Building a thriving community: 5 tips for hubs in 2021

Community Development


Tips and practical advices

Building a thriving community: 5 tips for hubs in 2021

Aisyah Zakir
February 9, 2023

Aisyah Zakir

Aisyah, a Mereka writer with a Journalism BA, aspires for impact. While outdoor biking eludes her, she's found passion in indoor cycling.

October 4, 2023

Innovations hubs have grown exponentially over the past decade. Academic centers, makerspaces, and corporations recognize this and have worked hard to become thriving hubs. 

A number of them, however, have failed as they fell victim to ‘innovation theater’—where a company creates an innovation hub to appease the board and shareholders, so that they have an easy answer when asked if they are doing anything about innovation—The Village of Useful’s co-founder and director Andy Howard articulated in an interview with Business Insider.

As a result, hubs are met with criticism and skepticism. Despite that, there is a number of hubs all around the world that are successful and continue to thrive in today’s economy. 

The question then follows: how did these hubs become successful?

Fret not, for we have compiled five important tips that can help prevent a hub from becoming another victim of ‘innovation theater’.  

Have a clear purpose and goal(s)

Make sure that you or your team have a clear idea about what you want to achieve, instead of simply having the goal to “innovate” and come up with anything. 

Decide on your game plan: what is the purpose of your hub? How do you plan to achieve your goals? In what ways can your hub help improve the community? Does your hub further drive the creative economy?

Asking these questions is the first step in painting a clear picture of the overall goal of your establishment.

With clear direction, purpose, and a common goal, members of the team will be able to work together and fully utilize tools and manage resources.

Define innovation process

It is absolutely essential for a hub to define their innovation process. This will particularly help in the long run, as it allows your team to focus on matters of substance.

Don’t expect to have magical solutions to your company’s problems simply because you’ve got a hub. 

Really take the time to consider the direction that the world is going, and how your organization will use innovation and harness future skills to respond. 

Allocating enough people, time and money will ensure the sustainability of the hub, and it’s important to have a common understanding and method of working in place so that your team moves in the right direction. 

Create an engaging community forum 

Never forget that one of the main purposes of a hub is to create a community of makers, thinkers, and creatives. 

Encourage community members to collaborate, discuss, develop and explore ideas together. 

A surefire way to have an overall accessible, exciting community forum where everyone can express their thoughts and ideas is to host regular virtual sessions with your community base to discuss problems and develop solutions.

Remember: hubs are a safe, “failure-friendly” place that makes learning possible, and allows people to experiment and make mistakes without feeling discouraged when they are met with failure.

Be inclusive! 

Although it is generally acknowledged that the youth are the trailblazers of the 21st century, we should not leave the older generation behind.

The digital economy is beneficial to all of society, and it is especially important that the older population are also along for the ride.

Developments in healthcare, transportation and telehealth solutions are only some of the ways in which they can benefit from the digital economy.

Have forums, workshops, and activities that can help lifelong learners across all ages to build skills and gain educational experiences that are relevant today.

Organize virtual and physical engagements 

Today, virtual engagements are just as important—if not more—as physical engagements.

When possible, organize physical engagements that can run virtually simultaneously, whether they are workshops, forums, or talks. Accessibility is key, as many are not able to leave their homes to participate in these activities for a multitude of reasons. 

Not only will this help with increasing the number of turnouts, it will also prove to people that your hub is committed to ensuring accessibility to all of society. 

It doesn’t take much to set up a virtual session: a decent camera (even a smartphone will do), microphone, and good WiFi connection, and you’re good to go!

Hubs are essential in providing a place for 21st century learners to explore, innovate, and ultimately pave the way for a more sustainable future for all by creating a community of creatives and lifetime learners who share a similar vision.

It is no simple task to drive your hub to success, but just as with everything else that matters, it requires hard work, determination, and passion.

Spread the Word,
Don't Keep This Knowledge to Yourself!

More in

Community Development

Creative Economy