As I arrived in Auckland in June I kept finding more and more of the inspiring things happening around town and in Aotearoa. Through the inimitable Jade Tang, I came across the newly established ‘coworking space for changemakers’, The Kitchen in Ponsonby. Also the history of other creative space-sharing endeavours, such as the fantastic and growing The BizDojo co-working space and its new Makerspace in Karangahape Road where creatives can spread out and make a mess whilst in the middle of full production (and have the equipment to do it). Both are inspiring models where exciting things are happening, and I am glad to see Auckland, Wellington and New Zealand in general start to be populated by the energy of these creative space-sharing initiatives.
Amongst the network of The Kitchen, I came across Jonathan Avery’s Enspiral Engineering and what turned out to be the mothership network of Enspiral. Declaring establishment in 16 cities and 5 countries or so at the time, I somewhere picked up the false impression that the video summary from the founder Joshua Vial was coming from Boston in the US. It took a chat to Jonathan one night at The Kitchen to realise Enspiral was a home-grown Welly project, initiated there by Joshua and team, in early 2009.
Enspiral is indeed inspiring. At least I find it to be so. It is developing and refining a socially innovative business model which allows for self-directed energy to flow within an organisation. For practical understanding it could most simply be described as a collective of freelancers and businesses pooling their resources in order to be able to work on projects they care about. Here what Enspiralites have in common is a desire to make a positive difference the social and ecological challenges of our times; to do meaningful, valuable work.
The collective has a core group of talented designers, programmers, marketers and other related professionals delivering digital media projects. This is now expanding into a more robust set of skills such as legal, accounting, and engineering services, and this diversity has also led to its success as an incubation platform for startups working in the changemaking space.
Seeing the fit with my own life values, creative professional skills and experience I jumped at the chance to be a part of this fascinating network of talented individuals, working to invent a new, value-based way of doing business. A more-than-profit mentality that embraces the efficiencies and potential benefits of a network effect both in our immediate professional lives, and globally in terms of responsive business models for a challenging future.