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Over the past six months we’ve had the honour of sharing The Creative Space model and philosophy with a number of cities.  Last week we spoke in Collingwood and that spark was all they needed to start to blaze a trail of coworking in their city.

Before that meeting we ran into Sondra Van Dolder who was ready to start a community in Huntsville.  This coming Friday we share the vision with that great city! (I’ve spent many summers there growing up.)  They will be the first to help form what we’re calling The Creative Space Coworking Collective. (CSCC)

It’s these two gatherings that have got me thinking more about spreading our model around and thus I’ve begun to write down more of who we are.

What makes TCS different than other spaces and communities?

Most of what we’re known for is similar to many coworking spaces.  Open and flexible space, focused on making it easy for entrepreneurs and startups to get work done in a space they love to be in with people they love to work with.

Our core values –

On top of that here are four other things that I would say are foundational to The Creative Space.  Some overlap with the core values, but still need to be stated:

1) Social Responsibility

We are a community.  The basis of our formation is around our need to belong.  The other side of that coin is our responsibility to give.  We at TCS are a “giving community.”  We do not think we are higher or better or deserve more than the next guy.  We believe we are here on the earth for a purpose.  We believe that each person was created unique and has worth.  Therefore we serve and give and pass on those values.  Each member/company in the space should be able to show their social responsibility through corporate donations/in-kind support or volunteering with a charity or group.   We also give special rates to social agencies who see the need for space.  We aren’t naive to think that everyone will adhere to these “beliefs” 100% but, the essence of them, we hope will form the DNA of each Space that is planted.

“Whoa, this is a business, what’s with all the Kumbaya?!”  Well, I guess that’s what separates us.  We see business as just an excuse or opportunity to fulfill our purpose to serve and make our community a better place. We also want to make sure that all the member businesses are socially responsible to care for self, each other and our community.  If your product, message or service in anyway hurts people, we’d rather you work somewhere else.

2) Environmental Responsibility

We believe that we have a responsibility to take care of not only ourselves but our planet.  We hope to continue to make our spaces as green as they can be.  We encourage peddle/people power as much as possible and public transit as well.  If you live in the community you work, why not bus, walk, bike or blade to the Space?  We want to ask that all the member businesses strive to be environmentally responsible.  Re-use, re-purpose.  If your product, message or service in anyway hurts the environment, we’d rather you work somewhere else.

3) Education/Mentorship Focus

Our open space concept affords us all to look up and around to solve a problem.  If you think you are the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room.  We all have things to learn from (and teach) each other.  We’d like TCS to be a hub of new learning techniques for life and business and include as many ages as we can with the resources available. (see SPARK –  We want to be known as a place of mentorship.  And we see holistic mentorship as the goal.  We don’t just care about how your business is going, we want to know how your marriage is holding out, are you taking care of yourself, etc.  We are partnering with our in-house business mentor and programs to make this happen.

4) Historical/cultural bent

We believe that new ideas need old spaces, so we prefer re-claimed spaces over newly built.  Now, that can make the “green” pursuit hard, but with some investment and time, old spaces can be environmentally sound.

Also, we believe art and creative expression are not just accessories to our lives, but necessities.  The way we tell our life story sometimes cannot be expressed through mere words.  We need dance, music, sculpture, illustrations and allegories.  We desire to encourage, support and display local artwork and be a space where arts and culture, business and life intersect.

If you think a Creative Space could form and flourish in your town or city give us a shout and we’ll come there to share and maybe be that spark for you and your community!