The Future of Work and Ireland’s Brexit Opportunity with Talent Garden’s Davide Dattoli and Luca Ascani

Later this summer, startups in Dublin will have a new space to work, but organisers of the Talent Garden at Dublin City University say they’re more than a co-working space.

Talent Garden operates nearly two dozen spaces throughout Europe, mostly in Italy. The Milan-based group is in a crowded field. There are already several established tech clusters in Dublin, including Dogpatch Labs, the Digital Hub, Huckletree, WeWork, as well as the offerings through the various universities, banks, and local enterprise authorise around Ireland.

Still, CEO Davide Dattoli believes his group offers something extra. Speaking at Tech Connect Live in Dublin, Dattoli spoke about the growing need for workers to constantly improve their skills.

Talent Garden, in addition to offering workspace, organises training programmes through their Innovation Schools. Dattoli says some workers need “soft skills” like communications and management. Others, he says need the latest “hard skills” like programming and design.

Dattoli and the founder of Talent Garden Dublin Luca Ascani spoke with the Dublin Globe about why they chose to expand in Dublin now and the future of work.

Dublin Globe: From your perspective, what will the typical workplace be like in 5 years?

Dattoli: At the moment we are all used to small cubicles for one company only. The problem is that new talents, millennials, are coming to the workforce. They’re changing [the company’s]o needs. They want a company that’s smarter. They want a company that’s more flexible. They have much more impact on what they’re doing. The problem is that the company has to adopt [the changes] to attract this new population. They have to operate with new policies on how they work. They have to be open 24 hours. They have to understand the importance of an internal culture to attract the best people that share the same values.

The second part is working environment, where people can contaminate much faster. So the idea of you working in an environment where you are working in a cowering space. Maybe if you’re a designer and you’re working for a company of six people, you are the only designer. But if you’re in the same space as other designers, they can help you find motivation with them, connect with them, and learn with them. People want to grow much more than from the past. The best way to grow and learn is to connect with each other.

The third part is about the new skills. What we see is that every day there’s a new job, new technology, or new opportunity. People have to update themselves much faster than before. It’s not possible anymore to study one time in your life. We have to adapt and study maybe every three or five years to update themselves and their skills. The ability of creativity and leadership is something everyone must have in the future.

Dublin Globe: With your education programmes, what specific skills are most in demand now?

Dattoli: On the hard skills part, we’re seeing much more importance on the development side. It’s something we’ve been talking about for 20 years, but still there are some 35 million developers still needed worldwide now. There are a lot of companies that need these people, but there aren’t enough. Design skills are needed. Digital design is becoming more important because we’re working on the digital product. Digital marketing skills is still something very important.

[Another important skill] is how to digitalise the business. We’re working with a lot in the field of digital transformation. Big corporation need to hire people that are not only able to make an impact on the technologies but put business and technologies to update themself.

Dublin Globe: With the location opening in Dublin, the co-working field is crowded with a lot of companies competing to host others. What will make Talent Garden stand out?

Ascani: First of all, with all the change that’s happening, there will not be enough co-working space for the coming years because many companies will relocate in some way to a co-working space. Talent Garden is not just a co-working space for co-working space. Talent Garden is the creation of a digital hub and ecosystem. There will be three area of Talent Garden. There will be, of course, the co-working space. This will be a cool, big space inside [Dublin City] University with a strong connection to the university. It will help companies find new students to come work with them. The other part is very important: the TAG Innovation School that will be B2B and B2C. The third part is to connect. That means events. The idea of Talent Garden is to have a lot of events bringing people from abroad. Dublin is a very interesting space for corporations. We have Facebook, Google, and big corporations. But it’s not connected with the digital ecosystem of entrepreneur. You can see it in Paris. You can see it in London. You can see it in Berlin. Our target is to bring here the top people in the Valley and the top entrepreneurs in Europe to create connections with the ecosystem.

We see an opportunity, a huge opportunity, in Ireland. Brexit will oblige most of the Fintech to open a second instance in Europe. Most of them, they’re moving to Ireland. This is a good focus for Talent Garden to bring these companies and starting these companies in Ireland. We have several companies that are already interested from London to come here.

Dattoli: At the global level, you have to consider co-working space occupy .2 per cent of the total office market. All the analysis evaluating the need, shows somewhere around 25-30 per cent of space will be co-working in the next 20 years. So, it’s true there [is competition] but the opportunity is huge.

Dublin Globe: What are some of the other benefits of your network of Gardens in Europe and America?

Ascani: We are meeting corporations as part of the relationship in Talent Garden. All of the corporates are very interested in solving problems. Most of them need to interact with startups to have innovation that is not coming from inside. The very good thing is that at Talent Garden, we can do what we call “Call for Talent.” It means doing a specific programme for corporate. We call all the startups from Copenhagen to Vienna to Milano, etc. see which one would be interested in working with the corporation. That gives access to the corporate work.

Dublin Globe: What’s your ideal client in the Dublin Talent Garden?

Ascani: The ideal is quite large, because we want an ecosystem inside. We want from small startups and international companies that need an operation here, but we also want the freelancers, the web agencies, and app developers. They will be there to help the startups develop things externally. This is the full mix. That’s how you create an ecosystem.

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