Coworking in Rochester, Kent
Creative Pros, Social Entrepreneurs
& Students Wanted!

The post below is out of date. We’ve now grown into the coFWD coworking community and workspace (Rochester, Kent, UK), for more info please see: http://coFWD.org




To keep up the local co-working vision and momentum, and to help the wonderful Deaf Cat out with its financial commitments to its currently vacant artists studios, James (@BecomeKnown) and I (Carl @FellowCreative) have just moved into Studio 5 at number 10 Rochester High Street – and we’re opening up our WiFi (including more secure Ethernet connections), Desks and Kettle to freelancers, startups, visitors, students and community initiatives.

Our new Studio 5 space isn’t as flexible as the Former Westminster Bank we had our eye on back in February (sadly removed from the rental market by the owner), nor is it as big as the original 2008 Brighton Skiff but we’re hoping it’ll provide us with a temporary foundation upon which to build even greater momentum and vision.

Studio 5 is currently equipped with 4 desks and an overflow space for an additional 3 desks (Studio 3), as well as access to toilets, a fitted kitchen and an enclosed courtyard.

We’ve already secured our first two part-time coworkers at £50pcm each (big thanks and welcome Paul @p_r_anderson of Sustaina.co.uk and Paul Baker at iDesignFor.co.uk).

We’ve still got room for two more full-timers (at £100pcm) or some more part-timers (at £50pcm), plus we’d like to encourage Students and other good folk to call in and see us. Occasional coworkers are very welcome for a day at no charge, just give us a ring on 07929 601737 to make sure we have space on the day.

We’re also exploring the potential for an event/workshop space for small groups so please let us know if you’ve got any ideas. We’ll post more details soon, in the meantime if you’re an organiser of small workshops, talks or other activities and you like the look of it please email us.

Finally, with this being a 101 Project and in support of The Deaf Cat (and the larger coworking vision) its important we’re transparent with finances. The space costs £260pcm to rent and any money we make beyond this will go into funding additional space usage (as and when its needed).

Encounter: Creative Spaces, Coworking & Innovation
28th February 2011


28th February 2011 – Event Announcement!

Tuttle101 is proud to announce an event that connects many dots across a three-year history of Community101 discussions, activities and creative collaborations – to present an exciting vision towards the future of Kent’s Creative Economy. We are working in partnership with NKLAAP (North Kent Local Authority Arts Partnership) to present a day of dialogue and exchange about using empty shops and meanwhile spaces in the region.

This event is run by NKLAAP as part of Encounter, a new programme of art in public spaces happening in North Kent in 2011 (www.nklaap.com/encounter.html) and includes a session led by Dan Thompson of the Empty Shops Network.


VENUE CONFIRMED AS:
161 High Street Rochester Kent ME1 1EH
See Google Map here.
Or Google StreetView here.


Explore a Tuttle Co-working Vision
: 12:30 – 2:30pm
(Open to all)

Hosted by Steve Rowland, Matt Peacock and Carl Jeffrey – venue doors will open for exploring – and an informal roaming tour will present a collaborative 2011 creative co-working vision for the day’s venue – co-workers, advocates and social entrepreneurs wanted!

Information Sharing: 3.30 – 6pm *NOW FULLY BOOKED*

(Ticket Onlyplease book online via Eventbrite) *NOW FULLY BOOKED*

Facilitated by Dan Thompson from the Empty Shops Network, for anyone interested in using empty shops & meanwhile spaces.

Open Space: 6.30 – 8pm

(RSVP Required – Limited Space – please book online via Eventbrite)

Facilitated by Carl Jeffrey of Tuttle101, and Mary Paterson from Encounter, for anyone interested in sharing ideas, meeting potential collaborators and advocates for using empty shops and meanwhile spaces.

Tipple101: 8pm onwards

(Open to all – will be held inside The Two Brewers public house at 113 High Street Rochester, as welcomed by Philip Kane and a few of the Writers Rendezvous folks.

A description of Tipple101 and Tuttle101 can be found here.
Subscribe to our monthly email here.

