Project: Blank Canvas

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Wellington’s upcoming home for creative, techies and small businesses.

BizDojo has an exciting new project up our sleeves.

Project: Blank Canvas is the code-name for our massive new undertaking - the creation of a large collaborative working and event environment, that will be able to support a community of up to 200 of Wellington’s talented creatives, techies, startups and entrepreneurs.

We envisage this space to be an integral part of the local ecosystem, and therefore Project: Blank Canvas is about involving the wider community and getting your input on how the space develops.

Watch this video from the Blank Canvas blog where Nick Shewring gives the low-down on the formation of the project.

Starting at the end of next week, we will be holding a number of workshops around how the space will function, interact with local community and meet the current and future needs, wants and ambitions of Wellington’s ecosystem. This means we want your input and brain-power to help us understand how we can make this space awesome.

If you’d like to join these sessions, jump on the Project:Blank Canvas database. Enter your details and pick which workshop you would like to attend. We will send you a follow up email a more detailed breakdown of how the workshops will run.

In the meantime, keep connected with this project by following our dedicated website and blog www.projectblankcanvas.com, select to join the Facebook group, or follow BizDojo on Twitter and Facebook for updates.

The Project NZ Takeaways - Rum and Ruminations

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The Project NZ hit Auckland for the third year running, the love-child of SMNZ (recently acquired by Catalyst90), the US Embassy and AUT.  Katherine, our BizDojo Wellington Community Manager, headed up to the conference to check out the line-up. 

The theme this year - Digital Disruption - aside from the irony of the constant AV issues, created some interesting conversations ranging from Lorde to youth leadership in Africa.

There was a huge amount of insight and information dished out by over 30 speakers over the two days, so I had some trouble distilling the highlights! But here’s some nuggets from some of the speakers and some recurring themes. 

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New Kids On The Block!

We’ve been lucky enough to have a great crop of new residents join the Dojo massive over the summer break, both in Auckland and Wellington. Dig in and learn a bit about the faces that we see every day, and the amazing things that they do! Enjoy.

AKL BizDojo: Kate Highet

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We’re delighted to have Katie Highet residing with us at BizDojo Auckland (and even more delighted that the printer finally started working for her!). Katie works in the intersections of global development and technology. She’s currently the Pacific Manager at the GSMA mWomen program, which is a public‐private partnership between the worldwide mobile industry and the international development community, aiming to increase women’s access to and use of mobile phones and life-enhancing mobile services in developing markets. Pretty awesome. She also has a penchant for cheese (“the smelly ones”) and is making a cheese-based visit to southern Italy this year.

WLG BizDojo: Matt Hall

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Welcome to Matt Hall of MedRecruit, who’s been adding that much needed sense of humor to our daily quizzes and social gatherings down here in Wellington! He’s a recruiter for overseas doctors who have expressed an interest in jumping ship and coming down to Australia or New Zealand to begin a new career, and has a had a multitude of other varied jobs, so he’s a bit of a jack-of-all-trades. He’s really into music, going to gigs, and kicking it at home with a beer. We love him because he’s hilarious, and not afraid to make the occasional non-P.C. joke. 

AKL BizDojo: Erick Engstrom

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Devaldi founder and long-time occasional Dojo Auckland resident Erik Engstrom has recently come into our lives in a more permanent manner and we’re pretty stoked to have him in the house. Four years ago (can you even remember what life was like pre-iPad?), Erik started developing FlexPaper, an open sourced web based document viewer while he was working for a hedge fund. What started as a way to allow PDFs to be viewed in web browsers has morphed into a full service publishing product, and has allowed him to leave his suit behind and devote himself full-time to FlexPaper.

