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Easthampton’s Co.lab Will Bring Creatives Out of their Silos

by Max Hartshorne on July 8, 2014

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A group gathered at Eastworks last night to talk about starting a cooperative work space in the building.

A group of 12 men and women gathered at Eastworks last night to talk about starting a cooperative work space in the building.

Last night a group of men and women who work at home gathered to hear details of a new plan to create a cooperative work space to Easthampton.

Organizers Seth Lepore and Sita Magnuson offered their vision of a place that not only provides a place to work for creative types, but a plan to share knowledge and ideas to solve bigger problems. The space is on the third floor of Eastworks, and with removal of a drop down ceiling and other improvements, it would be a very inviting place to work on a laptop and converse with other creative individuals.

As opposed to simply renting and furnishing a shared office, Seth and Sita want much more. And everyone in the room agreed that creating a place where ideas can be nurtured, and opinions can be shared is an important part of what makes this an appealing idea.  Seth took it even farther, with his idea of “creative catapults.” This would be when everyone in the space would focus on a particular challenge or new idea and use their collective knowledge to create a font of ideas, an impromptu think tank. Outside companies may indeed be willing to pay for being able to tap this workforce, to get unstuck or come up with ideas that one person alone might never be able to do.

What Seth and Sita are not looking for is more silos, more people working alone, without interest in other people’s work. This might be fine for some, but the interest here is to find the right mix, say, 30 paying participants, who can create a vibrant work environment.  I can attest that working at home leaves me feeling lonely and unmotivated. So I’m all ears!

With the prevalence of people working freelance and as contract workers, traditional offices are emptying out, yet working from home, alone, to many people is a lonely existence. After presenting their vision of how the space would be paid for, what the costs would be, and how they see it all coming together, we were invited to share why we think this is exciting for Easthampton, and what we could bring to the project to help make it happen.

Everyone present shared an appreciation how exciting Easthampton has become, and for what working in shared space might bring to their businesses. When we were asked what we could all contribute to make the nascent effort come to life, there were some who cited experience with fundraising, others who promised to spread the word over media (yours truly) and others who said they had experience with finances.

If the idea of working together in a converted mill appeals to you, and you think you’d like a place to work that’s not Starbucks or The Roost, get in touch with us by email.

 

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