Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The Studio Co-working Space in Canberra

Walking past the shopping centre in the inner Canberra suburb of O'Connor, I noticed a new sign for "The Studio" (Level 1, 3 Sargood Street, O'Connor ACT 2602). Bytron Little, Creative Director of graphic design company 26 Hundred, provided a tour and a very good cup of coffee.

For those not familiar with the concept, a co-working space (or creative collective space), provides a desk to run a micro-business from at low cost. The space is open plan and you are encouraged to make use of the skills of your fellow workers. You can pay for a full time desk of your own, or for a few hours a week. This is an excellent alternative to the home office, for those who need some company (and some help with their creative ideas). These spaces are typically occupied by graphic and web designers and other "creatives". Some, such as Entry 29, on the edge of Canberra's CBD, are intended for new start-up technology companes.

The Studio Canberra is much smaller that the other co-working spaces I have visited (Entry 29 Canberra, Fishburners Sydney, Spacecubed Perth and Sri Lanka Institute of Information Technology  Colombo). Apart from two clusters of desks, there is just room for a well equipped kitchen and a meeting table for four. There is no separate meeting room for confidential meetings (but there is a good coffee shop downstairs). The design is upmarket compared to Entry 29 (which was fitted our with second hand furniture) and is similar to Space-cubed Perth (131 St George's Terrace).

My hope is to be able to run courses for students learning about innovation, making use of such facilities. The idea would be that the student would study online and occupy a co-working space, rather than a university campus. They would take part in informal, or formal programs, such as Innovation ACT and learn to work with others. At the end of their course they would hand in an e-portfolio of business plans and other materials to receive formal academic credit. Regardless of if their business idea was successful or not, they would still learn.

ps: The Studio is also opening "Marrickville Studio" in Sydney, at 10 Mitchell St, Marrickville NSW 2204.

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