AKL Dojo: Tim Farland
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Over the last 7 years, Tim Farland has been bouncing around the globe, working as a Developer and Product Manager for startups in London, Berlin, Vienna, and Prague. Recently, he returned home to Aotearoa and was working remotely for a San Francisco-based startup (of course) until deciding to take the plunge into developing his own products / living off his savings. Said projects include a financial news site (by himself) and on a machinery parts import/export business (with a co-founder). He’s not too busy to chat about additional ideas and projects though…

Tim also hosts a weekly radio show on 95bFM (Mondays 11pm-1am, check it out here) and has released an EP in Germany with an LP to follow this year. FUN!

WLG/AKL: One Percent Collective Interviews Joe Michael

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And finally, a double-whammy with Pat Shepherd from One Percent Collective (WLG Dojo) interviewing Joseph Michael from the AKL Dojo! This is exactly the kind of thing we love, folks from different places reaching each other through the BizDojo network. You can check out this interview about generosity after the jump…

BizDojo Plans To Help Accelerate Cool Kiwi Products
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The Product Accelerator will be a lot like the very successful Lightning Lab digital accelerator programme that launched in Wellington just last year, and is now going into its second round. In fact, LL are good mates and we’ll be collaborating wherever the opportunity arises.

We’ll invite teams and individuals with clever ideas for connected gadgets to pitch, Dragons Den style. Successful teams will get a wedge of cash to get them going, and 30 weeks in a great environment all set up for product development, including rapid prototyping machines. They’ll get great mentorship and input from a bunch of really clever product engineers and industrial designer types, from the BizDojo and even an international guest or two.
At the end, teams will pitch their products to a big audience of potential investors from across NZ… and hopefully even a few from abroad. If they fly, well who knows, they could end up like Nest… who Google just snapped up for a cool $3.2 billion in cash. Now that would be a good outcome for NZ, Inc… and the clever inventors!
Digital Workhub Project Report Launch

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BizDojo partners Jonah Merchant and Nick Shewring spoke earlier this month in Brisbane at the launch of the report ‘Digital Work Hubs: An Activation Framework for South-East Queensland’.

About 100 people representing the public and private sector, investors, operators and general community attended the launch event, which was the culmination of an extensive research project by Regional Development Australia (RDA) agencies covering the Sunshine Coast, Moreton Bay, Logan/Redland, Brisbane and Gold Coast areas. The Digital Workhub Project (DWHP) research examined in depth the opportunities and challenges for establishing a network of digital work hubs across the South East Queensland study area.

Jonah and Nick discussed the BizDojo learnings from establishing and operating a network of coworking spaces in the New Zealand environment, and the opportunities these learnings identified in the Queensland context.

A key focus in Queensland has been around the lengthy commutes facing many of the 200,000 workers in the regions who travel to Brisbane each day. In some cases, these commutes are as much as two hours each way, ranking South East Queensland as one of the worst globally in this regard.

Leveraging the ability of digital work hubs to support teleworking, so that staff can work remotely in a ‘third space’ environment separate from the office or home is a strategic goal for Queensland with associated benefits identified in terms of individual wellbeing and productivity, and regionally with infrastructure savings and regional economic growth. The value add of these benefits to the region are significant, with the DWHP research identifying that an 8-hub model in a region could generate over AU$150mill value annually in productivity gains, reduced infrastructure costs, and other indirect value adds.

The DWHP has been a fantastic initiative, bringing substantial rigor and analysis to assessing the economic benefits of coworking and similar shared workspace environments, and the BizDojo team has been excited to be able to contribute to this growing body of knowledge endorsing the concept.

The full report is available online and is well worth a read, with plenty of insights equally applicable in both the New Zealand and Australia contexts. Check out also the full press release on the launch event here.

#ScribbleAKL celebrates its 100th event

Dear Scribbler,

This is a special message just for you – a thank you for showing your support for #scribbleAKL and a personal invitation to the 100th event!

Can you believe the 100th #scribbleAKL event is coming up??

How did it get to 100?? The answer is simple – you(’re to blame haha). #scribbleAKL continues because awesome people like you come along. Whether you’ve attended a little, or attended a lot, what matters is that it’s all contributed towards getting scribble to this milestone 100th event. For this, I sincerely thank you and think we should celebrate!

