One of the first steps to bring a Hub to Oslo has been taken! We’ve sent our official application to Hub Global for candidate status. Perhaps the most important question we’ve had to give words to is:Why is a Hub needed in Oslo?
Why not Oslo? It’s one we know many others with similar ideas of a co-working space in the capital of Norway have been exploring. A few years back, it felt that a couple of ingredients were missing; that the city wasn’t ‘ripe’ yet. Now, however, Oslo is ripe. It’s ripe for a co-working space and for the collaborative community required to bring such a shared vision forward. Simply put, people need people. As we enter an era requiring the edge collaborative communities merging best practices from business, public, and civic sector have to offer, the Hub is the much needed ‘connecting box’ required to solve the increasingly complex problems no one individual or organization can tackle single handedly. Emphasizing space instead of place, the Hub philosophy lies in the people- beyond a physical permanent space required to create such connections between them. Over the coming months, we will be creating ‘pop up Hubs’ across the city. Filling abandoned spaces with independents, freelancers, and even small teams from organizations working together, deepening relationships, and having conversations that work on making a more creative, productive, and healthy city to live, work and learn in- all being held in spaces especially designed to host such conversations and activity.
Oslo may not lack places, but it lacks the connections a Hub could more effectively facilitate. Life is about the people you meet and the things you create with them. It’s about bringing together diverse, inter-disciplinary groups of people working together. This ‘connector’ mentality rooted in cross pollinating initiatives across individuals, networks, and organizations has potential yet to be fully explored in a city full of such great people. This is what the ‘pop up Hub’ concept and the Hub in general is working to unleash. Much like the world, the city is a silo. One industry convenes there, another here, and sectors don’t really speak to each other. How can we create a better city, or world for that matter with that kind of silo thinking? Breaking down these silos are what ‘glocal’ (global meets local) working is all about. The value of authentic relationships between people are what the Hub Oslo will facilitate.
Currently, Oslo’s social business community, comprised of academics, decision makers, founding institutions, and practitioners closely associate the field of impact (social) entrepreneurship with what in the Norwegian language connotes to social issues (for example health, poverty, education). Many initiatives and entrepreneurs (creative, designers, environmentalists, business developers) do not fall so neatly into this category. The whole debate over the term itself is leading to a hesitation from such independents to label themselves as ‘social innovators or entrepreneurs.’ The definition of the term is and always will be under negotiation while these individuals continue bringing great things into and for a better world. Our task is not to define the term or who is working in such a field. What we do see our task as is to contribute a welcoming atmosphere stretching across industries and professions toward a common vision of making impact- creating new solutions to increasingly complex problems we as humans face in our world today.
Peer learning allows for (and innovation requires) failing, empowerment, and continuous learning. The creation of a safe space where starting small is embraced and failing faster is encouraged is exactly what many risk taking initiatives and people need. Creating a safe space where people with complementary skills can be brought together in a meaningful way and add value to each other’s work is what Hub Oslo will work to achieve. Working in such a collaborative space, full of such passionate people is contagious.
We predict that in 5 years there will be an ecosystem across sectors and individuals plugged in to at least three large co-working/collaboration spaces in the city. The Hub Oslo can, if it is established now, be one of the key organisms in such an ecosystem; not only defining the local field of co-working but also the larger principles of collaboration that comes with bringing together such a community of change makers.
To us, the Hub is a good example of what the future of work and society in general could really look like. It’s this emergent, facilitative thinking and bottom-up approach that inspires and motivates us to create Hub Oslo.