Coworking

The Core Values of Coworking

In 1995, a concept, known as “coworking” began transforming work style. To keep anyone from setting “the rules”, the initiators defined coworking vaguely.

With only 20 years of history, coworking has evolved into a worldwide movement. It has vastly impacted economies, business development, and entrepreneurial ecosystems. Its progress has had direct impact on work environments and whole industries. Some argue it has influenced a stronger creative economy.

What is coworking? One must embrace the values which unite spaces despite their difference in markets and inhabitants.

Community

Communnity extends beyond people working near one another. Community reflects a value of care not only for the space but for the individuals that inhabit that space. It carries an underlying idea of a shared purpose. Sometimes these communities organize around a similar occupation bringing together industry professionals who can push each other along. Other times the community reflects a diversity of occupations, yet the members wish to learn and grow along side of one another. In both cases, there is a shared value of care present.

Openness

An important aspect to any community is the ability to be open with one another. Some cultures struggle with this ideal of being open handed with ideas. Coworking combats this way of thinking. Members of a community must know each other and have trust among their piers. Those entering the space are not there to outright compete or gain the advantage, but to invest and give to the community. Since openness takes time to build, it should always be part of the goals of any coworking space.

Collaboration

Coworking creates an environment for individuals to collaborate with their strengths and professions. Those managing the space can help by encouraging projects that would necessitate collaboration among the members. There have been plenty of examples of new startups and companies forming as a direct result of collaboration within coworking spaces. Such examples create a positive impact on the community internally and the greater local economy.

Accessibility

There has been a shift in work style which rejects the traditional “work in isolation model” which was demonstrated by offices and even cubicles. The coworking value of accessibility rejects this model as well. It pushes the need for people to be accessible. While important ideologically, it may also cause some angst because it entrusts other members to be professional in their approach without being overbearing. When the members allow themselves to be accessible, it builds the community.

Sustainability

Ongoing health and development are central tenets of coworking. Sustainability includes the ongoing development of the economy culture surrounding it. Sustainability brings financial stability and personal/professional growth among the participating members. For sustainability to happen, the members must invest and active in developing the core values.

The coworking community accept these core values as unifying factors across the industry. They are interdependent for the success of the space. Failure in one area may undermine the others. Each core value must be cultivated in the local coworking space.

What has been your experience with coworking? Would you try it, recommend it, or avoid it? Share your thoughts on social media and use #diskorsprojekt. 

 

nowist-sparkme-max mackeown

Being A Nowist: Takeaways From Dr. Max Mckeown

“Strategy is about shaping the future.” One of the opening lines of Dr. MAx Mckeown and opening lines for the whole of Spark.Me. Also, one of the more profound points to understand when starting, progressing, or innovating anything. Mckeown is a strategist and “nowist”. He is a believer in forward movement, and the only way to accomplishing such is by remaining optimistic in the present using circumstances to move toward your future goals.

Innovation Defined

“Innovation is new ideas made useful.” In a day when the word “innovation is thrown around loosely, it is good to have a structured, practical approach. Innovation is not merely having an idea. Many people have ideas and do nothing. Many stop at “desire insight” where the possibility is seen. However, it remains in pile of  untouched potential never coming to fruition. True innovation will see new ideas take shape in useful ways that change how life is lived.

Experience does not equal learning

Common myth in the innovation story is that experience automatically brings learning and progression. However, this is false. Experience only brings learning. Those undergoing the experience must be engaged and draw conclusions for learning to happen. Learning cannot be assumed to happen, but must be actively pursued throughout the process. Engagement in the now brings progress toward future goals.

The future is powered by human desire ===> curiosity

Curiosity and questioning the norm is what moves the human experience forward. People begin to ask questions, challenge the status quo, dream, etc.  Curiosity into the world around us should push toward learning much like a child. In doing so, we begin to find solutions to daily challenges, or improvements to daily habits and routines. The human desire to be curious brings what we envision in the future to the now.

Avoid living on bloody awful island

A critical point of Mckeown’s presentation came when he described the different states of people as they approach the present. We can live on an island where everything is “bloody awful,” and nothing can change because present circumstances will not allow them. Some exist in a space where things are slightly better. All is not lost, but still cannot see the way forward. However, those who see the potential, and use the now to their advantage are the ones who will find success. Avoid the “bloody, awful” island.

