On monday afternoon, we had invited all those interested in coworking to come together at the “Schaufenster” (shop window), an empty and only irregularly used space in the city center, to take part in our first project workshop (read earlier post). The “Schaufenster” belongs to the FHP, Potsdam’s university of applied sciences, who would like it to be used as a coworking space. As spaces for freelancers, especially within the culture and creative industries (CCI) are a scarce good in the city, this idea really had the power to attract around 40 participants – representatives of both the administration and the university as well as CCI entrepreneurs and potential users – to our workshop. After three very inspiring and interesting speeches by our guests Thorsten Jahnke from iq consult, Morten Sylvest Nøhr from Republikken and Christoph Fahle from betahaus (thank you very much for that again!), we split into three groups: the red-dotted “administratives” on one side and two green-dotted “creatives” on the other.
As you can imagine, vivid discussions ensued. But the results were brilliant:
One the “creative side” almost everyone was and is personally interested in moving into the “Schaufenster” and also knows more people who would join in. Although it quickly became clear that two very different groups could be defined according to their needs – those with no equipment except for a laptop, who would love to immediately set their tents up and start working, and those with costly and heavy equipment, who expressed a reasonable wish for lockable rooms and spaces – there was a lot of consensus within the group: most people expressed a concern about the sound level (e.g. when everybody in the room is having a phone conversation at the same time) and all agreed that a basic infrastructure, such as wifi, a printer and a beamer were the basic requirements, as well as the need for being able to access the space 24/7. Generally speaking, the majority was also in favour of mixing the guilds or disciplines (such as designers, writers, film makers etc.) in order to have a more fruitful exchange, as long as this was reconcilable with the different spatial needs.
On the “administrative” side, a consensus was also quickly found and is just as quickly told: if the potential users or an external operator comes up with a solid concept, they are more than willing to support the cause – with financial as well as organizational and scientifically help (such as e.g. helping with a market research). And the FHP is thinking about accompanying the process by a student project from the culture management class.
We sincerely hope and cross our fingers that the momentum of the workshop will be used in a way as to quickly put together what it takes to turn this idea into reality and will be following the development process at close range!
For further information (in German), read about our workshop in the press: http://www.pnn.de/potsdam/730055/