Running a coworking space is creative and socially engaging work, but it is not uncommon for owners or community managers to experience a feeling of “solitude” while they run their daily operations. Thinking constantly about how to do the best for the community, as well as striving to satisfy the majority of people at your space takes a lot of improvisation and consumes lots of energy. People who join coworking spaces do not often realize that keeping everybody happy is really hard work!
The minute Stone Soup became a member of the European Creative Hubs Network we became part of a larger family of hubs and space owners, and we were able to start connecting and exchanging know-how and experiences. We were recently very lucky to participate in the P2P programme exchange and spend 5 days in Malaga, the city that Spanish actor Antonio Banderas was born, and we would like to share with you the highlights of our trip!
When I met Ben Kolp founder of The Living Room coworking in Malaga, we immediately clicked, and our communication and thoughts on the improvement of our coworking spaces were honest and deep. Our interaction made me soon realize that visiting the TLR was the best choice we could have made, as our communities and values are very much alike, and we could validate our successes and reconsider our weak points.
We had new experiences
Our tour in Malaga started with a delicious culinary experience of freshly made tapas and local red wine. We were also amazed with the city’s infrastructure, a small Andalusian city of 500.000 residents, Malaga has a big Technology Park that attracts global companies and has a vivid digital nomad scene. We visited both locations of The Living Room, Soho and Alameda, and it was interesting to observe why certain people would prefer the one to the other. We spent our days working at both locations, having meetings with the community, discussing synergies, and helping one another to advance our plans, and avoid making common mistakes.
What we learned
At the end of the week, we co-hosted an event at TLR’s Soho location. We invited George Carey-Simos to talk about communication in the digital age. George is a digital strategist, consultant, and co-founder & COO of wersm.com. At the core of his talk was the idea that in our online communication we often take the easy way out, and we often fail to connect because we fail to “speak human”. We also often forget to listen to what others have to say. In an over-automated, hypertargeted, analytic world, we neglect the human nature of interaction, and we forget how to be ourselves, how to be authentic. As inspiring as his talk was for the online world, we also learned that as space operators we need at times to encourage members of our communities to be more human (!) and learn to enjoy the social interaction that can be found in coworking environments.
Being authentic is the start, and the baseline for improving ourselves, our brands, and ultimately to share, thrive and laugh together.
We would like to express our gratitude to the ECHN and the Creative Flip project for making this exchange possible. We hope that our synergies will add value to the project, and we can’t wait for the next enriching expedition!
Managing partner of Stone Soup