It really is a privilege to know and be amongst such talented, caring, interesting, diverse, creative and knowledgeable people on a weekly basis. I see individuals with amazing potential, change-makers, visionaries, future leaders and generally awesome people that do great things. It’s inspiring. That’s why I’ve been to so many. Well.. all of them haha. I do it for the community.

As always in Bhav’s world there are plenty of things to work on – like the 100th flyer! (It’s going to be something more than a flyer) Aside from that, at the top of the list is get in contact with you so you’re one of the first to know that the event details are officially up (yup, running on Bhav time).

What’s happening with the flyer Bhav?! Well, I’m creating something special.. an evolving flyer! At the end of the process it’s going to be a limited edition commemorative artifact you can own via a donation! More details coming soon.

The last truly special #scribbleAKL was the 50th where the majority of the active scribble community came together for a great evening. For the 100th celebration, my wish is for the community to come together again for something next level epic! We’ve even got a fitting venue to match - inside the concrete silos at silo park!

IMPORTANT DETAILS: #scribbleAKL no.100
7pm for 7.30pm
Saturday 2nd November, 2013
Silo6, Silo Park, Wynyard Quarter

PLEASE RSVP via: Eventbrite: Scribbler Special Ticket Link
Facebook: Facebook Event Page

I don’t have all the details figured out for the 100th event but I can tell you that there will be a gong, yes, a gong.

If you’re keen to help please let me know.

Thank you again for your support and being a part of the community,

B h a v

Host - #scribbleAKL
Head Honcho Creative Guy - #scribbleINTL

PS: We have a #scribbleAKL Art Week event on tonight! #scribbleAKL x Circuit K’Road Art Week Event

3D Virtual Tabletop KickStarter gets 1100% Funding!

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That’s not a typo. 3D Virtual Tabletop, the immersive new system for tabletop gaming across mobile devices, has garnered an incredible $56,000 for their project. That’s $51,000 dollars over their goal of $5,000, putting them at 1100% over goal! If you take a look at their Kickstarter page, you can see how many stretch goals and amazing new features they smashed through on their way to the top. A product that started out as a modest proposition now has the potential to reach many more people on more platforms (Windows/Mac desktop, & Windows Phone have been added), with a fuller feature base and great customisation options. Amazing, right?

We caught up with Brendon Duncan, the creator of 3DVT, to talk about his experience using Kickstarter as a New Zealander, and also how the Dojo helps Kiwis get ahead when using Kickstarter to fund their projects.

+What did you learn from the process, and what kind of advice can you offer other New Zealanders hoping to use Kickstarter?

I’ve got lots of advice, I’ll break it down into high-level strategies and low-level tactical details, and give you the top 3 of each.

High-Level Strategy

As with many things in life, the key component of your success is preparation.

  1. Have your marketing campaign tried, tested and refined before beginning your Kickstarter.  The analytics provided by Kickstarter, while reputedly better than Indiegogo, are rudimentary at best and make it difficult, if not impossible to evaluate your marketing efforts.  It’s much easier to do this on your own website, even if it is just a landing page with a signup form.
  2.  Leave some fat for partners in your Kickstarter margins.  If you truly have something outstanding you will get approached by people wanting to collaborate, and some of these will be high quality offers that are worth incorporating into your project.
  3. Do everything you can to build up the number of backers during the beginning of the campaign, projects with many backers have their own momentum.  If you’ve got any paid marketing or articles lined up, do more of it in the early stages.

