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Since Launching: Observations from The MOW Cockpit

A year has passed since the Mothership of Work started its journey. A year of creating an vibrant member base, hosting hundreds of events, building community and creating partnerships. It’s a good time to take advantage of hindsight, take stock of what’s happened and what we’ve learned on the way. 

1. Think into the future

It’s worth thinking about tomorrow yesterday. Rather than solving today’s problems, thinking about the ones we might be facing tomorrow and -ideally- preventing them altogether is where we should be at. Whether this is depicted in adding a new coffee station to satiate the morning caffeine rush or redesigning spaces to reflect how people prefer to work, transitions happen smoother with foresight. 

2. Think small

We get the most positive feedback about the little things. These are also the things easily noticed. The things we’ve taken the time to think about. The things we’ve thought about, and then given some more consideration. An example of this is our coffee, which comes from local roasters and changes every two weeks, according to seasons, events and the preferences of our community. When something that’s a staple in a working space is rethought and upgraded, the everyday experience becomes elevated. 

3. Listen

Running a hub that may be the platform for the next Finnish success story, the most innovative creative minds or the solution to income inequality means that we have the privilege of being surrounded by folks often smarter than ourselves. This also means these are people with excellent ideas, and it’s worth taking the time to listen to them, whether it’s constructive feedback to improve processes, or a pitching of their newest project.

4. Think like a community

We don’t assume we’re qualified to make decisions for our community. The idea itself is a contradiction in terms, as community is the interaction and network formed by its members. This is why we take decisions to our community. Each month we allocate a certain amount of money to participatory budgeting and ask MOW Folks what we should spend it on. Another laser tag hub takeover? Monitors members can borrow from IT? More ice cream flavours for our ice box for the summer months? The newest NHL game for play station? Having agency in your own community is incredibly important, and something we foster. 

5. Never think you know what you’re doing

The worst thing we can do is assume we have a concept that is ready, and we can kick back and relax, gazing admiringly at this beautiful thing we’ve created. The form and nature of work continue to change and evolve at an increasingly fast pace. Instead of resting on our laurels, we keep a keen weather eye on developments in our own field, but also phenomena as varied as the advances in robotics, the work of environmental NGOs and the newest players in the local graffiti scene. Community is built on relationships, and it’s worth assuming that your own box isn’t the only interesting one out there. Think outside of it. 

Nina Ruotsalainen

Writer is the Fleet Commander, head of creative, content and communications for MOW and the new hub opening in Ruoholahti in the fall of 2017. MOW won Best Office Space in Finland at the Nordic Startup Awards in 2016. Nina believes in strong coffee, sustainable life choices and being brave and kind.  

Published 6.3.2017