Cities are amazing things. Their growth during the 17th and 18th centuries helped lay the foundation for some of the largest leaps in thought in that era, and have continued to be a source of innovation ever since. A conversation in one of the booming coffee houses in 17th century London lead to the writing of Newton’s Principia; another chat lead to the creation of Lloyd’s of London, the world’s first insurance agency. The Industrial Revolution grew slowly within cities, drawing people in with opportunities for economic growth. The density of people in urban centers helped to spread ideas by developing a fertile environment for it. The more seeds of ideas that are planted in one area, the better the chances those thoughts will bump into each other and spawn completely new, innovative thoughts. The internet may have us more connected to more resources than ever before, but there is still something special about meeting people face to face. Adding a personality and a voice to all those interesting Facebook posts and LinkedIn updates. That is where The Collaboratory, a new place for people to connect, share, and develop, comes in.
The Collaboratory is located at Courthouse Square, the hub of downtown Dayton, and provides a space for everyone to use. There is a wealth of talent in this area, and we are seeing it grow in leaps and bounds. It is being developed in homes and small offices through the city, people working long days on labors of love. The Collaboratory is a space for people who are looking for more tools, a change of scenery, and more access to expert advice on building a business. It is for entrepreneurs who are just starting out and looking for help and for established businesses needing a place to work on larger projects. Being downtown encourages a wider group of people to come and utilize the space, attracting politicians, students, non-profit experts, and civic leaders to interact and develop new ideas to enhance the Miami Valley. It is within walking distance to many resources, like the Metro Branch of the Dayton Public Library, Sinclair Community College, and Boston Stoker. Physically, it offers one of the largest white boards in the Miami Valley, as well as internet access, public and individual tables, and the ability to be reserved for morning and evening meetings. All of this access costs just $5 and a mention on social media!
This venture has been spearheaded by Peter Benkendorf, someone who has believed strongly in this community since he moved here in 2008. He is head of Involvement Advocacy, a group dedicated to encouraging collaborative efforts and creating support systems for those seeking to build a better Dayton. By developing spaces and events that bring people together, better known as Collaborative Infrastructure, Involvement Advocacy is looking to put our city on the map with St. Louis, New York, and Oakland as leaders in innovation. Spaces like this foster interaction with thinkers in diverse industries, ones that may not otherwise have a chance to sit down at a table together. This is where new concepts are developed, ones that can add a fresh sparkle to the Gem City.
Cities are engines for developing new ideas, and Dayton has the talent and imagination to make its own future. The Collaboratory wants to collect that imagination and turn it into businesses, actions, and inspiration to go out and connect with members of your community. There are many places in Dayton you can go outside of your office to get some work done. There are few where you have all of the resources you need to assemble something new. This space will be open on Monday, January 18th from 10 AM to 4 PM. We look forward to seeing and reporting about all of the phenomenal new ideas to come out of The Collaboratory! What will you be heading downtown to build?