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Low-Level Tactics

  1. To build up momentum, post an update for your project every 2 days so that your supporters have a reason to tell others about you.  Each time you post an update, also mention it everywhere else around the internet where your target audience will see it.  Ideally before you start you should have a plan of updates that you can post for the first ⅓ - ½ of the project.  You can use stretch goal announcements as part of this.
  2. Start your project early in the week and early in the morning.  The first few hours and first few days are crucial, so put yourself in the best possible position.  If your project doesn’t have a lot of momentum, you’ll have reduced activity in the weekends so stay away from those for both the beginning and the end.  Also start and end your project at the time of day where your audience is online, which is probably somewhere around 6am-9am in New Zealand.
  3. Backer engagement is very important as they will become a very important source of more backers.  If your funding target and team are large enough, keep an eye on your Kickstarter 24 hours a day to promptly answer questions and address concerns, not just on the on the Kickstarter site, but also on the various forums and communities where people will be discussing your project.  Initially, this may seem like a waste of time as you will certainly get extended dead periods, but a good indication that you have momentum is when you have activity at all times of the day and night.

+How did the BizDojo help with getting your project off the ground?

The Dojo helped in 2 main ways:

  1. Reviewed and improved the copy on the project page.  Phil made the benefits of the product much more obvious which I’m sure helped encourage people to pledge.
  2. Advised me to run the project longer than the Kickstarter recommended time of 30 days.  Initially I was skeptical because all the advice I have seen has recommended 30 days, but I changed it to 45 and I’m so glad I did.  The biggest problem is not persuading people to pledge, it’s getting people to know that your project exists in the first place and having it around for longer greatly helps this.  Even with the project going for 45 says I still had people contacting me in the days after it finished because they had missed it but still wanted to pledge.

+What’s next for your project and how do you plan to roll it out? You’ve got so many new features to add.

I will be staging out the release of the initial Kickstarter version of 3D Virtual Tabletop over the next 3 months, which will contain the features included in the original Kickstarter funding target.  Updates will be released after that as each stretch goal is implemented, with backers that pledged for immediate and early access getting to experience them first.  I have a lot of work to do but the massive support of backers on Kickstarter lets me know that it’s worthwhile.

 If you haden’t already heard, The Biz Dojo’s Kickstarter intiative partners with MEA to provide results to small and large Kickstarter projects. We’ve got a great track record of success, and are available to help on variety of levels, check out the site for more details!

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Farewell to Big Ears

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After more than two years with the Biz Dojo, we are sad (and proud) to say that BigEars is leaving the nest to move to their own office in downtown Wellington! It’s been an amazing experience watching them grow into an inspiring international business, and they’ve been doing it with style, evidenced by their recent success at the Wellington Gold Awards. Kath and Pepper have enjoyed Wellington’s daily quiz time with the enthusiastic (and trivia-savvy) BigEars team members, and they will be missed!

Stu, the systems admin and configuer said, that while moving to a new office will be a great experience, “The Dojo is special, because the people who work here are from all different fields and walks of life. There’s no hierarchy in a coworking space, so everyone is on the same level, and it’s fun! I’ll miss that.”

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While it is a bit sad to watch them go, it’s also a reminder that this is what the Dojo is about. We’re a home for innovation, and when the Dojo’s finest innovators reach a certain level, it’s only natural that they move into the world to carve out their own space. We’re amazed at the strides they’ve made in the time we’ve known them, and we’re excited to see what lies in store for them in their future! Thanks so much for a wonderful few years, BigEars, we look forward to seeing you around Wellington!

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Nick and Jonah’s Visit to Brisbane Digital Work Hub

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If you know Nick and Jonah, you know they’re busy guys. With the Better Work Tour, a bevy of Dojo-related events, and the Auckland Airport collaboration, it’s amazing that the two of them managed to find time to scoot over to Brisbane and participate in the Digital Work Hub project forum. Yet there they were, spreading the good word about collaborative workspaces to yet another eager audience of great thinkers and innovators.

The Digital Work Hubs are a new experimental space-concept being created as a model for use across South East Queensland, to provide dispersed (but inter-connected) “hubs” for collaborative work, and shared workspaces. Commute times, uninspiring workspaces, and lack of access to community events and networks all add up to an less efficient and less inspired workforce, and the officials in Queensland are exploring better ways to enhance people’s work, and in doing so, boost the economy and drive innovation. Currently, they are in the stage of exploring the supply and demand of the region, and pulling in great folks to provide input on how to make the system run smoothly, with a strong culture of community, collaboration, and new thought. 