Be a #Nowist

A “nowist” leverages the moments of today to reach the goals of the future. There is clear direction that cannot be derailed by challenges that popup along life’s journey. They keep moving forward taking advantage of unplanned opportunities. A nowise minimizes regret by doing so.

The question becomes, “Am I acting and living as a “nowist” or thinking too much about the challenges being faced?” Are we truly innovating by making our new ideas useful, or saying, “if only….” What ideas do you have, and how can they be made useful? 

 

 

 

Spark.Me 2016 bloggers

Get Your Game Face On: Spark.Me 2017

In a little over a week, Spark.Me 2017 will kick off what is shaping up to be a stellar conference on business and technology. each year leaders from digital marketing, tech, and business are brought to the seaside town of Budva, Montenegro in what is a carefully calculated line up. So get your game face on, and get prepared for a whirlwind of two days to learn, chat, network, and launch!

Learn

Each year, I am amazed by what I come away from the conference having learned. Spark.Me 2017 has already stimulated my anticipation.  My interest and experience is in creative and strategic thinking, social media, and social innovation. Below are the speakers that peak my interest and links to talks, articles, etc that I have been consuming in the past months leading up to Spark.Me 2017.

Rory Sutherland

Serving as vice-chairman of Ogilvy and Mather UK, a global advertising and marketing agency, Rory studies the subtle changes that create profound effects in advertising. He delivered multiple Ted talks drawing on his experience as an “ad man”.

Heather Armstrong

Widely recognized as the most popeul “mommy blogger” creating audience specific content for global brands, Heather brings much more to the table. Her experience over the last 17 years stands as a testament to how valuable her talk will be. Heather gave this amazingly vulnerable talk when stepping away from “mommy blogging” two years ago.

Peter Kim

Peter is the VP of Digital Consumer Experience for the LEGO Group. He has focused on building digital experiences since 1999. He helps build an integrated user experience that creates strong communities and communicates brand messages clearly. Listening to him speak, he succinctly describes the past while describing the current mood and future goals of digital marketing. Here’s a brief interview from earlier this year where he addresses these topics.

Chat

Not only will I sit and listen, but the opportunity to chat, ask questions, and continue the learning process one on one presents itself at different turns. Some of the most valuable lessons were learned outside of the keynotes when I was able to engage speakers, other bloggers, and attendees face to face. Ask questions. Speak your mind. Do not be shy.

Network

My friend and colleague, Jennifer, wrote a brilliant post about networking at Spark.Me here. Begin to network now before the conference. Engage with others through social media. Follow up at the conference. And remember, people are interesting because they are people. Read the post in its entirety, and act on it. Build a plan , and execute.

Launch

Spark.Me 2017 is not a conference that you attend and do nothing. This is a space to LAUNCH! Launch a new idea, blog, podcast, etc. Tell people your idea, and get their input. Maybe, you will find a co-founder, consultant, or the assistance that you have needed. I am looking forward to building the inspiration to launch my own new projects. There is no time like now!

I have my game face on. How about you?!

Spark.Me Game face

 

Spark.me - Budva - Montenegro

Why I want to attend Spark.me 2017

Spark.me 2017 is headed this way quickly. The annual conference is already shaping up to be another stellar affair with a speaker line-up sure to deliver. Spark.me is a conference about emerging and innovative business models, disruptive tech, digital marketing strategies, and transformative initiatives. With a pristine location just outside of Budva, Montenegro on the Adriatic Sea, there are no valid reasons to skip Spark 2017. However, some still need reasons to come.

Inspiration v. Motivation

Right now, it is easy to scroll through Facebook or any other feed and find countless “motivational” speakers that try to get people amped up to go do something. Anything. While motivation may be necessary at times, I find it lacks substance that will push forward day after day when the grinding is the hardest.

The majority of what I take away from Spark.me is inspiration. Inspiration feeds on what is already beating deep down within us, and gets triggered to burst forward and outward. The stories shared at Spark.me, those sitting around you, and those who take the stage offer inspiration to make the decisions and actions that have been hiding deep within you. The substance of real examples and the information being dispersed do not push you to a pipe dream belonging to someone else. Instead, they provide practical and applicable steps to accomplish goals while overcoming real challenges.

