There may be a conspicuous ‘Me’ in the word Melbourne, but a new global movement has taken root in the city’s business district to encourage teamwork in dynamic spaces.
Collaborative consumption is the name of the movement. You may have heard of it: The Financial Times has deemed it a “social revolution gaining momentum.”
Hub Melbourne, the latest cog in the worldwide ‘Hub’ network, has attracted corporates, sole traders, work-from-home mums, social entrepreneurs (including RMIT’s Social Entrepreneurship program), non-profits and innovators across all industries to its shared working space.
The Hub network characterises collaborative consumption as a switch to swapping, sharing, bartering, trading and renting to reduce waste and maximise connections.
The idea has actually existed in practice for some time: what are libraries and public buses, after all, if not collaborative spaces?
Yet Hub members insist their space is more than a shared office or a cafe. The real difference is in the Hub’s organic networks and the presence of ‘hosts’, who are on hand to facilitate interactions among members and provide the missing connections among various creative projects.
Thanks to collaboration, Hub spaces take less of a toll on the environment: the group claims that its carbon footprint is eight times smaller than that of a standard office.
“Hub is dynamic space, an incubator for change,” said Brad Krauskopf, co-founder and executive director of Hub Melbourne. “Hub isn’t a serviced office. They sell desk space and admin support asking, ‘Like a coffee with that?’ We ask, ‘Would you like a connection with that?’”
Beth Worrall, head of development for the School for Social Entrepreneurs, added her praise for the social dimension of Hub.
“Working at home for start-ups can be lonely and demotivating,” she said. “Hub is the antidote for anyone, big business executive to sole trader, seeking motivation and inspiration.”
Companies like MECU, Little Creatures, and Silicon Valley social media startup Yammer have joined the Hub, while also maintaining their own offices.
Outside of Australia, there are Hubs spanning four continents and 25 cities including London, Toronto, Amsterdam and Tel Aviv. Like the Melbourne chapter, all of them are independently owned.
Whatever their terrestrial locale, all members have reciprocal rights to the entire Hub global network.
“Great ideas can fall over in isolation,” said Krauskopf. “Hub’s mission itself is clear: to provide a physical space where
people from all industries can work and connect to drive and inspire positive social change.”
Memberships range from $20 a month, to a $6000, 24/7 annual package.
Hub Melbourne can be found at Donkey Wheel House, Level 3, 673 Bourke Street (near Spencer Street Station). For membership enquiries, contact +61 3 9011 8482 or email [email protected].
Image by lindstromORG