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As thought leaders in the co-working community, the BizDojo brought a toolkit of tactical plans and real-world advice to help make the case for more access to coworking in all areas of South East Queensland. As Jonah said in reference to the Dojo’s residents, “By coming together, they are able to take on much larger projects and benefit from the ability to use great facilities and bounce ideas off each other. We’ve seen projects where people in our Auckland based office are collaborating online with people in our Wellington office to turn out some really great stuff.

“Knowing how well this concept has worked in New Zealand, we’re looking forward now to seeing this progressive thinking from South East Queensland moving into full implementation and activation, to really start harnessing the evolving trends in work practices around co-working and smart work centres, in order to drive support and growth for local businesses in the SEQ regions.”

Keep tabs on the project over at the Digital Work Hub project’s site.

Survive & Thrive Teams Up With Biz Dojo

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Survive & Thrive is New Zealand’s smart-thinking event for creators, innovators, and anyone keen to use design and arts-led practice to build resilience in their career, business or organisation. 

This year, Survive & Thrive runs for TWO days and will be held on 13-14 September, at AUT University’s Sir Paul Reeves Building. A rich mix of inspiring world-class speakers, practical workshops, networking, one-on-one mentoring and independent sessions led by sector organisations, makes this an unmissable professional and enterprise development event.

Survive & Thrive 2013 was conceived and delivered by Dojo residents Arts Regional Trust and The Big Idea, artwork designed by Dojo resident, Dylan du Plessis. (We’re all over this)

The future is here already - are we all ready? Survive & Thrive believes that it’s up to us to take charge of the disruption and fast-paced change that living in the FutureNOW brings, and our line-up of local and international speakers will explore just that. Alex Hillman, of the Better Work Tour, will be speaking here for the Auckland leg of his journey, make sure you pick up your tickets!

On Friday, 13 Sept., build the day your way - weave your way through any of the four strands of content, or you can pick and mix to build a day that matters most to you. Our resident sustainability strategist, Rebecca Mills, is presenting about becoming a global acupuncturist - you’ll have to come and hear her to find out more. Rumour has it that some of Joseph Michael’s work could also be on display

Then, on Saturday, 14 Sept., get vocal, you’ll be provoked! The BizDojo are joining a number of other organisations in hosting POP: Share sessions. Ours (co-hosted by Boosted and Give a Little), is called ‘Crowdfunding Now’. Join us to talk about what you love, hate, and most importantly, what you want in crowdfunding, what you’ve learned, and what you’d do differently. In the afternoon, is Dr Ralph Kerle (one of IBM’s 100 Global Creative Leaders 2011) - running a ‘world cafe’ style workshop exploring how to harness creative thinking and contribute to the vision of making Auckland one of the world’s most liveable cities.

We would love to see you there and hear what you have to say. Survive & Thrive have given us discounted tickets - just $105 [inc GST and booking fees]. Buy them online at Eventbrite and enter the discount code ASSOC132 for two days, or ASSOC131 for Fri 13 Sept.

Pixel Jam Goes Off at the Wellington Dojo

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This past weekend, Pixel Jam invaded the BizDojo Wellington, for a 48-hour competition in game creation. Game developers and artists came from the region, and even as far afield as Palmerston North, to compete for the title of Pixel Jam Champion 2013. They brought with them the most impressively kitted-out desktop CPUs that the world has ever seen.

Coordinated by a pair of Victoria University students, Pixel Jam has entered its third year running, with a record-hitting 63 participants. Pepper Curry and Katherine Field were on hand to witness the hard work everyone put into the event, and the outcome was incredible.

What was this year’s theme, you ask?

The tried and true YOLO.