Spark-Me-Brian-Solis

Interactions with the Speakers

While Spark.me may not be biggest conference regionally, the organizers created a venue to allow attendees to get up close to world class speakers/practitioners. They are not only speakers. These are people who are currently leading changes in their fields and expertise. And the intimacy of the venue produces the perfect environment to interact, engage, and learn. This would be my third year at Spark, and I cannot wait to see the list of speakers continue to unfold.

What I have found helpful in leading up to the conference, is reaching out to the those who are especially interesting or inspiring. I did this over the last two years and received quite a bit of openness for future projects. Spark.me is the first opportunity that I had to connect in easy and natural ways with those who graced the stage. BTW, reaching out prior to Spark also landed me some excellent coffee thanks to Jovana and Frank!

Beyond the Speakers

Spark.me is so much more than the speakers, venue, and other things that usually stand at the forefront. When you sit down in your seat, look at the people around you and introduce yourself. Go to lunch and roll up on someone to introduce yourself. Meet the media companies present, the bloggers, and whoever else. NETWORK.

Spark.me is the perfect place to network. Again, not overly crowded where networking can be intimidating, but also large enough to strengthen your network internationally. Start expanding the brand, and possibly learn new skills or meet the person that will help overcome specific challenges being faced.

These are my top 3 reasons for why i want to attend Spark.me 2017. Do not hesitate. Pick up your tickets hereWhy do you want to participate this year? And when will we meet for coffee? 🙂

Past talks and posts from Spark.me are linked below:

Chris Fabian and Innovation Solving World Problems 

How to address change

Reflections from 2015

As a bonus, here are some ways to explore Montenegro when visiting for Spark.me.

photo credits: Jennifer Buxton visit www.RealPoshMom.com to chat travel, food, fashion, and work.

leadership - pioneer

3 Lessons of Leadership

While doing a bit of reflecting, I began thinking on the different areas of leadership that I have held. And how fulfilling these roles brought responsibility for the success of myself, my family, co-workers, a organization, or maybe a group of friends. In most cases, all or some of these were bound together. Here are three lessons/principles that I feel summarize not only my experience, but some of the greatest successes and failures of leaders that I have admired, or at least gleaned understanding.

Diskors Projekt - BE

BE

At the moment, I am a bit consumed with this little, yet significant word. In any case, a leader must “BE.” A leader must BE himself. A leader must BE present in the situation, organization, crisis, etc. A leader must simply “BE.”

Too many times, leaders can become sidetracked by their position or title and fail at any of the above examples or countless others. Many times, I have witnessed leaders who fail at the first because they do not know who they are. Therefore they fail at being themselves which is usually why the position of leader was acquired. The reality remains that if a leader fails at being who they have been made to be, it is only a matter of time before other stressors are evident: unrealistic expectations, taking on tasks that are not a good fit, poor vision, etc. All of which can be curbed to a great degree when a leader knows their own person, and chooses to BE that person.

BUILD

Leaders must be able to build around themselves. This means understanding personal weaknesses, and building a team that will meet those weaknesses. This also requires a leader to be secure enough to admit faults and recognize that others excel in these areas. Too many times, leaders try to cover their failures and weaknesses at the fear of being “exposed” as a fraud. A true leader will understand these faults and recognize them as strengths within others looking to build the best possible team.

Not only does a leader build a team, but they also build an environment in which the team functions. The trustworthy leader facilitates and orchestrates the environment in which the team will flourish. This is not unchecked freedom, but accountability balanced with room for errors which can bring growth. Significant growth if the right environment has been built. LEaders bear this weight. It is tough, but that is why they are leaders.

Diskors Projekt

EMPOWER

Leaders empower those around them. Plain and simple. If someone is not exercising empowerment, they are more of a manager or authoritarian rather than a leader. Leaders set people free to excel and create in ways and areas in which the leader may not be able to do. This is tied into the security of the one leading. In my experiences, those who are most insecure are the ones most controlling and authoritarian. The adverse has been true as well. Those who I have found to be most inspiring as leaders were the ones empowering me to be who I was made to be, and even helping me get there.

A leader who encourages their team member(s) to grow can be empowering. The leader who says, “Yes. Now let me help you get there,” is truly empowering and moving not only the individual forward, but the team is moving forward. It is not enough to “inspire” people to do what we want them to do. This can easily become manipulation. But leaders must inspire and empower people to become what they are passionate about and driven toward.