Supporting details:
Encounter is an exciting arts project happening in your town centre in 2011. It will transform 6 urban sites in Medway and the boroughs of Gravesham and Swale through a range of temporary, site-specific installations, performances or events developed in partnership with local community groups. The encounters will take place in familiar spaces in the heart of the community – empty shops, vacant buildings, businesses, high streets and public squares – and will be linked by a programme of talks and discussions, as well as documentation through film, photography and writing on the Encounter website. More information can be found in the Commissions Briefing Document.
The Empty Shops Network helps hundreds of projects across the country talk to each other, share ideas and access practical resources. Looking at town centres across the country its clear things are changing, and the most obvious sign is that about 14% of shops are empty. Empty shops are being used right now to test new ideas for town centres and to add variety to the mix – the Empty Shops Network supports these.
Tuttle101 isn’t for everyone but it is for anyone. A loose collection of people finding a way of working better together (both offline and on). Focused on Inspiration, Collaboration and Learning Through Doing.

Creating a Disruptively Better Economy

“Writing is a way of organizing thought. Publishing is a way of receiving feedback.” ~ Frank Chimero

In ‘The Element‘, Sir Ken Robinson highlights ‘the importance of Identifying Passion and Redefining Creativity’.
In ‘Starfish and The Spider‘, Ori Brafman and Rod A. Beckstrom identify “the unstoppable power of leaderless organisations” and “inevitability and need for ever-changing models in our ever-changing and ever-connecting world”.
In ‘Life Inc.‘, Douglass Ruskoff asks ‘should our infrastructures/governments/education/systems be focused on creating good citizens and well-ness/well-being rather than economic performance and growth?’
In ‘Affluenza and The Selfish Capitalist‘, Oliver James provides evidence that ‘material affluence and extrinsic value(s) can produce the opposite of happiness’.
In ‘Drive‘, Daniel Pink provides ‘scientifically surprising truths about human-motivation’ and how ‘autonomy, mastery and purpose can far exceed financial reward in the value stakes’.
In ‘The Social Entrepreneur‘, Andrew Mawson provides his experienced insight towards “the empowering importance of Personal Responsibility over Personal Right(s)”
In ‘The New Capitalist Manifesto‘, Umair Haque (a thought leader in the field of Economics and Business Innovation) highlights that ‘our current economy, business strategies, policies and mindsets are unsustainable – we need to change or die.’

For many years, my work, endeavors, experience and research has (and continues), to inspire me to ponder such important things and I’ve challenged myself to do and learn about active participation and empowering human-focused responsibility and value-conversation(s).

“What good is an energy industry that destroys the atmosphere? What good is a media industry that, with relentlessly intrusive, ever-more persuasive ads, pollutes the infosphere? What good is production that consumes the natural world? What good are banks that catastrophically deplete the financial sphere? What good is a food industry that sparks an epidemic of obesity? What good is an apparel industry that produces insipid clothes in joyless, dreary working conditions? What good are athletic shoes that don’t make people fitter?”

These are special words. They weren’t spoken by a warrior wielding the buzzwords ‘Eco’ or ‘Green’, they weren’t (in this instance) written by authors like Naomi Klein, nor were they written by the head of some Corporate Social Responsibility council. In this instance they are extremely important, in print on page 193 of his latest book ‘The New Capitalist Manifesto‘, they were written by Umair Haque (Director of Havas Media Lab and Economist Blogger for the Harvard Business Review).

In the penultimate page of his book Umair writes: “my goal hasn’t been to write the new economic blueprint – but to give you pen, paper and maybe even a handful of design elements, for writing your own…” “…the future of capitalism begins, in other words, with you. So don’t just read this book. Use it. Its not a textbook, its a handbook. The protectors of the past never create the future. And the creators of the future never stop questioning the past. You’ve got to ask – and keep asking!”

Today, inspired my Umair (and the authors and great thinkers listed above, plus a few others) I choose to take my insights and learnings, and present to you my ever-developing philosophy towards the future – a twenty-first-century enterprise and economy – an inter-dependent ecology; upon the new rules within Digital Landscapes, Social Ethonomics and Twenty-First-Century Economics.

