Pi/e Day: collaboration and conversation.

We want to make Covington a more collaborative place to live and work. We’re going to start with pie. On Saturday 3/14/15 9:26AM, in honor of “Pi Day” (Pi=3.1415926, see what we’re doing there?), Hub+Weber is hosting an event to bring people together, eat pie, drink coffee, and discuss collaboration. 

Our guest speaker, Megan Deal, was one of the co-founders of PieLab, a pie shop and cultural hub in Greensboro, AL.  After PieLab Megan went on to do little Things Labs, D:hive—a talent attraction and retention storefront in downtown Detroit, and co-write a great book called Searching for Necessity. Megan also does a bunch of stuff right here in greater Cincy, the biggest of which is the philanthropic lab called Peoples Liberty. She will discuss how PieLab came about and their mission to create a neutral space in the community for conversation and connections. 

PieLab began as a place where like-minded creatives could hang out and work, but its ambition was more than a co-working space.  Pie Lab was a public place for all community members to meet that collected a diversity of thinkers spanning the socioeconomic strata of the rural community.

PieLab had a simple ethos:
PieLab = a neutral place + a slice of pie.
A neutral place + a slice of pie = conversation.
Conversation = ideas + design.

from Fast Company

from Fast Company

The concept of bringing people together definitely isn’t new. It’s difficult to spend more than a couple minutes on the Internet without seeing a story about coworking. There has recently been a shift towards making existing offices more like this. Emergent Research forecasts that in the next five years, more than 1 million people will be using coworking spaces. Huge companies like Google are designing their new campus to maximize chance encounters. All of this is because sharing space and these chance encounters have real benefits.  A 2011 Deskmag survey of more than 1,500 coworkers in 52 countries found that:

This new way of working clearly helps small businesses and freelance workers. But can we take the idea of coworking and fuse it together with community involvement? We have no shortage of creative thinkers in our city that meet on varying frequencies, places and organizations. We have many groups of people that are making Covington better. How can we be more effective?

Covington has places where people can meet with no organized public social element. These are often used for impromptu meetings brought about by chance encounters.  But it lacks consistency.  You might run into someone, you might not.

Covington has groups of people without a dedicated place, nebulous and untethered. They move about the city - both geographically and programmatically.  Some of these groups are highly purposed in their activities and goals, others are more casual hangout collaborations without a particular goal or objective.  And while some of these groups are public and inclusive, others are closed and private - either by design or just perception.

Covington has an incredible amount of diverse, committed folks; working, coworking, thinking, talking. (Renaissance Covington, CBC, Covington Arts, Awesome Collective, Grow the COV, cov200, platform53, UpTech, Biologic, thinkers coffee, center for great neighborhoods, cov10, incubator kitchen, make Goebel great)

If we could bring these groups under the same roof, what could we accomplish? Is there an opportunity to host regular public discussions and gatherings? To identify a place for an exchange of ideas and discussions that already take place all over Covington?

Think of it as a co-meeting space or co-thinking space. Independent groups bouncing ideas off each other, inspiring each other, all for the common good of the community. Working on your own thing and getting some ideas from someone else or lending your ideas to someone else’s project.  A place where you could hear an interesting lecture or watch a movie or participate in a discussion about art, design, creative placemaking, community development, etc.

Can we harness the creative power of all the different groups currently operating in Covington and create a place for cross pollination of ideas and activities? What is Covington’s Pie Lab?  Come to Hub+Weber on Pi Day to join the discussion.