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"You Only Live Once" ended up factoring into each game in a big way, and the winners took the prize for creating a Yolo Road Trip that would give the Safe Teen Driver campaign a heart attack. Other interpretations included single-hit kills, themes around seizing the day, and power-ups that allowed the player to live better/faster/stronger.

Most amazing was the amount of great game content the participants came up with over the course of just 48 short hours. Full-fledged games, great concepts, and original ideas came from all directions during the final presentation, and the four Judges (of PikPok, MiniMonos, and NZ Gamer) were clearly impressed by the ability of the teams. GameBuilder, Unity, JavaScript, and even Haskell were utilised in the creation of the programs, and art styles ranged from 3D-rendered worlds to 2D pixel art.

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It was great to have an opportunity to fully experience and showcase Wellington’s budding game talent in such an immersive way, and the high level of participation and engagement was a great indicator of the tech gaming industry growth that is clearly in Wellington’s bright future!

Meet Our New Intern: Justina Choi!

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The BizDojo’s happy to welcome our latest intern aboard, the lovely Justina Choi! Justina is a third year student at Boston University in Boston, Massachusetts studying computer science, and she’s come on board to help us out with day-to-day operations at the Auckland Dojo, as well as potentially developing a project proposal on the Collaborators side of our business utilising her computer science expertise!

She describes herself as being “a bit of a perfectionist”, and enjoys having things organised, planned, and scheduled. Sounds like a great person to have around! When we asked her what she was keen to learn about, she said, “I’m most interested in learning how technology is being used today in businesses and how it can be further utilised to increase efficiency. I don’t think we use technology to its entire potential and society has a lot of catching up to do.”

Justina’s currently a student in Boston, but she’s moved around a lot, and doesn’t have a hometown. She enjoys reading, surfing, snowboarding, and playing the ukelele! 

When it comes to working with the Dojo, she’s excited to meet our residents and find out what they do. “I think its really interesting to see how all these people working on different projects share the same space and its a great community environment for me to learn first-hand about small businesses, especially the computer/technology related ones,” she says.

Startup Weekend Success!

Pepper Curry, the Community Assistant from BizDojo Wellington, was one of the competitors in the Startup Weekend Wellington event that took place last week. She had some great luck with her team, taking second place in the competition, as well as acquiring some interest in the continuation of their concept idea. Here, she catches us up on the action:

Whew, what a weekend! After the earthquake last Friday, 150 people were packed into the BizDojo Wellington for the opening festivities of this season’s Startup Weekend (Social Enterprise edition). Massey University would host us for the rest of the weekend, but due to the closures on Friday, we all got cozy in the Dojo for opening pitches.

About 40 of the participants lined up along the aisle to pitch their ideas to the masses, who may or may not have been listening as they munched their burgers, chatted about their ideas, and started figuring out which concepts they’d like to support. I sat fiddling with my name tag, feeling a bit guilty about not having an idea to pitch. It was, after all, Social Enterprise weekend; a topic near and dear to my heart. If I don’t have an idea to save the world in a sustainable fashion, then I’m a bit of a failure as a greenie, aren’t I?

But then it struck me! An idea! No time to suss it out, I ran straight into line and delivered my pitch before I could stop myself. Everyone who pitches then has to go and draw up a poster of what their idea is, and all participants walk around with 5 stickers to post on their favourite ideas. The top 10-20 posters with the most votes get to stick around, and then it’s a mad dash for all to join a team.

I was surprised to see that someone else, Miles, had a really similar idea to my own, and we ended up merging together and earning a great number of votes. Soon, people started approaching us looking for work. We ended up pulling in a great UX designer, Dana, that I knew from before, and also the effervescent Aimee Whitcroft, who brought some great business and logic acumen that helped us along our way. We decided to stop at four, and we sat down and got to work.

