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Posts tagged new haven

The Advantages of Co-Working

Co-working is not a new innovation. It has been around as long as humanity itself, if not longer. Only recently has it been utilized in the business setting as a way to bring ideas and people together in one place to work side-by-side. These people are writers, artists, web designers, self-employed free-lancers and entrepreneurs who have forged new ways to make a living by doing what they love from the comfort of their homes; however they have long since decided that sitting at home with nothing but a laptop or cell phone for company was not the way to spend their days. For the same reasons they decided not to work at an office with cubicles—the isolation and the lack of a supportive network— they longed to break out of their seclusion.

What is the solution for their problem? The answer is co-working organizations like The Grove that use synergy—which literally means two or more parts working independently but towards the same goal or result—to provide their members with the most advantages possible.  These advantages include:

  • A collaborative atmosphere
  • A supportive network
  • A shared working environment
  • An escape from the distractions of the home
  • An alternative to working in cafés and coffee shops
  • Independence
  •  Assistance from other co-workers

 Working in this friendly, supportive environment provided by The Grove, there is no lack of help. If you need a push, they are willing to give it to you. Even if you do not have a membership, you are a part of the community because The Grove isn’t just the members and their organizations but New Haven as a whole. Everyone at The Grove works together for the betterment of the city. New Haven is a part of The Grove community and The Grove is a part of the New Haven community.

 

The Grove brings entreprenuers, non-profits together: wtnh.com

Member Profile: Glen

Let me introduce you to one of our very valued members and someone we’re glad to call a friend - Glen McDermott. Glen moved from his native Australia 11 years ago and recently launched an online e-learning business called iEvolve. which focused on the food & hospitality industries. Little did he know that much more than a business venture in America lay ahead of him…but first we must go back to Glen’s roots.

At the age of 10, he received a bicycle and everything changed. This “two-wheeled beast”, to quote Glen, became a new passion & a new way to connect with people and places that were previously outside his environment. There was something remarkable about the way a bicycle removed the insulation between a people and environments. This bicycle became as much a vehicle for growing his passion for people, nutrition, & the world around him, as much as for getting Glen around. Subsequently, this led to many cycling through countries around the globe

When he returned he began and a 9-month project with his brother to plant 30,000 trees in and around Canberra – Glen’s hometown. Today those trees are fully grown, some as wide as 4 feet and 100 ft high. In his words- “the greatest job satisfaction”

Glen joined our community at The Grove three months ago and found much more than a desk, internet, and good coffee. What he found was a collaborative community to “blue sky” ideas. In other words, thinking as high as you want to think without any tethers - an audacious venture for anyone. Even more profound, he found a community that gave him encouragement and a mature, diverse knowledge base to “blue sky” his passions around health, nutrition, and being a steward of the environment.

After years in visual retail marketing, a re-awakening and alignment of values & skill sets have culminated in the Glen’s current projects. One of which is donating 20% of his time to non-profit endeavors. Another, is helping bring healthy food options to convenience stores – to name a few of his ventures.

We’re so glad that the community at The Grove became fertile ground to openly discuss the values he holds, hence becoming a catalyst to “blue sky” a future that aligns with Glen’s passion for health, nutrition, and the environment on an e-learning platform.

Glen is also an accomplished photographer, chef, scuba diver, and avid cyclist. We’re glad to collaborate and dream with him.

Follow Glen online:

www.ievolvetraining.com

www.twitter.com/ievolvetraining

Guest Blog from Member Kevin Ewing

A blog from the Rev. Kevin Ewing. We’re fortunate and honored to call him a friend, Grove Member, and agent of change in our city. Here’s a little snap shot of his work in our community. 

revkev:

Community doesn’t just happen.  It doesn’t matter how extravagant the facilities, how educated and wealthy the residents, how well funded the programs or how established the management structures  (or the inverse of any of these)… community doesn’t just happen.  Not real community.  To get real community you have to work at it.  You have to MAKE it happen.  And it is VERY hard work.  So hard that I admit I often question my decision to publicly declare myself a ‘Community Organizer.’ 

