Community Facilitation, Coliving Apps & more at March’s Re:Connect

What are the benefits of community facilitation in coliving

What role can coliving apps & tech play in community facilitation?

Coliving operators and other players in the coliving industry are currently exploring these questions, which we find fascinating to hold and explore more.

Myself and Matt Lesniak (Head of Impact & Innovation at Conscious Coliving) held a coliving session at Unissu’s Re:Connect, as part of the ongoing industry conversations around the potential and challenges of technology & community building in coliving.

The higher question still holds: How can apps, tech, and community facilitation help coliving businesses thrive?

The huge problems facing the industry
can best be solved efficiently through

This proclamation by Eddie Holmes, CEO at Unissu, is one with which I and the rest of my team at Conscious Coliving feel very aligned. 

Collaboration is a core value that has served not only as a foundational base for our approach as a team and a business, but also as a pillar for the growth of the coliving sector at large.

In this article I’d like to share with you some insights about March’s Re:Connect, as well as some exciting things ahead that we will be sharing with you in the weeks and months ahead from our current collaborations with Co-LivSALTO KSArt of Co and Coliving Insights.

With that, let’s explore March’s Re:Connect, our session on community facilitation.

March's Re:Connect Coliving Sessions

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    The event (which occurs four times a year) invited real estate audiences from around the world to come together and share knowledge, including around the topic of coliving. 

    As such, myself and Matt were very happy to be invited to speak for a second time at Unissu’s Re:Connect, an initiative known as “Burning Man for Real Estate.”  

    There were a total of 432 sessions across 25 relevant topics for the real estate industry, including:

    • Women in real estate
    • Sustainability in real estate
    • FinTech & PropTech
    • Real estate & data
    • AR VR Immersive Technology
    • Innovation in affordable housing
    • Blockchain in real estate
    • AI in real estate
    • Modern workplaces & tenant experience
    • The future of residential
    • Healthy buildings 

    The sponsor for March’s coliving sessions was COHO. We were happy to see that the topic of coliving included over 20 presentations and sessions  covering the following areas and more:

    • Building community at scale
    • Technology for coliving
    • Pros and cons of Proptech in coliving
    • Shared living management
    • Rural coliving
    • Coliving for over 40s
    • Coliving branding
    • Design for happiness & wellbeing
    • Co-Liv’s accreditation scheme
    • UK Coliving Association

    This highlighted for us what we insiders of the coliving industry know already: coliving is becoming ever more present in the real estate sector.

    Coliving Apps & Tech Research

    Before we go into our Re:Connect session, I’d like to share with you an update on the Coliving Mobile Apps Survey we have been running since February. Here you can explore the Coliving Mobile Apps Survey Results.

    Since the release of The Community Facilitation Handbook v1.0, Conscious Coliving has been refining our reflections around several of these topics and in particular around tech. 

    We have been doing this via a variety of research approaches including interviews with operators, demos with tech providers, and the Coliving Mobile Apps Survey for coliving operators.

    The aim of the Coliving Mobile Apps Survey is to understand how coliving operators and residents are currently leveraging the power of mobile apps to optimise resident user & community experience. 

    The survey also seeks to find out where there is room for improvement and innovation in ways that tech providers can help meet.

    We invited coliving operators around the world to respond and have currently received over 30 responses. The answers already offer much insight into the most common types of mobile apps currently being used by residents, what features are being used, and which features are on the wishlist for the future.

    The answers are also helping us identify where app developers can innovate and create roadmaps that better meet the needs of the coliving industry.

    We will be running this survey until end of Q4, so if you are a coliving operator and have still not filled out the survey, you can do so here: 

    From all this research, we have been gathering insights especially in regards to how tech can help foster community-building, wellbeing, and sustainability efforts in coliving spaces.

    Leveraging Community Facilitation for Coliving

    In the first part of our Re:Connect session, I started off giving an introduction about our recently published, free, and open-source Community Facilitation Handbook v1.0, which we co-authored along with Gui Perdrix, founder of Art of Co and Director of Co-Liv.

    The aim of The Community Facilitation Handbook v1.0 (which currently is a finalist for one of Coliving Awards categories, more on that below) is to:

    Provide guidance and a framework
    on how coliving operators can
    leverage the role of a Community Facilitator to
    create a thriving community experience for their residents.

    Our input as co-authors was enriched with contributions from over 15 community facilitators and experts in the coliving field. We like to emphasize this type of collaboration because we are all learning together. 

