Wow! What a whirl wind it has been, when I think back to my first step into the Eagle Lab it was a dusty, dirty and loud building site which transformed into a beautiful and sparkly co-working space. That transformation was all done in my first 4 weeks of starting in the role, as the ecosystem manager.
The site was handed over on Monday 11th June, the same day that we welcomed 500 Barclays staff into the almost finished Lab. I say almost as the Lab like any new build had a couple of teething problem, such as; misbehaving automatic doors, leaky showers, legless tables (few too many the night before) and finally, water that couldn’t decide if it wanted to be hot or cold….not ideal for our early morning showering commuter!
Regardless, we wanted our Barclays teams to join our Eagle Lab journey and be part of the final finish. Through our education sessions we explained the purpose of the Lab and the component parts that turn this trendy space into a collaborative working space and mature into a self-serving ecosystem. As a bit of fun, teams were able to consolidate their learning by designing and painting a rock to show the values of the Lab for our #EagleLabRocks campaign! These finished pieces of “art” were hidden around the Island for the community to find and tweet and then re-hide! (similar to Geo caching ) Congratulations to Helen Kaighin who won the lab top prize!
For the next week we opened our doors to the public, for anyone who fancied having a look around our Eagle Lab. And why not, as we feel this space is our gift to the Isle of Man! The team were on hand to answer questions and explain the new lingo we had adopted, words like Ecosystem, incubator, maker space now just roll off the tongue, not to mention a whole host of acronyms!
Our official launch day was late afternoon on June 21st and thanks to the wonderful SCS and Scandi Interiors the lab was ready and the tables had finally found their legs! We welcomed 200+; external business people, local movers and shakers and our partners into the Lab for the Launch event. We celebrated by toasting to vibrant opening speeches (including our very first member, the mighty Job Hawk giving a speech about their new nest) with Barclays Blue cocktails as we cut a blue ribbon. Networking was endless, as was selfie taking with our funky Instagram frame.
The positive energy that pulsated around the Lab was infectious that evening. The audience was engaging and unbelievably welcoming so thank you all for your support, and ongoing support so far – you ROCK!
Our Eagle Lab Launch was followed by many more launches and official openings during July by our fantastic partners all of whom have received incredible feedback on the “vibe” of the lab! The Isle of Man Chamber of Commerce “launch lunch” the following day welcomed their members to their new office space in the Eagle Lab!
Bridge Hosted their first “Pitch it” event in July using the entire lab, to show case their new working home and funky event space. Entrepreneurs pitched their ideas to the Bridge network for financial and mentoring opportunities.
Gef! And Newfield launched their 30 under 30 event at the Lab the following day, introducing the Judges and the concept of the awards event and how to get involved and nominate the best local talent under 30 years of age.
We proudly hosted the Love Tech Launch event at the Lab on Saturday 14thJuly, which is an association that promotes equal opportunities in technology careers and encourages young ladies to look at STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) careers and academia. The Lab hosted 50 girls aged 4-16 years together with their parents, with entertainment from different STEM stations, which held science experiments and had VR, AR and a robotic station.
We also welcomed the fresh new DFE Digital Board into the Lab where they used the meeting room to brain storm how they take the island forward digitally, and they also hosted a DFE party at the Lab to celebrate the new Government structure and collaboration at its finest working closely with the Private sector.
The Lab being a clear example.
August brought much needed chilled summer vibes before we then dove straight into a super busy September greeting many fresh, brand new shiny faces into the Lab which they now call their home.
Our Flow Fridays commenced - gorgeous early bird yoga by the wonderful yogi’s – Sian Coleman and Karen Morris followed by Noa Bakehouse coffee and croissants.
Our first Pizza and Fizz (beer and prosecco) evening was enthusiastically put into motion, where members chill and grab a slice of pizza and a glass of something fizzy every last Thursday of every month, with different themes each time. Next Pizza and Fizz evening taking place on Thursday 25th around Halloween with a spooktacular theme and will allow members to bring a friend.
And if that’s not enough dough for you, we then hosted our Macmillan coffee and cake morning in collaboration with IOM Chamber of Commerce and Bridge, last Wednesday 26thSeptember.
Various local businesses including Noa Bakehouse, Paulas Kitchen, Sefton Group, Mannin Hotel and Claremont Hotel donated cakes and healthy tasty treats to this worthy cause and helped to raise a whopping £465.94.
Like I said at the beginning, it really has been a whirlwind, it still is. And no day is ever the same.
Some days are stressful, few are chilled but most days are a lot of fun. Every-day I feel very lucky to be surrounded by epic humans, which I’m proud to call an Eagle Lab member/eaglet.
Bring on October!
Eaglet sound bites.
As a freelancer/entrepreneur working remotely for clients around the world, the Eagle Lab has been a godsend!
After a while of working from home, you start to miss the social side of an office and the cabin fever can set in thick and fast. Spending a few days a month in the Lab means I’m not only getting out of the house, but I'm also coming face to face with other entrepreneurs and potential new clients.
It’s hugely useful to have a space in the center of town where I can hole up for the day, focus without distraction and hold meetings without the noise and distraction of a coffee shop.
The girls’ friendly faces and Friday coffee and croissants are an added bonus!
Director / MENA Consultant
+44 7775 234408 / +968 9890 9203
*I eagerly anticipated the Eagle Lab opening in Douglas, as most of my business to date was conducted from local coffee shops or borrowed desks. I’m adaptable to remote working, but really benefited from having a facility to setup comfortably, welcome clients, and host community tech events.
Since I collaborate with clients and staff around the world and around the clock, having 24 hour access and lightning-fast internet empowers me to focus on actually delivering my services, rather than worrying about the logistics.
Darren Barklie offers design, development and digital marketing services to businesses with his startup agency Craft Applied.