But then it starts to work.  Things start coming together.  I start to hear the concepts I teach making their way into the conversation.  Concepts like the power of relationships; the importance of people; the value of place. Concepts like the power of collaboration - working together towards a cause.  But most of all the power of a Relational Community.  And my faith is restored.  They are more then concepts. They work.

I bring this up in relation to this article because I believe it illustrates two points that are evidence of a community that is beginning to think relationally… a community that is starting to embrace a relational culture.

Mother’s Kitchen sits in the area of the West River neighborhood that we are trying to call the West River Business Triangle District.  But most folks know of it as The Bottoms.  It is currently the only section of this small neighborhood zoned for retail and commercial businesses along with moderate density residential.  In other words, it is supposed to be a neighborhood business district.  You can easily walk to it from anywhere in the neighborhood.  It should be a vibrant place of commerce and social activity.  But what we got instead is… The Bottoms.

Of the roughly 20 commercial enterprises in this area, Mother is the only one that actually lives in the neighborhood. This is not to imply that only businesses run by people who live in a neighborhood actually care about the neighborhood.  That is way too much of a generalization.  However in the Bottoms… it happens to be true. 

Mother’s is a refuge and Mother is a jewel.  Countless times I’ve been in Mother’s and watched her generosity. 

The young man who has obviously fallen on hard times (or had hard times fall on him) comes in with only $5 and she gives him a $15 meal.


When she catered the West River Holiday party she got up and 3:00 in the morning and walked through a blizzard to make sure our curry chicken was ready.  I remember her extreme disappointment when we had to cancel the party but took back all the food she thought she could resell and gave me strict freezing instructions for the rest then insisted that I promise to bring them back to her to reheat when we rescheduled the party. Then a few weeks later when we hold the party she insists on cooking all new dishes because, “I need it to taste right. Never mind the money. My name is on that dish. I need it to taste right.”  Then she was insulted when I insisted on paying her for it.

Mother knows how to cook and how to hustle. For years she was able to work hard enough to keep up. When she got behind she just worked a little harder. She doesn’t know marketing. She doesn’t know bookkeeping. She knows how to cook and how to hustle.

Then she found she couldn’t hustle like she used to. Maybe she could put in the work but the reward just wasn’t there.  Compound that with a few scoundrels who took advantage of a warm-hearted, gentle and perhaps a bit naive woman and we end up with this mess.  Precision Services LLC is a predatory lender (though they will claim that they are providing financing to people who wouldn’t be able to get financing any other way (isn’t that what the mafia claims)) and frankly I am afraid of them taking over such an important piece of property.

Mother’s is in need of more than just money.  She needs a complete restructuring. Hopefully we can put something together that will let her just cook and be Mother in all her fabulous-ness.

So though I love Mother and don’t know what I’m going to do if I loose her Brown Stew Chicken with rice and peas and cabbage, I’m more concerned about what will happen if we loose that block to another ‘entrepreneur’ only interested in exploiting our community and keeping that block living down to its nickname - The Bottoms.

When we got the word that Mother was in trouble the neighborhood rallied.  But we didn’t know what we could do.  And here is where we see the first principle I want to lift up. A community is vibrant when the people take action.

We don’t know how this will turn out.  Mother may be in too much financial distress for us to be able to put together a package that makes sense (after all, this is about business.)  However we are willing to try.  Nothing ventured, nothing gained.  You have not because you ask not.  However you want to put it, nothing happens until you act.

The group of folks who are coming together around resolving this issue is impressive.  Not only do we have residents (both West River Neighborhood Services Corporation and the West River SHIP are predominately resident driven organizations - the later for profit and the former a 501c3) but we also have the City of New Haven Economic Development Administration, Yale Law Clinic, the Community Economic Development Fund, and various others working together.  And all it took was a few phone calls to bring this team together.

The significance here is that this team is the “community”.  In this usage “community” is relational.  Everyone who lives, works, plays or cares about this neighborhood is a part of our community.  There is no need to bicker.  There is no need to get territorial (as often happens when a group such as this comes together.)  It doesn’t matter your race, level of education, income, employment status… it doesn’t matter.  All that matters is that you care and are ready to act on your convictions.