A leader who can be, build, and empower is a leader worth following. He is also a leader who is usually willing to follow when it is necessary.

What lessons or principles on leadership could you share?

Budapest Coffee

Change. Fear. Movement.

As I am attending Spark.me, I am tracking a noticeable theme popping up, the need for change.

Change is something that receives a lot of attention, and something that I used to feel really comfortable with. However, I have noticed that over the recent years, change brings baggage with it especially for creatives. The speakers at Spark.me, addressed the topic frequently, and the reasons to deal with the feelings that usually follow a recognition for change in one’s life. Here are my thoughts.

Change

When it happens without notice, change can  be difficult to process. Change leaves some feeling inspired, anxious, or paralyzed. Even when seen or freely being decided upon, change can bring a great amount of struggle and insecurity. What will I do next? What if things do not work out? What happens if my plans fail? The momentary loss of control can be exhilarating and at the same time debilitating. But one thing is always certain: change is necessary for growth. The right type of change can bring new birth, transformation, and innumerable possibilities. It can also bring immense amounts of FEAR.

Fear

Fear usually happens when at the moment or not long after change is brought into action. Even for those brave souls who seem to love change, after the excitement wears off from the moment of decision, the room grows quiet, fear creeps inside the mind through doubts and questions. Usually the questions mentioned above, ravage the thoughts in the quietness of the night. My friend, Jack blogs at Onward Creatives, and says, “Fear is most debilitating because it strikes at the hear of who we are.” And it is true. Fear amplifies our insecurities or aspects of ourselves which we question.

Movement

The only answer to fear is movement. Get started in the direction you want to head. Rediscover the reason why an idea or project has ignited a passion and move in that direction of accomplishing it. Movement can take shape in different forms. Talking with others, writing out a plan, creating a list of objectives are all examples of positive movements that protect from stagnation pushing back against the fear. Movement begins to teach fearlessness, and empowers others to be fearless also. Paul Papadimitriou said, “Let’s teach fearlessness – Let’s build our odyssey.” Let’s embrace change, fight against fear, and create movement in ourselves and those around us.

 

Chris Fabian - Spark.me 2015

Innovation, Tech, And Solving World Problems

In just under two weeks, Spark.Me will kick off. In preparing for it,  listening to the talks from 2015 and previous years is an excellent way to observe what the conference is about and set expectations. For other ways to prepare, I suggest you check out RealPoshMom’s article here.

Spark provides opportunities for entrepreneurs and startups to rethink their ideas, systems, and industries to develop their product. One talk from 2015 stands out as a way to use innovation and tech for other purposes aside from building your startup, or in conjunction with your startup. Chris Fabian from UNICEF gave a talk on the growth of tech in solving world problems, and the importance of investing in localized development that can scale up and be applied on larger levels.

Why is localized development so important?  

To Fabian, locally developed platforms help form solutions in context to the challenges that are being faced. It is an advantage over existing platforms that have already been significantly developed across the world. Local development puts the solution in a language and context that local people can understand. Of course, this does not discredit the strides that existing platforms such as Facebook and Twitter have used in meeting crisis situations. However, Fabian used two examples of Ebola outbreak and the Nepal earthquake to demonstrate how solutions developed on the ground of these disasters proved more beneficial for the response.

Startups and solving world problems

One of the better discussions that is raised during the talk happens in the Q and A. Chris talks sustainability, and startups looking to do do good. In a conversation that usually involves pursuing money or creating a social model, Chris pushes businesses to think differently offering that most businesses are looking to do good in the world. Startups have the freedom to solve a specific challenge or crisis while building a business model that will make money through a proper exit strategy or transforming the product to meet similar challenges in a different context.

Chris also pushes startups and companies to enter a new relationship with existing power structures and working between different groups. He does this by pointing back to UNICEF’s 9 principles for innovation and tech development. These principles, no matter how obvious, represent the existing change occurring across business lines and development in crisis areas. In the end, Chris looks to leverage the value and innovation of the startup community for solving world problems, and doing so in a way which invests in the local and global markets.

Check out the full talk below. Look ahead for Spark.me at the end of the month with an openness to challenge your own ideas for startups.

