The future for Hub Islington: food for thought
22 August 2011 - Impact Hub

Last week’s sexy salad was a particularly intriguing one, as Indy Johar, co-founder of Hub Westminster and co-director of the Hub Global Network, was visiting to tell us more about what he sees as the future challenges and opportunities for Hubs around the world.
First speaking about the successes of the Hubs across the globe – we’ve proved that globalization is possible in a way that still retains the individuality and local ownership of each Hub –  Indy then talked of future developments. We need a way of networking more between Hubs, he said, a greater sharing of ideas between countries and continents. What’s more, he feels that the London Hubs should be leading the way in challenging the status quo, developing new ways of governance and improving our services.
So what does this mean for Hub Islington? As one of our Hub members pointed out on Thursday, visionary words are all very well, but for Hub members trying to run businesses and work in the Hub space, there are also many practical concerns that need to be addressed, such as the lack of insulation in the Islington roof.
But how do we balance working for overarching progress with the daily management of the Hub in a successful, efficient and pleasant way? As a Hub intern, I’ve experienced the front-line aspect of hosting, but before this lunch I hadn’t really considered the long-term future prospects of the Hub, and even now, I still only really have a vague idea of what Hub members really need from the Hub in order to succeed here. To work out how best to improve the Hub, it seems only logical to ask you, the members.
The best and most successful organisations and entrepreneurs are characterised by a willingness to reassess and change tack in order to improve and succeed and the Hub prides itself on an ethos of sharing, collaboration and connecting. So should we, perhaps, organise regular public meetings? Some other things I’d really like to know are: what do members want for and from the Hub Islington? Are there any immediate improvements we can make? Where do members see the Hub in 10 years? Is the long-term future of the Hub Islington of concern to members?
In his talk, Indy mentioned the Reform Club which was set up in 1836 order to promote “the social intercourse of the reformers of the United Kingdom”. Sounds pretty Hubbish, doesn’t it? But today, the Reform Club is nothing more than a gentlemen’s social club (although it does admit women now). Whilst the loss of the Reform Club’s “reforming element” was due in large part to the decline of the Liberal Party, the warning contained within its history does seem pertinent to Hub Islington.
We need to make sure that Hub Islington retains its character and energy, and is set on the right path for the future, a path that will see it continue to succeed, add value for its members and ensure that the energy and opportunities the Hub offers are sustainable and can grow in the future. The key, as became clear at this meeting, is balancing an inspirational vision for the future with close attention to the practical, everyday details.
Hub Islington is at a pivotal moment right now. We’ve just become a CIC (community interest company) and have advertised for a part-time social entrepreneur to join the hosting team, whose task would be to help the Hub us “develop our strategies and take The Hub Islington to the next level”.
To start you off on deciding that next level, the hosts and I have set up the “Co-create the Hub’s mission statement” magnetic words board. It’s intended to be a bit of fun, but equally, we’re interested in hearing serious thoughts too. I’d really welcome any feedback any of you have, so please leave comments here on the blog or email the hosts on i[email protected]