The idea for the event came up when Erik Wullschleger, general manager of the Sprint Accelerator powered by Techstars, grabbed coffee with Marcus and fellow Kansas City Startup Village co-leader Adam Arredondo.
“We have this really cool space and want to put it to work, so why not move KCSV for a day?” Wullschleger said. “Whether it’s our network or a physical space, as a corporation we have an opportunity to take big resources and repurpose them for the community.”
Last Friday, the Village was welcomed into the space for a day of co-working with Sprint employees, local government officials, Silicon Prairie News and, just as importantly, each other. To get into a new environment and new thinking, but also to run into people they otherwise would never, or rarely, see. Article: KCSV co-working day at the Sprint Accelerator may be just the beginning
Why this is a big deal:
- Large corporation partners with local startup community in a big way. This may be the accidental development of one of the world’s first corporate+community coworking ecosystems.
- Repurposing of space for greater impact. This space was purposed for a Sprint initiatve. But now it has been co-purposed for the Kansas City community. An innovative way in sustainable space scalability.
- Anytime corporations open themselves up to the public, they help contribute to the positive evolution of the corporate world. Independent, free thinkers have long been disenchanted by the corporation. Not all companies operate like Initech, but the anti-corporate independents of the world don’t know this because most corporations are too busy keeping to themselves. It’s refreshing to see two disparate forces coming together.
- As the collaboration continues, I’d imagine Sprint would start opening itself further into the greater KC business community. I’d imagine Sprint would start letting their employees cowork together with the greater community, embracing an open rather than closed model. There are plenty of ways the two communities can leverage each other to create a cohesive business community where corporations, freelancers, and entrepreneurs are all allied together in Kansas City.
And this is actually quite poetic when you learn the next unfolding fact. There’s a global coworking conference called GCUC. The conference has been hosted in Austin since its founding in 2010 and has moved for the first time this year to….Kansas City. Serendipity! I’ve been to every GCUC since its beginning, but I may not be able to make this one. In my absence, I hope someone leads a discussion panel on Corporate+Community Alliances. And certainly, invite the Sprint & KC Village crews to share what they’ve experienced first hand – creating an ecosystem where a global technology corporation and a grassroots entrepreneur community are able to cowork together.
The future is already here – it’s just not evenly distributed. – William Gibson