Why we’re getting behind the Digital Work Hub Project

Why we’re getting behind the Digital Work Hub Project

More than 50 local industry and government representatives gathered at The Edge, State Library in Southbank Brisbane last week to hear from some of Australasia’s thought leaders in collaborative workspaces.

Co-working pioneer, Brad Krauskopf from Hub Australia, who is COSBOA’s 2013 Small Business Ambassador shared his experiences of running co-working spaces in Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide, and is hopeful of working with local companies, government and communities to open another in South East Queensland in 2014.

The diagram below explains the project in more detail:

The Creative Collective were pleased to be a part of the event, running some live social media from the event, and generally networking and understanding the issue and current sentiment more.

Brad Krauskopf believes South East Queensland has a strong case for a digital work hub or a network of them to be established in this part of Australia:

“Whether it is for boosting local economic activity or for cutting congestion through increasing options for telework, I believe that there is not another region anywhere in the world where there is a better business case for a distributed network of work hubs,” he said.

Below is a diagram of how digital work hubs can work in a practical sense. You’ll note they really are a ‘hub’ of activity:hub-1024x698

Each of the corners of South East Queensland was represented at the event — with each region keen to better understand the benefits of co-working spaces, and put together a strong case for their local community to attract one.
Regional Development Australia Sunshine Coast has been tasked with conducting extensive research across the five participating regions – Sunshine Coast, Moreton Bay, Ipswich, Logan, Redland and Gold Coast, and has discovered that almost 191,000 workers are commuting daily to Brisbane from these regions.

See the diagram below which shows traffic flow around the region some of which may surprise you:

Digital Work Hubs are the counterpart to Coworker Spaces which have become popular in cities around the world, providing shared membership-based office facilities for urban freelancers, CBD-based self-employed knowledge workers and/or inner-city micro businesses.

RDA Sunshine Coast CEO, Russell Mason says the project is a great way to ease traffic congestion and increase productivity:

“Commuting into our major city Brisbane causes traffic congestion, and impact on workers’ health, wellbeing and productivity when they arrive at their city-based work places. That’s not to mention the high fees the workers pay for parking, or the excessive time they spend on public transport. On the other side of the coin you have corporates and the public sector paying high rents for their workers to operate out of uninspiring office space, with productivity impacted by travel-related stress.”

Workspaces have been proven to be successful in many other locations around the world, and other parts of Australia. Now it’s turn for South East Queensland to benefit too say New Zealand coworking space experts Biz Dojo co-founders Nick Shewring and Jonah Merchant who also presented at the event last week. Below is an action shot of them in full presentation mode:

COPYRIGHT: The Creative Collective

The Biz Dojo guys pushed the need for work spaces to be diverse in nature, with multiple industry tenants operating out of the one space, proximity to quality coffee establishments, and the need to run regular social and educational events, and maintain communication through social media activities.

Biz Dojo co-location space in Auckland spans over three floors and includes an office floor with hot desks and permanent space for private teams and start-ups, art gallery/event space, coffee shop, photography studio, herb garden and product design & prototyping facilities such as 3D printers.

With facilities like these the spaces have attracted some of NZ’s smartest designers, strategists, developers, entrepreneurs, and creative technologists which they refer to as “digital blacksmiths” to solve commercial problems for major government, corporate and NGO clients.

“These sorts of tenants would not be able to compete if they were based at home and operating as freelancers,” says BizDojo co-founder, Jonah Merchant.

“By coming together, they are able to take on much larger projects and benefit from the ability to use great facilities and bounce ideas off each other. We’ve seen projects where people in our Auckland based office are collaborating online with people in our Wellington office to turn out some really great stuff.”

It is hoped by the end of 2013, enough economic analysis, regional assessment and potential business models would have been developed to help investors develop a business case, and start to get collaborative workspaces across SEQ off the ground.

The Digital Work Hub Project provides a platform for regionally-focused research and communication regarding collaborative workspaces and makes a contribution to the growing body of work globally and in Australia. The Creative Collective are in full support of this project, as we have seen them operating first hand around the world and we know they can have a dramatic impact on a local economy. Let’s hope we see some in south east Queensland soon!

For more information on the project see: digitalworkhub.com.au or like their facebook page at facebook.com/digitalWHP.