I encourage you to help me (us) re-conceptualise and re-define the words: Economic, Prosperity, Growth, Responsibility, Ethics, Value, and Worth, to develop a set of first principles of value creation, into a concise philosophy – with a clear intent and purpose!


The diagram below forms the basis of a presentation I made to Media Tree UK (and their supporting Economic Development partners) on 17/01/2011 in relation to ‘The Future of Kent’s Creative Business Economy‘.

I have an idea, any thoughts folks?
Tuttle, the facilitation of Participation and Community

Not wishing to reinvent the wheel nor plagiarise great works, I’ve quoted, paraphrased and joined dots between the somewhat ‘perfectly phrased’ words and sentences of inspirational authors and doers, these include:
Sir Ken Robinson (The Element – how finding your passion changes everything), Andrew Mawson OBE (The Social Entrepreneur), Ori Brafman and Rod A. Beckstrom (The Starfish and the Spider – the unstoppable power of leaderless organizations) and Lloyd Davis (Founder of Tuttle Club London) – to present my thoughts and experiences of Tuttle, the facilitation of Participation and Community 101, and what the future might hold.


Tuttle101 at The Deaf Cat Coffee Bar (Rochester, Kent)
Photo: Tuttle101 at @TheDeafCat Coffee Bar (Rochester)
Original photo taken and licensed by @fellowcreative

 


Tuttle isn’t for everyone but it is for anyone.

A loose collection of people finding a way of working better together (both offline and on).
Focused on Inspiration, Collaboration and Learning Through Doing.

Tuttle is about social interaction, a meeting of diverse minds and life experiences over coffee, conversation and getting one’s hands dirty in collaboration. At all times it should be fun and engaging – you’re not an attendee, you’re a participant. People show up without preconceptions over what will happen, be talked about or done. Anything can happen, and the environments and spaces change. It’s a philosophy rather than a collective noun. You Tuttle, rather than are part of Tuttle.

Tuttle challenges stereotypical structures and traditional mindsets. Tuttle understands that imagination is not the same as creativity. Creativity takes the process of imagination to another level. Creativity goes beyond linear and logical thought to involve all areas of our minds and bodies. People (you) can be creative at anything at all – anything that involves intelligence. It is because human intelligence is so wonderfully diverse that people are creative in so many extraordinary ways… writing, music, dance, theatre, math, science, computing, philosophy, business etc. Tuttle doesn’t ask how intelligent you are; it helps you explore: How are you intelligent?

Creative insights often come in non-linear ways, through seeing connections and similarities between things we hadn’t noticed before.

Tuttle provides people with an open platform to be social, build understandings and connect, it’s a neutral space to discuss and do. When you give participants freedom, you get chaos, but you also get incredible creativity. On one hand people have freedom to do what they want, on the other they develop a sense of social ownership and added responsibility – everyone becomes an active participant and guardian of sorts – the concept of ‘community’ takes on more meaning, empowering a better understanding of ‘neighbour’. For this reason participants often wish to give something back.

Tuttle can be a goad, a check, a sounding board, and a source of inspiration and support.

Overlapping circles of people with similar interests who create something much greater than any of them could create individually – to become more than the sum of their parts.

There’s no hierarchy, membership, name badges or even business cards. Simply come along, be open-minded and if nothing else enjoy the atmosphere. Over time you’ll form trusted, valued and inspiring relationships – you get out what you put in.

Tuttle101 is the Tuttle Community of Medway (Kent), running since September 2009, normally on the second Monday morning of every month, often in The Deaf Cat Coffee Bar (Rochester, Kent). An evening Tipple101 also happens mid-week nearer the end of the month, it usually involves beer or wine.

If you’d like more information on the above, please feel free to email tuttle101 [at] fellow.ventures. Please read below for more exciting developments.


101 Projects – The Outline Manifesto

 

The next step for Tuttle101 is the creation of ‘101 Projects‘.