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Photo credit: Mark Tantrum

From then on, we were a team, rocking through the Social Enterprise Edition Lean Canvas in a single night. At 1 AM, we called it quits and went home, only to wake up the next day to conduct market validation for our plan. Eschewing the advice of the mentors to go out on the street and talk to strangers, we instead turned to more specific resources, people who worked in industries that we believed could be market targets for our product. We were tired, cranky, and got a bit bitchy with each other, but we toughed it out. Throughout the second day, we had to pitch several times to get our skills sharpened, and by the end, Aimee was a wheelin’ dealin’ pitching machine. Saturday was a 16-hour day, and we were all babbling idiots by the time we dragged ourselves into bed at the end of the night.

With advice from the mentors, a good push from the event crew, and the surprising tenacity and motivation of our team, we built a UX, a basic front-end system, marketing materials, a logo, and a killer presentation, all for showcasing at our final pitch to the VIP guests, judges, and other teams. The final day was really tough, as we knew we were on a short deadline, and we had to crank out a lot of material. We had already had enough tension back and forth, and at this point, we had settled into a smooth groove of just working through each issue as quickly as possible and getting back to work. I literally finished our presentation at the last second, slamming my laptop shut and lugging it down to the presentation room just before they kicked everyone out.

We were the final pitch, and I was amazed at how great everyone’s ideas were! We watched 11 other pitches that night, and I can honestly say that most of them were completely original, amazingly designed, and seemed like things that should definitely exist in the world. There were apps, concrete product development, reinventions of old technologies, and propositions for improving lives. It was fantastic.

Although our idea was unconventional and utilised a rather arcane business model, we ended up winning second place in the competition! The judges appreciated our originality, and also our attitude, which was basically to ignore advice that didn’t work for us and keep true to our core beliefs. This enabled us to build something unique, and also well designed.

After receiving such great validation from the Startup Weekend crew, our peers, and our market research, we are confident that our idea is a solid one, and while I can’t discuss the finer details of it publicly  we’re in talks to refine it and get it to a point where we feel good about releasing it into the wider world, either as a general use system or specifically tailored to developers and designers. I had no idea that I would end up with a great social enterprise idea that could potentially “change the world” as they say…and Startup Weekend is specifically geared for just that, inspiring people to sit down with each other and build something better than any of them ever could have done alone, all in one 54-hour period. Wild, right?

Proudly introducing… The Better Work Tour with Alex Hillman

The Biz Dojo has been an advocate for the collaborative work space since the launch of our first space on Auckland’s K Rd in 2009. Four years, another city, and two spaces later, we’re all about joining forces with other like-minded humans who are passionate about activating awesome communities. 

When Nick and Jonah met Alex Hillman from Indy Hall at a coworking conference in Brisbane, they liked the cut of his jib. World domination was planned, schemes were plotted, and now we’re excited to bring Alex across the world to share his tales of wisdom with us. 

So, we’d like to proudly introduce…. 

The Better Work Tour with Alex Hillman

What Coworking Can Teach Us About the Future of Work

Alex founded IndyHall in Philadelphia back in 2006 and has grown it to become a coworking community that its members and other coworking spaces look to for inspiration. He has also runs a boutique collaboration consultancy, creates amazing events for his community, and got involved in Tony Hseih’s celebrated “Downtown Project" in Las Vegas.

The Better Work Tour sessions will explore the effectiveness of coworking, the ingredients to an thriving innovative community, and how we can apply this mechanism at the organisation, precinct and city level. 

The Interactive Workshops will allow for extended Q&A with Alex, where people can bring specific ideas and challenges from their own community to discuss. 

Alex will be traversing the country and sharing his thoughts in Christchurch (9 Sept), Wellington (11 Sept) and Auckland (13 Sept). 

Check out the event page for more details.. 

 We’ve got some amazing heavy-weight partners joining us to help bring Alex over:

Auckland Airport - who are in the midst of their own exciting collaborative space development - have generously come on board as our Platinum Partner to present the NZ tour. 

Vidak are also supporting the tour as a Gold Sponsor. They’re experts in their field of beautiful office furniture- and have been for 23 years. They’ve long been a friend of the Dojo family, and they’re absolute pros at creating inspirational workspaces. 

