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Au’Guest’ Blog Post – Inspiration for The Dream Factory

Written by Daniel Herrera (Assoc CIPD), the brainchild behind The Dream Factory, as part of the Wired Sussex guest blog month.

The Dream Factory is a collaboration and hangout space in Vine Street, Brighton where up to 30 Brighton Digital Festival attendees at a time can relax, connect, innovate and break bread together during September 2013.

Inspiration for The Dream Factory

My inspiration for The Dream Factory has come from many sources over many years.  It started when I was a Reuters International Marketing graduate and internet enthusiast in the ‘90s and then took a gap year to find my own spin on these passions. Like many philanthropic backpackers around Europe I soon discovered that city tourism was not setup for meeting and sharing ideas with local people; as a traveller, cities only appear to be set up for shopping, entertaining and the consumption of coffee and books. Our western cities still have no obvious physical hub or resource for connecting people locally and sharing ideas and expertise with each other.

Today global hackerspaces such as Build Brighton are an example of such a movement towards identifiable international collaboration spaces for members of the public. The Dream Factory name and concept was born during this year’s globetrotting.

Community Coaching

On returning from travelling and continuing an altruistic path, I fell into the coaching profession back in its infancy in 1999. After a few years of helping creatives move their ideas beyond their bedrooms and homes, I felt compelled to make coaching a community experience, with the awareness that once anyone is connected to their passion, what they really need is to meet mentors from their own profession, people who had already done what they were about to attempt. I'm very keen to see coaching as something everyone can learn to do by simply sharing their interests and is particularly motivated to see how we can connect our youth and our elders into peer mentoring.

Popup Inspiration

The Dream Factory as a member’s social space was first attempted in 2002 with a business proposal to the Dukes Court building in central Brighton which has 3 amazing floors of mixed use space.  Despite being financially viable, the proposal was not accepted, actually no proposal was accepted by the leaseholder and this gem of a central community space has lain empty and crumbling for the last decade.  Inspired to keep looking for other types of venues after a few meetings with newly formed popup business agencies, I found Vine Street Studios, normally an 18 person holiday let apartment.  The popup revolution has shown us that ideas and communities really can start anywhere now and that multinational chains don’t have to be the only outlets in our highstreets.

Power to the People through eDemocracy

Since 2009 I have worked in a forward thinking Brighton based eDemocracy and citizen engagement company Public-I (one of the sponsors of The Dream Factory and City Camp) as a Training (and Associate of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development) and User Testing Manager. Public-I has a great purpose in the way it connects public authorities with its citizens using technologies such as webcasting, ePetitions and social media platforms. Public-I has shown me that the technology we have today is more than capable of reforming our democratic structures, giving citizens the voice they need to be the change they want to see in their communities.

Helping out at City Camp 2013

My vision for the Dream Factory is to inspire a permanent, cooperative collaboration space for individuals to mentor and inspire each other. By connecting ideas from this space to the coworking and hackerspaces of the City, we hope to inspire individuals towards collaborative ventures and entrepreneurship and inspire some part in building a more self-sufficient local economy.

The Dream Factory is also currently hosting a Collaboration Ring open to all Brighton Digital Festival attendees.

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