Cruise to the San Francisco Chronicle building in SF and you may discover something unexpected on the first floor. A Hub. Or, The Hub (SoMa) to be more specific.In exploring social innovation, a former colleague who is now deeply engaged in the field suggested checking out Hub SoMA. And no sooner did we sign in and enter the lobby–featuring trendy seating and a number of individuals hard at work on a late Thursday afternoon– did I begin to realize that this is no ordinary co-working space.

Take a look at the quick video showing a 360 degree view of the Hub SoMA to get the look & feel…and then read on to find out a few features that make the Hub unique and how it could be a useful tool for any entrepreneur exploring the social innovation space.


Funk and Soul


Alissa Walker wrote a great post on the Hub for Fast Company (“The Hub Bay Area: Where Change Agents Share Space and Ideas”) in which she overviews the Hub, its offerings, and sheds a little light on its history and design—including that it was designed with advice from the well-known design firm IDEO and under the direction of a local lead architect.

Visiting the Hub SoMA, I definitely picked up on vibes of funk and soul. Work tables on wheels, unique conference spaces, privacy booths for telephone calls (or very small meetings) and conference rooms complete with writable glass walls are all features that give it a funky, groovy feel. And the soul is the sheer diversity of individuals, organizations, causes, and ideas that flow through the airy space in any given moment.


Movement


Sans cubicles there is a lot of movement at the Hub. Literally. Walk around and you will see a CEO of one organization walking over to chat with a founder of a budding social venture. Or you may spot an blogger taking a break for tea and chatting with a developer stirring a latte. Wait until evening and you may see all of the desks and chairs shifted over to host a Hub workshop or networking event.  There is movement at the Hub—and that can be a welcome counterbalance to inertia that organizations and individuals may face when trying to think through a big idea.


en-Listing


Membership at the Hub requires committing to a monthly fee that enables you to use the space for a specific allotment of hours per month. The lowest increment is five hours per month for $25. Is it really worth it? One of the big adds in being a Hub member is being a member of the mailing list—and that may itself make the monthly fee worthwhile. Through the internal listserv you can post about your organization and receive updates on employment opportunities, upcoming events, volunteer activities, and social/health happenings.

Being a Hub member at SOMA also gives you access to Berkeley’s Hub (and vice versa).


Sexy Salad Wednesdays


A peek at Hub SoMA’s calendar  reveals a number of events—intended to inform, introduce, and entertain. Perhaps one of the most memorable events our host (and tour guide) for the afternoon mentioned was Sexy Salad Wednesdays. A time to bring the ingredients you have and share with others to create some healthy, delicious, and downright tempting fruit and veggie re-mixes.

The emphasis on social activity is a key feature of Hub membership. Just like communities aren’t based soley on work, the Hub organizers realize that social change is effectively fostered when it’s, well, social.

From a newly-minted Hub SOMA member, you are invited to take a tour, a peek, and perhaps partake in a sexy salad and consider joining a community of social innovators.


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