Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Making an impact - Back to the future of work

So back to the subject 'future of work'. 
Why you might well ask am I so obsessed with this topic?

After all for some the future of work is already happening. Coworking, sharing apps, digital tech and home businesses are all right now.
Innovation Centre Cafe Exeter University

Well in a nutshell I want people to benefit from my experience and that of my father and peers. Lets start with Dad, I loved my dad but like many kids I knew I didn't see him much during the week. He drove lorries, he did it well, but the hours were long and arduous. Basically 6 o'clock start every morning and never home before 6 in the evening or later if the traffic was bad. Dad provided well for the family and the net result was that I grew up able and landed a job to help out with the family income at 16. The trouble was that I worked a similar pattern, shifts for a print shop. Got paid exceptionally well and was in a hamster wheel type honey trap that I couldn't get off. Strangely subsequent redundancy gave me the oxygen I needed and resulted in my gaining an MA. Following that I got a job in comms for the Govt. Sadly this isn't satisfying me either! the problem is that 9-5 5 days a week is a treadmill! Not one that I'm prepared to accept any longer, and not one I want for anyone else either. That's why I halved my working week.
Why is it a treadmill?
Treadmill, the word itself describes it all to well. How many of us go to an office or factory, head down, same routine every day? Don't get me wrong this possibly works for some people. If you're one of them fine carry on. But for me the monotony of routine work, routine location and same old faces is a killer. In fact I can't really sit still for more than 5 minutes!

What is the solution?
The antidote for me is variety.
The good news is digital technology has enabled this. Anywhere with a decent internet connection (or indeed a phone connection) is fair game as a workspace. I'm writing this right now from my favourite 'Boston Tea Party' cafe in Exeter. Accompanied by fab coffee and a bap! Awesome!

The advent of coworking hubs such as the Generator in Exeter have facilitated a boom in happy accidents. People coming together by chance to produce amazing things.
This connectivity and co creation is a by product of escaping the 9-5.  But also it's a bonus for home workers. As I've learned homeworking isn't all it's cut out to be. I find if I start at 9 I'm climbing the walls through lack of human contact by 2pm. This has truly confirmed for me that coworking hubs are the future. Especially if they have good coffee and state of the art wireless, both de rigeur in a digital society.
Coworking, alongside the new penchant among hipsters to desire experience over material things is well documented. Douglas McWilliams book 'The Flat White Economy', a must read for anyone as fascinated by this topic as I am. It confirms what I already predicted using nothing but guesses and instinct. The Flat White Economy.  Highly skilled young tech people, living out of tiny rooms. Driven by desire for experiences not possessions. Many of whom are well trained digitally savvy immigrants (in my opinion a huge positive).  Is driving London's and therefore Britain's economic recovery. Hurrah, but not just London.

What can people do about it?
Hey yep, I've got a plan people! Right here in Exeter. I intend to bring an 'Impact Hub' to the city. Yes big and brave, it may have to start small but I've signed up here! Create an Impact Hub in your City.

You can join me! 
In a few weeks I'm going to blog from Impact Hubs in London and Berlin. You'll be able to see what they are and how they offer so much more than just a coworking space. Don't get me wrong I'm not knocking or disparaging existing coworking efforts. The are fab. Nope, I  just want to go further. An all singing, all dancing space for the community. Where artists, entrepreneurs, musos, architects, students and just about anyone can come. Pitch their ideas, run an event, launch a product, cowork, rent offices, make art, make music. And hopefully all of the above.
Wouldn't it be amazing to have such a space? Together we could fill it with events, all designed to support and nurture creators and entrepreneurs. All designed to facilitate future working in a way that is. Spontaneous, not time bound, not anchored to one place, not associated with the same old faces. Just really inspirational. Somewhere that makes you want to go running off to work in the morning with real joy!

Come to the revolution!
You've heard the expression come the revolution? Well now is your chance to come to the revolution! Sign up for the Impact Hub journey. Set your location as Exeter and I'll find you. We'll work together to change the future of Exeter and possibly the world! Well our world that is. At least if nothing else you'll escape the hamster wheel of 9-5. Are you with me? Join now here.

Also read this Blog! Thanks Chris Lorimer for some great insight!.
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