101 Projects will provide a more focused approach towards local innovation and greater community cohesion, focused on solving real problems. The people of Medway often talk about their rights but rarely about their responsibilities as citizens. The local community is suffering as a consequence. 101 Projects aim to empower participants to develop a range of not-for-loss collaborative ventures that inspire a stronger and wider sense of community. Through applying business, cross-disciplinary experience and creative logic to social questions, and challenging existing concepts of personal responsibility, positive impact and social value.

“It is at this present time little more than a collection of people and facts, the cause of which, and their relationships to each other, are so imperfectly understood, that it is not yet very capable of synthetic and analytic modes of explanation.” ~ The Lunar Men.

Similar to the Tuttle philosophy, 101 Projects hope to inspire anyone, to help everyone.

Existing Tuttle participants seem to share a fundamental optimism, a spirit of liberty in action, encouragement and enlightenment – where many people would see problems, they see opportunities for positive change, and they wish to take on the personal responsibility for making things happen.

“If I were the minister responsible for enterprise, I would identify fifteen people who have shown that they can deliver results in practice. I would imagine they would all be pretty challenging people – the John Birds, Bob Geldofs and Alan Sugars of this world. I would invite them to sit down with me in a room and tell them I was giving each of them £3 million to invest in working in a particular poor, deprived area. One year later I would invite them back into the room. Those who had messed up would get no more money; those who showed promise would get another £3million; and those who had done really well would get £10 million. In other words I would back success and build upon what actually works.
I would for the most part keep civil servants and academics at a distance and I would certainly ensure that no more than 5per cent of what monies we had available went towards evaluation. However, I would not for one moment underestimate the importance of evaluation.
To that end I would choose another group of successful entrepreneurs and business people to carry out research in how projects were performing by using all of the available technology and by trusting them to use the best methodology for their purpose. I would want to see very practical results being delivered and I would want local people to be involved in the process. Entrepreneurs smell success: they do not write reports about it.”
~ The Social Entrepreneur, Andrew Mawson OBE, Pg. 139

101 Projects will encourage people by supporting individuals not structures, those who bring to social problems the same enterprise and imagination that business entrepreneurs bring to wealth creation – people that have it in themselves to be community leaders, to help restore our connections to people, places and values – human relationships and community cohesion.

101 Projects aim to inspire cross-discipline, cross-cultural relationships built around people ‘doing’ things together. Rewarding those who bother to get off their backsides to work together on practical projects. Government often knows the shape of the forest but has no idea what is actually going on under the trees. If the current economic environment is to be overcome, governments, organisations and structures must become more ‘people friendly’, more responsive, turning peoples passions and responsibilities into effective and constructive action at a local level. Encouraging greater local participation within society is the answer to both our democratic and economic deficit.

Medway is full of glorious diversity; stimulating greater participation will create a wealth of opportunity in the local economy. The emphasis must be on access to opportunity, on recognizing individuals and their passions and talents and on developing these by bridging together teams of local people focused on identifiable tasks, rather than relying on representative structures and local authorities.

Tuttle Projects provide a non-hierarchical incubator of potential for creative, destructive, innovative ideas for social good. Anything goes. Good ideas will attract more people, which in turn will inspire an appreciation of their full potential. What initially looks like entropy might just turn out to be one of the most powerful and positive forces in the local economy. Turning passion into practice may take many forms. Social capital can only be created for many when we grow a strong and honest sense of belonging and community, focused around a shared practical task.

Supported by Tuttle participants, Tuttle Projects aim to back successes with time, energy and hopefully small financial investments, to build upon what actually works at a local level, to create social value. With an emphasis on discovery not theory, Tuttle Projects don’t know failure – only learning opportunities. By the community, for the community.

At the heart of social entrepreneurship sits the aspiration and ability to come up with creative ways of raising standards, challenging beliefs (about ourselves and others), changing attitudes, lifestyles and, eventually, changing lives – for the better.

Tuttle participants aren’t necessarily philanthropists or representatives of charities; many are budding social entrepreneurs (local people of Medway) hoping to connect the logic of business to social need. Breaking patterns of failure, raising expectations and in doing so build cross-cultural relationships around people actively ‘doing’ things together.

Ideology is the fuel that drives the decentralised systems of innovation and creativity.