    Coliving is an industry in its infancy stages and the more knowledge and experience we share, the faster we can mature into a thriving and flourishing sector. 

    This approach, combined with making the Handbook open-source, also aligns with our philosophy of coopetition over competition, and of creating content that is of value for all players across the sector. You can read more about these values and approaches in our Coliving in 2021 blog post. 

    Some of the highlights I included from the Handbook in the Re:Connect session were: 

    • How do we define community?
    • What is the role of a community facilitator?
    • What responsibilities do not belong to a community facilitator?
    • The community vs convenience paradox
    • And an overview of the Community Facilitation Toolbox including tools for community design, group facilitation, communal rituals, communication and conflict resolution, and technology integrations. 

    Coliving Apps & Tech for Community Building

    Authentic community-building requires time, effort, care and buy-in. Some of the most common challenges that coliving spaces face in regards to building community include:

    • Conflict among residents
    • Safety concerns 
    • Low resident engagement 
    • Tense dynamics between coliving residents and staff 
    Coliving Apps & Tech for Community Building

    Fortunately, app solutions can help coliving operators and residents address these challenges. During Re:Connect, Matt shared some examples of these. 

    • Sowebuild, for instance, fosters connection and engagement among residents through their features of community feed, easy service ticketing, group and private chatting. Res:Harmonics helps reduce safety concerns around Covid by allowing users to determine the regularity and thoroughness of housekeeping while housekeepers can alert guests to cleaning times.
    • SALTO KS, is another example of an app integration that fosters a sense of comfort and safety within coliving spaces by providing digital key access.
    • TheHouseMonk is a property management software that eases communication and interactions between residents and staff via features such as  integrated automated invoices and payment collection system, as well as a virtual help desk to manage requests and complaints

    We are currently exploring many other tech solutions that can support coliving operators in their resident & community experience, such as MonBuiling, District Tech, res:harmonics and Spaceflow among others, included within the Coliving Apps & Tech Guide 🙂

    Coliving Apps & Tech for Enhancing Sustainability

    Sustainability-related tech is another exciting aspect of what we have been researching. also, it is a growing conversation across the real estate and coliving industries.

    On this topic I’d like to share with you some of the sustainability & cost reduction specific data collected so far from the Coliving Mobile Apps Survey (you will be able to see all the data from the survey on the Coliving Mobilie Apps & Tech Guide):

    Coliving Apps & Tech for Sustainability

    62.5% of coliving operators stated that their residents currently use mobile apps to reduce negative environmental impact and costs, and/or that this feature is in their future plans for their residents mobile apps use cases.

    Some of the current of how tech is enabling coliving residents towards adopting more sustainable behavior include the following:

    •  “Sustainable Stay” features offered by Innovation Lighthouse such as a water-saving shower timer and sensor. 
    • Hmlet, a coliving operator in Asia, has recently started the interesting service of furniture rental as a service, in which community members are able to subscribe and furniture.
    • Tulu, which is a library of things, is a great platform for communities to exchange resources, objects, and skills. 
    •  Joule Bug  allows users to discover new ways to go green and to share advances and tricks with other users through videos, games, and action-packed challenges.
    • Oroeco allows users to calculate their daily carbon footprint based on transport, food and leisure activities, and electricity consumption. The app also encourages community action by allowing users to share and compare with friends.
    • Tenant experience app Spaceflow offers an integration with Flowbox to monitor energy usage in buildings,  as a way of aligning with upcoming EU regulations around monitoring energy consumption in buildings.  

    To find out more about this topic, feel free to check out the sessions on Sustainable Development Goals & ESG at March’s Re:Connect.

    This topic, which included 18 sessions in total, was sponsored by PropTech for Good and covered the following areas among others:

    • SDG benefits for business
    • Sustainable urban spaces
    • Shared housing design
    • Air pollution and solutions
    • Sustainability and finance
    • Innovation physiology
    • SDGs, developer & construction
    • AI & analytics for commercial buildings
    • Open-source for smart cities

    One app that supports this topic is the SDGs in Action app helps users learn about the 17 Sustainable Development Goals through explanatory videos, key facts and figures. It also allows users to list relevant actions and events that others can join.

    Coliving Apps & Tech for Wellbeing

    Regarding wellbeing tech, Matt first shared some of the frameworks that can offer guidance for wellbeing in coliving spaces. Some of the shared frameworks are:

    Coliving Apps & Tech for Wellbeing

    He then gave some examples of spaces that are integrating these frameworks, including through use of tech, including spaces like Second Home, Mason & Fifth, and IKEA Home of Tomorrow. 

