A few weeks back I put my intention out to open a Beacon Collaboratory, or what I called in the blog post a “Superhero School.” As I look around me, I’m seeing a pattern of convergence towards these kinds of live/work/play spaces. As “living labs,” these spaces bring together elements of a tech incubator, an R&D facility, a hackerspace/fablab, a sustainability demonstration site, and it’s all tied to place – with the projects / prototypes / experiments being done there carried out and implemented in the local area, stimulating the economy, creating jobs, and building resilient communities throughout the area and the region.
I’ve been over to the dream property four times now, and each time I go it seems I have a clearer sense of how the whole thing could work.
I can see it as being an innovation hub and retreat center, wrapped in a creative learning culture. Just 90 minutes by train from NYC, a welcome change of scenery for Silicon Alley.
As ‘collaboratory’ is defined as a “center without walls,” it could be a second home to a lot of different change agent organizations. For instance, Hub could have a presence there, COMMON could launch some socially conscious enterprises there, Open Source Ecology might build some equipment there, and a hacker collective could run a bootcamp there. There could be programs for teaching kids to code, mentorships with high school students to guide them from idea incubation to entrepreneurship, and events around any number of topics, like arts and culture, technology, business, sustainability, or spirituality.
At any rate, I wanted to do a bit of a deep dive to find existing examples of these types of things around the world, and was pleasantly surprised to find hundreds.