Henryk Stawicki

February 11, 2020

Team participants: Marta Salas, Tamara Olbrys, Gunjan Singh, Michał Kociszewski, Pieter Overgoor, Alvaro Valls

Team facilitator: Henryk Stawicki

The challenge

Odemira rural area, in Alentejo, Portugal is especially affected by rural exodus. A lack of jobs makes the youth move to the city, leaving the area without its next generations, that are the ones supposed to inherit culture and traditions, as well as to keep alive the countryside.

Clara is a Center for Rural Sustainable Development, that has acquired some land in the area, including an old brick factory. Clara wants to use these facilities to promote new activities, such as workshops, conferences to incubators for social entrepreneurship, volunteer campaigns, research and innovation, with the aim of supporting the revitalization of low-density regions.

Our challenge was to develop functions and activities, alongside business models that will help the centre to revitalise the economic and social fabric of Odemira area, preferably using the old factory as a lever.

The idea

The outcome of 10 days of research, data-synthesis and ideation is called Co-demira, which is a co-working space inside the old brick factory in the Odemira region. Co-demira wants to bring digital nomads and people allowed to do remote work into peaceful surroundings of rural Portugal and offers them a co-working space and accommodation.

To stimulate interactions and integration within the local community, Co-demira invites the remote workers to help locals with work or certain challenges they might have. These can be things like setting up a webshop or helping on the land. In return, these locals host experiences for remote workers, so they can discover the culture, traditions and hidden gems of the area. By doing so, Co-demira both attracts more people to the area and connects them to the local community.

The how

Coworking at CLARA

CLARA provides accommodation and working space with internet and amenities to remote workers, away from the crowded urban environments, to do deep and dedicated work in a natural and quiet environment. CLARA will promote this service through its diverse channels to reach out to digital nomads and remote workers. This will provide a sustained income stream to CLARA as well as an influx of talent that may be helpful to revitalise the area.

Connecting through the local currency Co-in

A crucial aspect of this idea is the exchange of a local social currency called “Co-in”, to promote getting involved with locals and foster social bonds.

CLARA will create a local network where the locals list their current challenges (with which they would be happy to be helped) and the kind of experiences they can offer to remote-workers. Several Co-ins will also be offered to locals as an induction token to this network. This way locals will be able to give Co-ins to the remote-workers who helped them out with their challenges. The local challenges will be shared with the remote-workers, who will be able to choose to help out in any of them, according to their skills and availability, and get Co-ins from locals, in exchange.

After receiving these Co-ins by helping the locals, the remote workers will be able to exchange the Co-ins for a local experience of their choice offered by the locals.

The Co-in doesn’t represent a business transaction, but an incentive to get involved and socialise with locals, as well as to discover rural life and resources of the Odemira region.

See the presentation of the project here.

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