Robert Lindberg: An Intern’s Reflection
Reflecting is a powerful tool. You will discover hues and moments you perhaps didn’t see at first.
When I reflect on my time with Impact Hub Islington there are a multitude of thoughts and memories. From the start I was given a lot of various tasks I had never done before, like handling various social media platforms, answering the phones, and to be a Community Host. I was asked to complete them quickly. It was daunting at first because I’m a person that wants to be very sure that I get it right. I think its remnants from our school days, when top achievement was and is everything. But after a talk with my mentor, I said I couldn’t go that fast. It was an important talk that made us stop and look at each other and learn each other’s way of work and pace. I also learnt that entrepreneurship involves trying – failing – learning; much like general life.
The biggest part of my internship has been to Community Host. This involved asking members about their business, how it’s going and if there was anything Impact Hub could help connect them with. The team called it “Member Bingo“. Those talks were my favourite because it was not only a blueprint of getting to know about a new business, but it taught me the value and importance of asking someone else how they are doing, a genuine talk. It was much like reading a book, you learn so much from a discussion. I am chatterbox, so for that it was a pleasure.
I was presented with the most interesting and creative ideas and entrepreneurs. Despite tidal waves of adversity when it comes to starting something from scratch, I met people with ideas like upcycling rice bags for pillow cases, each sold bag giving 148 meals to poor children in Indian. Or charities like Well Grounded, providing organisations development support with natural resource governance and community rights. Or social enterprise Room for Tea, providing interns with affordable accommodation in London.
After the talk with my mentor, they quickly understood my fondness for Member Bingo and I was sent to other Impact Hubs in the London network to connect. And wow! What an adventure that was! I can of course not mention all the lovely and fruitful connections I made, but they ranged from deep down-to-earth conversations where I made friends that I will surely keep in touch with to exchanging a friendly hello.
Impact Hub Kings Cross was a former warehouse turned into what looked liked cafe with warm wooden decor. Glancing up I saw those fancy glass meeting rooms, Impact Hub Kings Cross felt like a mix between the business feel of Westminster and the organic and community focused feel of the Islington Hub. At Kings Cross I met a member writing for the educational journal “Turning A Tide“, a collection of RSA fellows working as IETT London. I spoke to him about my personal project, Sustainable Personality, and you can imagine my surprise when he wrote it about in his journal! I was deeply humbled by it and I found it ironic to be mentioned in a education journal, especially with my school background. You can read further here.
All Impact Hubs have different auras and scale. Impact Hub Westminster, as I mentioned, has a more of a business feeling to it with large bright spaces and large bright tables. It felt harder to connect with people there, yet I managed to talk to many. And yes, even if you face the same feeling – please try and speak anyway, because people there were lovely too.
I think if we are genuine, then that creates bridges people can walk over.
I also think the environment changes the way you work and act, because my trip over to Impact Hub Brixton felt more urban cool. I mean yeah, of course when you place it among large shipping crates which have been transformed to restaurants and shops, then that is bound to chill you out a bit. But don’t let that fool ya, they worked diligently there too.
While speaking to all these members I learnt that not all of them know of each other. Now, Impact Hub does have many community events and time to mingle over food, cake & tea; yet there was one man I spoke to that wished there were more sustainability events to network at. Since Impact Hubs have sustainability as focus, and there is a monthly Sustainability members meetup, I found that to be a bit odd. I am aware that perhaps not all are comfortable with going up to people saying “Hey!”, but try now and then and you’ll see that people sometimes need a little nudge.
Well, I think I was lucky with Member Bingo, when I got to know all of you, your adventures and past travels. I would like to end by saying that there the color of altruism runs within people and it is lovely color that I have had the fortune of witnessing. Something I will take with me on my journey.
Intern in October 2015