My second point - more a refinement of the first point: It’s not just about acting. It’s about acting together.

As I stated earlier, we don’t know if we will be able to save Mother’s Kitchen.  We hope to be able to at least have the community take control of this anchor space in our neighborhood.  We don’t know.  It is the first time that we’ve come together around something this huge.  Regardless the outcome, however, we have proven the value of a relational culture.  It is the years of establishing a healthy public relationship with the people in our “community” that made it possible for us to respond as quickly as we have.

So in a sense we have won before we even begin the battle. We may not know exactly what we can do or how we can do it.  What we do know is that we can do SOMETHING!!!  We can act.  And we can act with confidence because we are acting TOGETHER!!!

In one of our Neighborhood of Choice meetings last year I presented again the concept of building community relationally and one of West River’s new leaders - Ann Greene  said, “It’s just like making Stone Soup.”  The metaphor is perfect.  I plan to write more about this later but basically the concept is that each person in our community brings with them the ingredients that make up this soup.  We each have a role in the building of our community and that construction only happens, or happens successfully, when we put it all together in the same pot. It’s relational.

The coalition of folks working to save Mother’s… to save West River… to save New Haven is like Stone Soup.  We stir it together, give it a taste and if something is missing we go out and get it.

The West River neighborhood is quickly becoming a Relational Community.

Creativity - Guest Blog by Create96

Walk into any classroom of small children and ask them who can draw. I guarantee you’ll get a room full of excited raised hands.  Then when they’re done,  ask them to show you their pictures and they’ll be falling over themselves (often literally) to be the first to show off their dinosaurs, unicorns, family portraits and wild designs.  The sense of creativity in the room is palpable and exciting.

But skip ahead just a few years and imagine walking into that same room full of high-schoolers (or even worse adults in an office) and ask the same question.  You might get a tentative hand or two to go up and agree to draw but good luck getting them to actually show you anything, let alone share it with the group.

There are plenty of people who seem to think this is a good thing, that we need to stifle our creative impulses, abandon our art in favor of solid, safe things that are more likely to pay us money.

We totally disagree.  Creativity isn’t just important, it’s necessary for the individual and for our society.

At the outset of Create96 two marketing guys came together over extremely similar mission statements we’d written on the subject of creativity.

“Creation is vital because inside everyone, including myself, are amazing stories, ideas and creations that need to be released, realized and shared so they can touch, inspire and change the world” - Mason Rabinowitz

“Transformation through creation, maybe it’s not just about the creation but about who we become through creating.”  - Jeff Kubarych

We decided to take our common passion for creativity to start something that would encourage the creative spark in all of us.  At Create96 we hope to provide inspiration, permission (not that you need it but just in case that’s what’s holding you back), and encouragement to create new and exciting things and then share them with a supportive and enthusiastic community.

We hope to inspire us all to become artists, film-makers, writers, builders, designers and creators of any and everything we can imagine.

Because who knows what we’ll create?

Who knows what we’ll become through creating?

We’re all familiar with the idea that when you take something out of the world you “86 it” and frankly the world does enough 86ing all on it’s own.  So we’d like to introduce a new phrase “96 it” for when you bring something brand new from your imagination into the world.  

So whether you’ve got an old creative passion you’d like to reignite or a creative outlet you’ve always wanted to try, consider this your challenge from us to go out there and 96it!

Jeff and Mason

Create96.com

The Grove, EDC, CTech, and Pulse are putting together an Entrepreneurship Showcase on November 16th at 6pm at The Grove. See what the face of entrepreneurship looks like here in New Haven.

The Grove and Ripple100 Launch Dream.Haven

DREAM.HAVEN is a collaborative experiment. Ripple100 The Storytelling App | Agencyand The Grove, A New kind of Social Space are getting together with the people of New Haven. We’re asking: What is your Dream?

Can the dreams of everyday citizens transform a city through storytelling, connecting, and collaborating? We will capture your dream, share it with others and see what happens when our storied dreams collide. 

We encourage you to go to the website www.dreamnhv.com and watch others from New Haven share their dreams, and then submit your own. We hope this organic form of storytelling leads to connection, collaboration, and an exciting movement throughout the city. 