Coworking - Obstacles -Community

Obastacles to Coworking

Coworking is a growing phenomenon across much of the world that has been revolutionizing the concept of workspace and management.

However, not everyone is convinced of the importance, sustainability, and longevity of coworking. Is this a fad that will dissipate over time, or is coworking here to stay, grow, and continue to transform work, office life, and even specific industries? Only time will tell, but in the meantime, the obstacles need to be addressed to continue moving forward.

Lack of understanding

Coworking is quickly growing as its own industry, however, there remains a widespread lack of understanding about it. Some have not even heard the term before, and

Fear of competition

When entering a space, the risk of  running into direct competition is high especially for some spaces that gear themselves toward specific industries. Programmers competing over the similar market or startup teams that are working on similar if not the same ideas can bring an unwanted tension in the space.

Answer: If this is a concern when entering a space, take some precautionary measures. Always be proactive in interviewing the manager of a space. Usually, they will know their workers, and have an idea about their businesses or projects. It is the mark of a good manager. If this information is not known consider shopping other spaces as it could be the sign of a bad space manager. Also, consider the possibility of working together. Maybe that places both parties in a better position to succeed.

Fear of stolen ideas

Today, the fight over intellectual property rights rages. Legal cases are fought over stolen ideas causing a distrust and overprotection. Such mentalities can hurt a coworking space, and even worse can keep people from entering one. Stories are even told about competing startups being too friendly in order to gain an upper hand. It is a real possibility, and is something that can only be addressed by the ethos of the community. Nobody wants to have their ideas taken, but such a fear should not leave black eye on the coworking industry.

Answer: Take advantage of the free trial period that any good coworking space will offer. USe this time to meet the people, ask questions about the culture and how people do business, and if there is any sense of cunning behaviors taking place within the space. If you join a space, and anything suspicious takes place, report it. It can be a community killer if allowed to progress.

Distractions

Sometimes the idea of coworking leads one to think of a constant party in a space. Imagery of endless table tennis matches, foosball tables, and game consuls fill the mind.

Answer: This should not be the case. Some spaces may incorporate these features, but a strong trend exists in really defining the design of the space to best suit work flow. As a recent interview from the Social Workplace Conference has noted, “a variety of spaces help to keep people motivated.” There is an element that people can be distracting, but this will depend on the type of space one is looking for, and can also be sorted through when using a free trial period.

Lack of value

The question of value can always play a large part of someone deciding to join a coworking space. It may not even be that one will not receive value, but just the unknown. Can a social work environment filled with others trying to create something similar really be of value, help grow business, create a larger network, etc. These are doubts that exist within some. The main question is, “What am I really getting out of this?”

AnswerValue can be measured differently depending on the person. For small businesses, freelancers, entrepreneurs, or startup teams the cost of the space itself will be of value when compared to renting a space. The use of equipment, meeting rooms, and additional benefits that may come with the membership only grow this value. Other factors such as the potential to network, grow a client base, and work together on projects with those in the immediate vicinity create an immeasurable value depending on the long term goals. Even larger corporations are finding value with sending their people into a coworking space by finding new talent and collaborating on projects. Each person will have to define the value they are seeking, but when locating the right space even a day pass weekly can create value for the user.

People can always find an excuse not to try something. However, as the 2015 Coworking Survey demonstrates, coworking spaces and social workplaces are a movement. Coworknig spaces are only increasing in number and at a strong rate. The best question is, “Why not try one?”

Have you worked in a coworking space? Are any of these objections legitimate? How can you work around them? 

 

 

Spark.me 2016 - budva - montenegro

Spark.me Conference 2016

At the end of the year, an email came out for purchasing tickets for Spark.me Conference near Budva, Montenegro. Did I mention it will be on the beautiful COAST?! A few weeks ago, the speaker list started to drop. And now I am catching a steady stream of bloggers writing about their excitement and why they want to go to Spark as part of the blogger competition. More info here. All of this to say, I am pumped for Spark.me! (More of the story from this post)

Last year, I attended, and was blown away by the energy, quality, and value that was brought to the table. If you missed it, I suggest you head over to the Youtube channel and jump in on some of the videos. Topics of storytelling, placemaking, internet freedom,and the future of innovation were strong throughout the two days. These were accompanied by personal branding tips, SEO, and how to market your brand/business in an innovative era. All highly relative to a business and startup economy that is growing day to day.

