinions about the future of the groups of this branch.
Jaime González mentioned that of the 180 coworking spaces that exist in Chile, 140 are located in Santiago de Chile, so the formation of ChileCowork focused, at the time, on the regions far from the capital. Mauricio Savariego, of Sach Office Hosting, mentioned that there are currently around 350 brands of collaborative spaces in Mexico, between coworking spaces, business centers and "flex" offices. The industry is broad: a large group of professionals with the same interests, so it would be a paradox not to go the same way, Savariego said.
All the speakers agreed that positioning coworking collaboration should be the first objective of operators in general, however, this is not fully met in practice. In response to the common question, “how do we help each other in the industry?”, this space generated interesting conclusions regarding the future of the industry in Latin America and in Spain, and made it possible to specify points in common with respect to good practices in associations in this field.
“If there is no collaboration of the associates, the association dies”, Ernisio Martines.