How can we increase the rate of innovation in a city through grass-roots community building, thereby inducing a much faster pace of development?
For over a century social scientists have known that the agglomeration of people engenders externalities of innovation: Alfred Marshall noted in the late 19th century that proximity amongst industry creates "something in the air...if one starts a new idea, it is taken up by others and combined with suggestions of their own; and thus it becomes the source of further new ideas..."
Researchers have found that as cities increase in size, the number of innovations increase super-linearly (at a rate of between 1.1 and 1.3, on average). This happens because, as the number of people in a city increases, there are more opportunities for those people to be exposed to new ideas and new people with new perspectives.
Some cities, however, churn out world-changing ideas and mediums at a much faster rate than others regardless of population. At The Office--and at our fellow coworking spaces across Africa and the world--we have unlocked the answer to why that is: We can accelerate the rate of innovation through community building and by engineering collisions of new ideas, people, perspectives, add ways of doing (“social particle acceleration”)! We have already seen the impact of this on our community and our city, as we have expanded our coworking space.
We believe that we can do even more to MAKEkgl an innovative city! Imagine a community innovation centre, a maker cafe, and an art bar all rolled into one. The space will bring together the entire city and expose them to new ideas and people by hosting a stupidly diverse range of events: from hosting maker faires, to TEDx events, to lectures, to idiosyncratic community meetups, to chess tournaments, to theatre and spoken word poetry performances, to town hall discussions with policymakers et cetera et cetera...
The space will inspire the city (and the world) by becoming the world's first zero-waste, carbon-negative cafe! Everything in the space, including the toilets and appliances, will be fabricated locally giving the city the creative confidence to make it's own future. Finally, we will insulate our community and space from outside interests, by financing ourselves entirely through our global community.
Join us to makeKGL a more innovative city and to replicate this model across the world!
This session is part of the GLOBAL INNOVATION GATHERING programme.