The Future of Camaraderie

As March came in faster than a speeding bullet, our time at the Situation Lab came to a close. After wishing Jeff Watson and Stuart Candy farewell, our search for our new home began in earnest. Not wanting to settle for just any place, we decided to embrace the Café Nomad lifestyle in the meantime. The good news? Nearly a month ago, we stopped being nomads and moved in with Camaraderie Coworking!

We are pretty excited to give up our nomadic ways. While working from home and coffee shops was productive, we knew it couldn’t hold up forever. There is just something about being able to create that boundary from work and life and not having to buy endless coffees to have a place to meet. And they really don’t like it when you want to do post-it note brainstorming.

We are now the Innovators-in-Residence at Camaraderie Coworking and will be starting a foresight project as we settle into our new home.

The framing for this project is based on the definition of Camaraderie: a feeling of good friendship among the people in a group.

Our proposal is to work on a project that we are calling “The Future of Camaraderie.” This project will develop 4 scenarios based on current trends in the co-working industry projected 25 years out into the future. We believe that this project will offer intellectual collateral tied to the work and vision of the co-working space. This project will also be a great way for us to engage with the members of Camaraderie in a foresight activity to help us better understanding the work culture of freelancers.


We can guarantee that we will be sharing our process and learnings along the way.

We will be practicing using foresight as a tool and methodology to explore current trends and drivers of change, a process that is meant to provoke strategies. Foresight is not to be used as a predictive tool but more so to create reactions and conversation. It is an exploration of the plausible. Strategic foresight is a combination of participatory design, research and systems thinking. We will be using Jim Dator’s work on four generic futures as the framework for this foresight work.

Camaraderie Coworking itself is part of the larger co-working ecosystem in a variety of ways, as co-founder Rachel Young is a member of Coworking Toronto & Coworking Ontario. This gives us access to coworking conversations happening locally, regionally, provincially and systemically. Trends and conversations of how freelancers and small businesses are coming together is permeating the culture of coworking spaces and actively influence the way we see the workplace.


Through this project we plan to research and explore the emerging trends that are effecting the way we work socially, technologically, ecologically, economically, and politically. Additionally looking back in history as to when we did similar activities to what we do now. At the end of this process we may end up with a shared vision document, strategies to support the uncertain future of coworking or any variety of services or products to prototype.

“The future” cannot be “predicted” because “the future” does not exist.” – Jim Dator




Linking, Creating & Integrating

Over the past few weeks I have been dipping in and out of learning, education, academic, research, community spaces. These events each brought about a different perspective for me while simultaneously reminding me that nothing is really that different. At the core of each of these conversations, I was critically reminded how important it is for someone to host conversations that matter. These conversations each lead to a new connection, a new resource, a reminder of something you already knew and hopefully fuelling action.


Each of these conversations were convened by different people or organizations and what is interesting is that they happened for me one after another felt like a building of a previous conversation.

Just yesterday, I was listening to a podcast by RadioLab about “What Does Technology Want?” and a story stood out for me about ow inventions all come at the same time, more or less. An invention needs to have a foundation of other ideas and technology before it to lay the ground work and then almost overnight the idea is born in many places at the same time. For example, the lightbulb was invented by Thomas Edison alongside 22 other patents filed around the same time.


This seemed to be a resonating theme with these 3  conversations. Put on by different organizations, probably all catalyzed by something slightly different and yet the conversations all started to feel the same to me. I was drawn to these particular conversations for the knowledge that was going to be shared, the people I would meet and the sparks that would be created.

  • Linking People and Knowledge Symposium (University of Toronto OISE and HEQCO)- connect researchers and practitioners in knowledge mobilization
  • Creating the Future (Sheridan College and University of Toronto OISE) – establish a foundation and value of undergraduate applied research in partnership with industry, academic institution and students
  • Cafe Hub (by Woodgreen Community Services in partnership with SPACE Coalition, City of Toronto, Toronto District School Board, Ontario Public School Board Association and others) – create integrated service delivery that is fluid and effective for communities

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These events left me with 3 big “I wonders”:

  1. I wonder how these conversations would be different as they open up to the community and stakeholders who would be most greatly impacted by the conversation
  2. I wonder how these conversations stem from liabilities and risk aversion.
  3. I wonder how these conversations will turn into action


Each of these conversations left me wanting to see what the next would be like when more people were brought into the fold. There was a few too many, “well, I assume…” “what works for us will work for them…” “I don’t think that will matter…” statements being made that made me question the validity of the conversation. Each felt a little one-sided and a bit like it was meant to paint a certain picture.


More than once, I heard people say “if only [insert rule here] didn’t exist, then…” or “we can’t do that for liability reasons”. It left me feeling like while rules give us order, at one point is it needed to revise what has come before and when do those rules, laws and procedures stop serving the people they were intended to protect.


Where are these conversations headed? Is this the first of many? Is there a plan that these conversations are a part of? Are we at the beginning, middle or end? What comes next? What keeps the momentum going? IMG_20140501_140514

Ultimately, I am seeing threads being pulled through each of these conversations and I will continue to try and weave these conversations together and participate as much as I can.