In Christchurch, we’re partnering with CPIT - Skills for Canterbury. Not only will we be using the great CPIT campus on Madras St, but the lucky breakfast seminar attendees will be served deliciousness from the student restaurant. 

Massey University are kindly hosting the Wellington events in the beautiful Te Ara Hihiko (the new College of Creative Arts building). 

Finally, in Auckland, amazing architects, Warren and Mahoney are really excited to be supporting the event, and we’re teaming up with Survive and Thrive 2013 -  NZ’s smart-thinking event for innovative people working in the creative sectors. Alex’s sessions will run alongside this annual conference at AUT’s fabulous Sir Paul Reeves Building.   

So get in quick as spaces are limited! 

There’s more information over on the event page, or head straight over and get yourself tickets for Auckland, Wellington or Christchurch

TEDxAuckland 2013 - Creativity Is Disobedient Thought

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TED is a nonprofit organization devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. Started as a conference in California 26 years ago, TED (standing for Technology, Entertainment, and Design) has grown to become one of the world’s foremost events, where the world’s leading thinkers and doers are asked to give the talk of their lives in 18mins or less. On TED.com, talks from TED conferences are shared with the world for free as TED Talks videos, and have been watched by millions.

The TEDx initiative has been built off the success of the parent TED conference, and grants free licenses to people around the world to organize TED-style events in their communities with TED Talks and live speakers. More than 5,000 TEDx events have been held to date, and selected talks from these events are also turned into TED Talks videos.

As long time fans of both TED and TEDx, we were excited to come onboard formally this year as an event partner for TEDxAuckland, and after last year’s hugely successful event, we were pumped to see what the TEDx Auckland team could come up with this year.

And it’s fair to say they didn’t disappoint.

With a massive turnout of well over 2000 people last Saturday at Auckland’s Aotea Centre, TEDxAuckland has vaulted to the forefront of global TEDx events with an attendance rivaling previous record holder TEDxSydney.

Both our team and our residents were involved at all levels, from Auckland resident Joseph Michael speaking about his Dark Cloud: White Light 3D time-lapse project, through to a number of our other residents working with the #ScribbleAKL team on the stage design, and our Co.Space team delivering all the print collateral for the event from our in-house print shop.

Standouts for us from a top notch list of speakers were:

- Live More Awesome's Jimi Hunt, with his colourful take on living life to the full, and doing things that are adventurous - “Bite off more than you can chew, then chew like hell.”

- Wiki New Zealand's Lillian Grace, who made a great case for enabling all of New Zealand to have broad access to data to support better decision making.

- Poet Grace Taylor, and her Poetry Slam crew delivered some of the most powerful emotional moments of the day, and we can see why she’s just been selected as a 2013 Venture programme recipient by Auckland Dojo residents, the Arts Regional Trust.

- Our own Joseph Michael - his stunning imagery made him a crowd favourite, need we say more!!

- Double Oscar winner and director of the Auckland based Laboratory for Animate Technologies Mark Sagar blew us away with his ground breaking work on autonomous animation and his Baby X artificial intelligence project.

- AUT design professor Welby Ings, who surprised and delighted with his views on creativity - “Creativity is disobedient thought” and “You’re never going to make a choir if you all sing from the same song sheet.”

- New York based Brian Sweeney of PR agency SweeneyVesty won us all over with his work creating NZEdge.com which aims to reposition how New Zealand presents itself to the world regarding innovation and creativity. His theory of Punctuated Equilibrium as a driver of evolutionary (or revolutionary) change from the edge is a very powerful metaphor, and absolutely resonated with us and our own views on innovation.

All in all, this is an event that has rapidly become a must-see on the Auckland calendar. If you missed out this year, look for videos of all the talks to be up on the official TEDx YouTube channel in the coming month.

Roll on 2014!

Photo credit: Co.Space resident and photographer Paul Petch. Check out more of his great images from the day over on his blog.