Eastern Foundry is a new company, with a first-of-its-kind coworking infrastructure, but the idea of coworking may be older than you would think. Sure, these idea hubs may have exploded in the past decade, the model for collaborative work areas itself is much, much older than that- we’re talking 15th century older. The Harvard Business Review recently explored the similarities between today’s coworking spaces and those of Renaissance Italy.
Bottegas, or workshops, were buildings in Florence where master artists would nurture young students and watch new art forms come to life, young artists would compete to be the very best. Born from this sense of competition came a new form of collaboration: groups of artists would work on an idea together. “The apprentices, workers, artisans, engineers, budding artists, and guest artists were interdependent yet independent, their disparate efforts loosely coordinated by a renowned artist at the center — the ‘Master.’” One of these such apprentices you all know well, Leonardo Da Vinci.
Throughout time humans have reached for excellence, always looking to create the next best solution, and if history tells a story; it shows that collaboration is essential. There were three major initiatives at these Bottegas, all of which coincide with Eastern Foundry’s goals. Turning ideas into action, fostering dialogue, and facilitating the convergence of art and science. So how does Eastern Foundry compare to these principles from the past?
Turning Ideas Into Actions
Just as Italian workshops molded artists’ thoughts into tangible masterpieces, so too does Eastern Foundry take thought-leaders and turn them into successful changemakers. Our mentors are similar to those masters in the Bottegas, providing guidance where it’s needed but letting creativity take precedence. Our professional resources give our members the tools they need to take their products and ideas to the government and present it in the best possible light. In doing so they have the opportunity to change the way millions of people work in government agencies. An IT Management platform may not be as beautiful on the outside as Michelangelo’s frescos, but the impact it could have is just as enormous.
“In Renaissance workshops, specialists communicated with each other consistently and fluidly, facilitating mutual understanding. The coexistence of and collision among these diverse talents helped make the workshops lively places where dialogue allowed conflicts to flourish in a constructive way.” Open communication amongst members is the secret sauce to Eastern Foundry’s success. Our hybrid office space offers the opportunity to meet collaborators, just like the Bottegas encouraged. Our mentors provide insight into their past experiences to propel members forward while our unique location provides an open line of communication to a variety of federal agencies- we can practically see the Pentagon from our door!
Facilitating the Convergence of Art and Science
Great artists had the power to bring together technology and beauty to transform the way we think. One of Da Vinci’s most well-known renderings is that of his flying machines. He dared to believe that he could change the pattern of human existence by taking them to new heights and fly like birds. His powers of observation and thought lead him to his creation. Our members see the struggles that occur in the public sector and work daily to remedy them. Their art is the transformative visions they have of making the government run smoother and their science is the products they labor tirelessly over. Combined with Eastern Foundry, members can inspire innovation across government.
Renaissance means rebirth, used to describe a term in European history when the arts and sciences flourished. In-and-around D.C. you can also sense a rebirth of the government, and not just because it’s an election year! Officials have started to realize that the established ways of using technology won’t cut it anymore. The world moves too quickly now, and the government is working to be more agile in order to catch up. So if a renaissance is happening in D.C., what can we take away from the Bottegas of the past to ensure success? Collaboration is crucial to develop ideas — even amongst the competition, the wildest ideas can ultimately become reality, and mentors who provide just the right amount of guidance are a valuable asset. If you’re interested in joining the Renaissance and inspiring change, Eastern Foundry may be the perfect Bottega for you.
P.S. Check out the picture above and count the number hidden new-age products, tweet us @EasternFoundry with your answers!
Dan Bowman is the Communications Associate at Eastern Foundry