I anticipate the same quality being on display from the stage, and being raised to the next level through the speakers and a variety of networking opportunities available each day and even after. Not only was inspired from the stage, but I was inspired by those I met looking to make a change through their craft. I walked away challenged to grow professionally, and learn from others who are making things happen in their respective communities. I was challenged by the diversity of perspectives on the range of topics surrounding business today.

This does not include the startup competition that will take place as well. If you have a game changing idea and want to get started then I recommend working your hustle, and applying here for the opportunity to pitch. Even if you are not completely ready for the competition, reps from incubators and investors come and offer mass amounts of advice to get young entrepreneurs moving down the road. Startup teams only gain from attending the conference whether they are to pitch or not.

Apart from the conference itself, a huge draw for me to attend Spark is the team of organizers. The group putting together the conference are easy to support for their love to inspire, coach, and lead others in succeeding in their goals. It would be easy to sit down and write a post on each member, and never do justice. They are difference makers who are examples of what it means to focus and achieve new levels. Not to mention how much they care about people and personal development. And I may have received a surprise birthday cake

These are the reasons why I look forward to being at Spark.me this year. I look forward to blogging about my experience and giving it my full attention via social media. It’s an important event for Montenegro and the Balkan region in rewriting its identity, and asserting itself on the European stage as a place for business and innovation.

If you haven’t purchased a ticket, head over to the website now and catch the early bird prices before it’s too late. If you went to the conference last year, who were favorite speakers? How were challenged the most?

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social media - marketing - books

5 Books To Read This Year For Social Media And Marketing

As I become more invested into the digital media world, I am making it a point to sharpen my edges with social media and marketing. I never thought that I would enjoy these as much as I have, but I learned two things about myself. 1) I LOVE people, and social media for me is an extension of that. 2) I LOVE to promote ideas, projects, businesses, people, places etc. which I truly BELIEVE in. Marketing is an avenue for such promotion. So with that here are 5 books that I plan to read this year to help improve my skill set.

The Art of Social Media: Power Tips for Power Users by Guy Kawasaki and Peg Fitzgerald

Kawasaki and Fitzgerald provide a look into how to effectively build a social media presence. This book comes highly recommended from friends working in the field. The pair have written something valuable for those getting started to professionals. Everyone is said to learn from the studies, tips, and tricks provided here. This will probably be where I start for the year.

Growth Hacker Marketing by Ryan Holiday

Holiday intends to set out a new rule book for marketing and growth. He draws upon the experiences of megabrands that have used very little investment in traditional marketing. Instead, they play by new rules, and Holiday wants to share them. This book seems great for businesses operating with a minimal marketing budget, but have the willpower to see their product forward. Certain to be important for today’s startup economy.

Shareology: How Sharing is Powering the Human Eceonomy by Bryan Kramer

This book seems geared toward entrepreneurs and marketers who want form their content to make it more shareable, as well as those interested in developing a personal brand that draws people. Kramer discusses the history and power of the sharing model, and how it can grow a business by adding value to others. Social media and marketing are about sharing and being shared which points at the possible value of Kramer’s book.

Stand Out: How to Find Your Breakthrough Idea and Build a Following Around It by Dorie Clark

Dorie Clark gives what some have said one of the top leadership books of 2015. I may be behind on this, but this book came to me in a recent discussion about redefining ourselves, and discovering new ideas. Clark discusses how to seize the opportunities that come from these ideas and progressing personal brands and transformation. (side note: This book is of great interest to me with my new discoveries involving social media and marketing. If you have any opinions or thoughts on it, please share.)

There is No B2B or B2C: It’s Human to Human #H2H by Bryan Kramer

In Human to Human, Bryan uses personal examples to set out a newer way of addressing marketing. His goal is to draw upon the human factor which operates with emotions rather than only thinking in terms of businesses and products. This book published in 2014 could be a gateway into rethinking marketing in the years ahead.

These are only five of what I look forward to reading this year. I highly recommend books by Gary Vaynerchuk such as Thank You Economy and Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook. Or Drive by Pink. I would also love to hear your recommendations or thoughts on any of the books above.

What are you reading in 2016?