Social Entrepreneurs have discovered that business principles have a considerable amount to offer them. They like business because businesses operate in the real world. The public and charitable sectors often don’t have to operate in this ‘real’ environment – they often stay safely removed, preferring to engage more with theory than practical reality, locked into reams of paperwork and a grant-dependent culture. The same can be said for many whom exist within the traditional ‘creative’ sphere.

Social entrepreneurs have recognised, however, that new ideas generally emerge from the creative process that occurs when people from different backgrounds and different approaches engage effectively with each other. Difference and diversity, not conformity and equality, are the fertile soil of social change, the seedbed of new ways of working.

Tuttle Projects aim to work beyond a grant-dependant culture, towards a more participatory and sustainable model of public service, which has innovation, customer service and community at its core.


How might it be structured and done?

Medway is a multicultural community, where over __ languages and dialects are spoken, a place full of glorious diversity – admitting the world is fundamentally unfair and unequal is ironically the first step to stimulating greater participation, a widening of opportunity for all and an increase in wealth creation in disadvantaged communities (a wealth of opportunity in a local economy). The emphasis must be on access to opportunity, on recognizing individuals and their passions and talents and on developing these by bridging together teams of local people focused on identifiable tasks, rather than relying on representative structures, government or local authorities. Turning passion into practice may take many forms. Social capital can only be created for many when we grow a strong and honest sense of belonging and community, focused around a shared practical task.

The Tuttle community will develop a list of potential 101 Projects

All projects must embrace a practical approach based around ‘learning by doing’ and encouraging people to ‘get their hands dirty’, and remain sceptical about a culture that makes few demands on the individual (and personal responsibility) and is dominated by policy papers and academic theory – precisely the world that underpins much of the current way of ‘doing government’, and a methodology that has been found to be far from effective the world over.

“The government (and citizens) should put less blind faith in system and process, but offer us more opportunities to take more personal responsibility for social issues. I would like to see a serious overhaul of the Civic service and its prevailing culture, which infects every bit of the public sector and so often undermines real change. I believe it is individuals who can change the world (some of whom are in the civil service – I have met them) and that the key lies in identifying these change-makers and supporting them wholeheartedly. It is people who make all the difference and I worry that so many policy papers fail to even mention them.”
~Andrew Mawson OBE

Tuttle Projects recognise that delivering real change is a risky business and all governments struggle with it. Unless governments take the long view, and withdraw and provide genuine space for social entrepreneurs to operate – and yes, at times fail – real change will never happen.

“If you are from a secure family and a well-educated background, with a bit of money, a bit of self-esteem and some contacts, you are lucky. In an area like Bromley-by-Bow, nearly everything is run by the state – housing, health, the money in your pocket, whether your children live with you or not. Nearly everything requires a form from somewhere or other to be filled in, signed, stamped, considered, responded to… The contrast between that kind of an experience of life – which believe me, can feel frustrating and actively discouraging – and someone simply saying. ‘Sure, go ahead, when can you start and how can we help?’, without forms or systems or anything else, just a person talking face to face with another person, is not to be under-estimated.”
~Andrew Mawson OBE

101 Projects will encourage the words ‘Sure, go ahead.’

 

101 Projects will only support collaborations between people with cross-disciplines – No more than 12 people, no less than 2. Projects might include:

 

Demo a self-sustaining-notforloss Creative Coworking Space (design, technology, social-participation)
Supporting OnMeJack/MadeLabs with an #Emptyshops initiative
Supporting MedwayEyes and MedwayBroadSide and Creatabot
LightVessel21 Volunteering
BarCampKent and BarCampCanterbury
Supporting @DavidBahia’s Medway #Jelly
DockyardGraffiti (http://lasersurvey.co.uk)+ National Heritage, site of historical relevance…
Workshop activity/series such as (BrightonBuild)
Media Tree and Kent’s Creative Business Economy
Develop a hyperLocal news plugin
Sounding Board / Focus Group for Public & Local Services
Support wider Kent initiatives such as Canterbury Geeks / Digibury
etc.

More information at: http://coFWD.org