    For instance, tech empowered aquaponics, hydroponics and aeroponics at the IKEA Home of Tomorrow allows for the circulation of food, water, waste between different rooms, the growing of legumes, microgreens, herbs, and several species of edible fungi. 

    In our upcoming Coliving Insights article and  Coliving Apps & Tech Guide, we go into more details about different indicators of wellbeing that are relevant for coliving spaces and how tech can help foster these to enhance the wellbeing of all coliving residents. 

    For instance, the physical vitality of residents can be enhanced through yoga, fitness, bike-sharing, and sleep tracking apps such as  Yoga StudioSeven, and Mobike, and SleepScore 

    Coliving Apps & Tech: What’s to come?

    As mentioned in the begening of this article, the conversation around the potential of coliving apps and technology is very much alive within the coliving industry.

    These are exciting times, although things can get a bit technical and we can face the challenge of information overwhelm and confusion in our journeys. We are very much aware of these challenges that operators and the overall industry face. Thus, we have made a priority to tackle this topic and keep the conversation going:

    Co-Tech: Innovating Coliving with Technology

    The 5th edition of Coliving Insights covers how tech can serve to innovate and enhance the evolution of the coliving sector. And as you will see in this edition, we are only scratching the surface of what the real estate has to offer in terms of digital transformations.

    Artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, robotics, smart appliances and property management apps are not just nice, shiny instruments that will legitimise your coliving space further in the eye of both consumers and investors. They are a means to an end. 

    What truly distinguishes coliving from any other real estate asset class is the community experience. And with modern technology, along with innovative business practices such as design thinking and growth-driven design, coliving is primed to offer a community experience like never before.

    This edition includes 140+ pages of insights from 25+ contributors that dive deep into the technology solutions of the real estate industry, and explore how to integrate them to enhance your coliving space, experience, operations, profitability and sustainability.

    And so, here we are. In this 5th edition of Coliving Insights, you will gain greater awareness into how truly intricate the coliving experience is, and how technology can tap into every dimension to optimise absolutely all aspects of coliving, at every step of the way.

    This edition was released on March 31st, so make sure to grab your free copy!

    Facilitating thriving community through coliving apps

    Within the above-mentioned “Co-Tech: Innovating Coliving with Technology”, you will find an article that I have authored for you: “Facilitating thriving community through coliving apps”.

    If you are curious from what has been shared so far in this post, then my article in Coliving Insights Nº5 will be a natural next step.

    In this article, I detail how coliving apps can help foster community in coliving spaces, pulling on data from the Coliving Mobile Apps Survey and the other research we have been carrying out. 

    Coliving Apps & Tech Guide

    The Coliving Apps & Tech Guide features over 20 technology companies that have created coliving specific solutions and are working on exciting roadmaps for you. 

    We  will be sharing much more of the data from the Coliving Mobile Apps Survey Results, as well as insights from our conversations with operators and tech providers. If you haven’t already, you can participate in the research here.

    There are great solutions out there already for coliving communities, and so much is coming ahead. The main challenge: finding the right fit for your specific coliving business model & community experience design.

    This guide tackles the most common questions coliving operators and developers face in their journeys of identifying which tech to use and how to best employ it to take their operations to the next level.

    Wrapping up for March, April here we come!

    There are several Co-Liv events happening in April – we hope to see you there:

    And during April also the winners of the upcoming Coliving Awards will be defined! The ceremony will take place on the 6th of May, 2021 at 17:00 – 20:00 (CET) during the Global Co-Liv Summit.

    We are happy to announce that Conscious Coliving is finalist in 2 categories, and proud that in one of them is in collaboration with Gui Perdrix from Art of Co.

    Coliving Awards

    The Conscious Coliving Manifesto v3.0 is one of the finalists for the “Best initiative Fostering Coliving“, while The Community Facilitation Handbook v1.0 is one of the finalists for “Best Thought Leadership Piece“.

    We thank you in advance for your votes!

    This article has been authored for you by:

    Transformational Coach and facilitator. Trainer in mindfulness, sharing circles, and how to live and lead more consciously. Co-author of the Community Facilitation Handbook and the Coliving Apps & Tech Guide. Facilitates community engagement strategies.

    If you found this article useful, please consider sharing it with others 😊🙏

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