A little more about who Ripple100 is:

Ripple100 The Storytelling App | Agency 

Like an ad agency, except we don’t do ads. We meet the same needs: brand, awareness, engagement, loyalty. Instead of ads we tell stories, mixing tech and sociology, we share with friends, they share with theirs. Like ripples we are moved in expanding circles to share, to buy, to vote, to advocate, to love and loyalty, to be communities of action, to do well and do good.

A Cultural Shift

In one sense The Grove is trying to bring about a cultural shift in New Haven, primarily in the way people and organizations work. Cultural shifts take time and are not easily nor quickly adopted. The Grove is providing a new kind of space to the people of New Haven. A space outside of home, outside of the coffee shop, and outside of a normal office. We are introducing a space that creates community, and inspires innovation. Members of The Grove find a launching pad for their ideas and passions in the context of others who are pursuing similar endeavors. Our hope is that the greater community would find The Grove to be a place that promotes innovation and poses creative solutions to New Haven’s issues and opportunities. 

If you are looking for a space to host an event, or find a community of like-minded individuals all working on interesting projects come stop in @ The Grove and check us out! 

Coworking…What you see is what you get!

I have heard it said that what you see is what you get. Living in my neighborhood has given me a whole new understanding of what that means. As I survey the landscape, I can be assured that the urban decay brought on by cycles of disinvestment, poverty brought on by a broken welfare system, loneliness brought on by fear, addictive behavior brought on by the breakdown of family, will continue unless a new vision can become reality. I long to see something different, and we are beginning to see transformation talking place.

The idea of a vision and a people succeeding has a lot to do with the power of collaboration. The work I do in my neighborhood depends on my ability to develop relationships and identify assets already found in the neighborhood in individuals and groups. Then, by working with local neighbors, this information is used to help create a new vision for a livable neighborhood. Collaboration is the only way I know to get the job done, because the work is too great to go it alone and others need to see what could be in order to fight for what is needed. Collaboration empowers people to take responsibility for their own lives. It helps neighbors to help their neighbors and moves them from welfare and relief to empowerment. It focuses on assets found in the neighborhood, which fosters local ownership of the problems urban neighborhoods face.

Collaboration is the ability to multiply each others’ strengths, and to produce a result that no party could have achieved alone. Newer, never before seen capability, as well as new opportunities, are the hallmark of true collaboration. When  collaboration is valued, each member will contribute to the mutually agreed upon objectives and goals. The outcome is, “We did it together”.

Why form a collaborative effort?

• It is a relational way of operating between organizations who desire to see change take place.
• Much more can be accomplished through the combined effort of the entities than can be accomplished alone.
• It cuts down on the tendency to reinvent the wheel as people and organizations learn from each other.
• It encourages the use of complementary gifts and allows pooling of resources.
• Fewer resources are used as organizations draw upon each others resources to accomplish the agreed goals.
• It allows for the real development of the power and potential within the group.
• New ideas come from letting people work things out themselves. This is an attribute of the whole, not of the individual members.

I have been working to develop Groundworks and the Grove as a way to harness the power of collaboration to confront the complex issues we face in our community. Groundworks helps incubate ideas, projects and new initiatives that can address the systemic issues in our city. The beauty of this is found in the co-creative nature that emerges through the collaborative process.

Funding for social innovation can be tough. Economics and the need for finacial funding can be a tough reality because transformation takes time and incramental change is difficult to quantify. One of the powerful realities that comes through collaboration is the fact that together is more and alone is less. There are innovative ways to go further with less. When we share finacially to accomplish the collective dream, we find the resourses needed. The biblical story of Jesus feeding the 5000 points to the truth that when we share what we have, we find more than enough. I can also say that when organizations decide to collaborate, we find that when one moves, the others move like gears. Each organization at the table benefits from the provision and success of the other. Collaboration has the power to end competition between people and organizations because the social reality is when one takes two steps forward we all move forward, and thats a win for all. When people commit to the process, understand who they are and what they can bring to the table, we have a powerful formula for change.