“Creative thinking is not a single game.” // LOFFICE Co- Founder Kata Klementz in conversation with Jan Bathel

Together with her sister Panni, Kata Klementz, founded LOFFICE Budapest and LOFFICE Wien. When LOFFICE Budapest was opened in 2009 they were pioneers and dreamed about introducing a new way of working to as many Hungarians as possible. In 2014 they won, among others, the Coworking Office of the Year Prize. REVUE's co-publisher Jan Bathel asked Kata Klementz about the lessons she learned and why "Creative thinking is not a single game."

What was the initial idea for the setup of your project?

Creative thinking is not a single game. To be stucked is not a good feeling, but to be helped out and have the effort to move forward with support of your partners, members and community is something fabulous.
— Kata Klementz

The initial idea with LOFFICE was to introduce a new way of working in Hungary, the community model of working space. Our aim was to build up a new­generation office located where the creative and the business spheres coincide. A place where the means of working, networking and relaxing are provided, a place where everyone finds the space best suited their activity. We opened our first coworking office in 2009, in the former printing house of the Liszt Academy of Music, in Paulay Ede street, Budapest. The six­story building, upon being restored to its original character and fitted with renewable energy using appliances, became the new generation of entrepreneurs’ base. As Hungarian pioneers of the coworking model we designed our workstations, offices, event spaces and exhibition areas with respect to unique needs, integrating contemporary art into the work environment.

How do you trigger relationship building and collaboration between your different groups? What activities do you use to stimulate relationships and collaborations? Do they reach the same target group as they aimed at to reach when setting up the space?

Through our networking events and workshops hosted by renowned experts start­up companies can obtain useful business, legal, financial and economic knowledge. We see aiding the micro and mid­size ventures  with consultation and training as our mission. Furthermore, through our partners we provide effective help and a broad array of professional consulting for starting up a company.

What we provide are not only business events, but also cultural get togethers, charity and community programs. Our target group is very diverse, freelancers, micro­ and mid size entrepreneurs who are using our workstations and offices and also bigger companies are our clients using our facilities, meeting and event areas.

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How do you organize information exchange with, and among different users? How do you get people to go into a mode of exchange: sharing their experiences, curiosity, knowhow and failures.

We have a lot of activities for that, e.g. last year we’ve started a program called 5x5x5. LOFFICE was 5 years old and our community members had the opportunity to introduce themselves in a 5 minute pitch. We organized it 5 times in one year, so 25 coworkers had the chance to present their business idea for a wide audience.

We have also organised a lot of thematic events, where community members could speak about their success and failure and presented best practices for young entrepreneurs, women, startups, mothers, migrants and more. We have a monthly newsletter called LOFFICE TIMES, where members are informed about our programs, events and they have also the opportunity introduce themselves. We have also closed social media groups where they can share their projects and ideas. We are also in contact with investors and organizing pitch sessions and competitions for startups not only in Hungary but also in several festivals around the world.

What’s your greatest lesson learned from your Creative Space project?

You should have partners or co­founders who can supplement your scopes. Creative thinking is not a single game. To be stucked is not a good feeling, but to be helped out and have the effort to move forward with support of your partners, members and community is something fabulous.

What other spaces inspire you? What can we learn from other examples and why?

From big companies like Google or Red­-Bull we can learn a lot. It is not enough to have a nice and clean working environment. The efficiency of the coworkers and employees and the joy at work depends not only on what kind of work we do, but also in what kind of environment we do it. Ideal workspaces should have beside functionality also a motivating character. Games, design elements, cultural events, sport and leisure facilities are also support the affection for the company and team.

How do you bridge the gap between people from different disciplines? How do you stimulate people to get out of their natural habitat and set up new collaborations?

We try to do it with the right communication. The importance of the face­-to-­face communication is increasing also in our digital age. The personal contact is getting more and more substantial. We know all of our members in person. We are celebrating their birthdays together always with a small intern cheers on the terrace. We are organizing cultural tours together with them. With cooperation partners from several fields we set up a lot of events considering the interest and needs of the community members. We are celebrating also the bigger holidays like Christmas or Easter with them. We are also using communication channels like internal and external newsletter for our small and wide community. Social media platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, Xing, Twitter etc. are also welcome. We are trying to give the opportunity for our members to benefit from our reputation. In this sense Loffice is also a brand communication tool for them. We offer them the opportunity to participate and introduce their company for big media channels.

It is very important to be up to date and get to know or search the future trends and habits, tell it to the community and share our opinion wiht them and turn a ready ear to their request as well.

How does the design of the physical space contribute to the principles and goals of LOFFICE?

In  our  opinion  the  most  important  factor  is  to  create  livable,  inspirative  spaces  which  can maximal act on the needs of the coworkers and help their self­realization. Relaxation during work is not a waste of time because it gives you power and support your creativity.

How do they integrate “digital” into their daily routines & services?

Digital is the new manual. We have an IT support on the spot who can help them to join to the newest technologies.

What is the one-­sentence core message of the place, which reflects its values?

LOFFICE, the new style of work.

Kata, thanks a lot for letting us take part in your experiences, it was truly a pleasure. See you soon in the beautiful locations of LOFFICE Wien and LOFFICE Budapest.

Check out LOFFICE  - or come by their great place in Budapest:

H-1061 Budapest
Paulay Ede u. 55