We believe that society is facing unprecedented economic, environmental, social and cultural challenges. We also believe that new innovations are the key to turning these challenges into opportunities to improve our communities and our planet.
Coworking is redefining the way we do work. Inspired by the participatory culture of the open source movement and the empowering nature of IT, we are building a more sustainable future. We are a group of connected individuals and small businesses creating an economy of innovation and creativity in our communities and worldwide. We envision a new economic engine composed of collaboration and community, in contrast to the silos and secrecy of the 19th/20th century economy.
We have the talent. We just need to work together. Different environments need to overlap, to connect and to interact in order to transform our culture. In order to create a sustainable community based on trust, we value:
• collaboration over competition;
• community over agendas;
• participation over observation;
• doing over saying;
• friendship over formality;
• boldness over assurance;
• learning over expertise;
• people over personalities;
• "value ecosystem" over "value chain"
This new economy cannot thrive without engaging the larger business, creative, entrepreneurial, governmental, non governmental and technical communities together.
We believe that innovation breeds innovation. We will transform the world culture into one supportive of the entrepreneurial spirit, of risk taking, of pioneering into the unknown territories as the great leaders of our times. This requires education, entrepreneurship and a large network of creative workspaces. We are reshaping the economy and the society through social entrepreneurship and innovation. Our communities are coming together to rebuild more human scale, networked, and sustainable economies to build a better world. We are the world coworking movement !
Since 2014, at University Mediterranea of Reggio Calabria, a very
particular didactic-scientific experiment has been being conducted. The name
chosen by its designer (Prof. Domenico Ursino) is highly suggestive and
challenging: Barbiana 2.0. The purpose consists of applying the guidelines
of the Global Coworking Manifesto to an Academic Laboratory at University
Mediterranea of Reggio Calabria. In the opinion of Prof. Ursino this is
equivalent to revive, at our times, at the University Mediterranea of Reggio
Calabria and in the Computer Engineering field, many of the ideas
characterizing the experiment of the Barbiana School of Lorenzo Milani,
about fifty years ago.
The guidelines of this project are the following:
• Making learning, didactic and research experiences more participatory, by assigning a role of protagonists to students.
• Working very hard with passion and enthusiasm, DELIGHTING and carrying out, besides the studies required by the official plan, further studies concerning advanced research, in collaboration with prestigious both Italian and foreign Universities (for instance, the University College of London).
• In these further activities, betting hard on advanced research about topics useful for work placement (for instance, information source integration, social networks, crowdsourcing, HTML5, Big Data, and so forth).
• Involving students on research activities and paper writing.
• Passing from an “unnecessarily competitive” to a strongly cooperative climate. Students help each other, the oldest students teach to the youngest ones and all of them are ready to help a colleague in difficulty. The idea of substituting competition with cooperation does not concern only the group’s internal but also its external. The group aims at creating a cooperative climate with all the other realities of both the University and the territory.
• And, above all, in the perspective of “I care” of Lorenzo Milani, allowing students born in Reggio Calabria (especially those belonging to poor families) to have the same work and life chances as those who were born in more advanced places or who study in more famous universities or who belong to rich families which can guarantee private and challenging learning experiences to their children. In order to pursue these goals, the possibility to operate in the computer science research field and by the Internet are of considerable help.
But, what really do the protagonists of this experiment?
First, they have been able to obtain the usage of an equipped place for some months. It is an open space that the University Mediterranea of Reggio Calabria rented to Aubay, a multinational company operating in the ICT context, which has close relations with the University. Presently, owing to financial crisis in Italy, Aubay programmers enrolled by the Reggio Calabria branch are working outside Reggio Calabria. Therefore, the Aubay’s (very beautiful, hospitable and equipped) open space was close and unused. Professor Ursino asked Aubay’s top managers to allow him to use their open space for some months. Aubay managers were very kind and cooperative and accepted to grant free their open space for a few months.
Professor Ursino and his students take care of all the aspects regarding the open space, even its cleaning. This last activity, far from being a problem, is, instead, a reason of pride and an opportunity. In fact, in this way, students feel the open space as “their own”; all of them endeavor to make it clean, ordered and hospitable, by taking care of all details. Professors Ursino, to set the example, is the first to clean. In the open space there are about 15 students at a time; some of them are preparing their master degree thesis, other ones are master degree students, others are preparing their bachelor degree thesis. Professor Ursino, in collaboration with researchers of other universities (for instance, Department of Mathematics of University of Calabria), proposes some research issues and discusses them with the “oldest” students; all of them define some possible solutions to these problems and implement them. After this, they perform some experimental campaigns to verify the goodness of proposed approach. These campaigns are performed along with the “youngest” students. Finally, after having rigorously verified the validity and the originality of the proposed approaches, all people who participated to research efforts are authors of the corresponding paper that is submitted for publication in prestigious, both national and international, conferences or journals.
But the activities do not end here; the team continuously tries new software solutions, aims at participating to calls for research projects and, at the same time, already performs some research projects in collaboration with several partners.
The students of the team and their Professor spend their days always together. The open space is open from 7:30 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. And sometimes it does not end here! Indeed, after having worked, they go to play together or to pick up a pizza together. In short, practically, they live together……and they dream together.
Indeed, each of these students has his own dream. Some of them want to go abroad to work (for instance, to Google or to Microsoft, where some past students of Professor Ursino already work), others want to reunited with their girlfriends as soon as possible, but ……others absolutely want to STAY IN REGGIO CALABRIA.
And, from this last dream, another project, even more ambitious, comes to life: i.e., creating in Reggio Calabria some job opportunities that allow students not to detract from their professionalism and their chances. But, how to obtain this? The idea is apparently simple, even if it is actually very challenging: making this job (or, better, life) experience evolve in a spin-off. This should involve some of the students who are participating to Barbiana 2.0. The spin-off could participate to calls for research projects, could offer services in the IT field, and, finally, could operate in outsourcing on behalf of large companies. The students of Barbiana 2.0 and their Professor are really excited for these ideas and go all out. They are sure to succeed. Indeed, more than 100 past students of Prof. Ursino are currently working in prestigious, both Italian and International, IT companies, and this is a proof of the very high quality of the Computer Science school in Reggio Calabria, ranked in the second place in a ranking about research quality of the Italian University Ministry.
In short, Barbiana 2.0 is a yard abuzz and it is very beautiful to see how the great ideas (such as the “I Care” one of Lorenzo Milani) never go out. Actually, thay come back to life by flying on the wings of the enthusiasm of people who really want to get in the game by pursuing high ideals, in such a way as to make their life what it should be the ultimate purpose of the life of each human being, i.e. a unique and unrepeatable masterpiece, capable of leaving an indelible mark of his passage on this earth.
We designed our logo all together. It is represented in the figure below. The four differently colored stick men, who embrace each other and form a circle, represent all of us. Indeed, we are different from each other and do not want to cancel our differences, but, thanks to cooperation, we want to integrate them in one unit more beautiful and varied. At the right, the name “Barbiana” is gray-colored, to recall our inspiration to a great model of the past. The term “2.0” is a recall to Information Technology (our research and work field); it is multi-colored to recall the goal of reviving, at our times, the ideas of Lorenzo Milani. Under the azure line, there is the term “co-working laboratory”. In the lower right of the logo there is our payoff: “Innovate” recalls the fact that we have a lot of new challenging ideas, “Together” is a further recall to the team spirit characterizing co-working. “I” and “T” are in evidence because they represent the initials of “Information Technology”, i.e., our reference field, and, at the same time, the initials of “Italy”. They are azure because azure is the color of Italian national teams.