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Traditionally, most work has been tied to a specific location. This pushed rural-urban migration within countries, and international migration as people looked for economic opportunities. For people in remote areas, this often meant that the only way to find work was to move to a bigger city, driving the spatial concentration of people into big urban centers.

But things are no changing. The slow march of improving internet and communication technologies have created new perspectives on what it means to work. The term “work” itself is gradually shifting from being a “place” to a “state of being” and many people can work from anywhere that has an internet connection.

This trend allows people more flexibility to work from where they want to – leading to two, perhaps opposing, patterns. For some, remote work means travelling the world as digital nomads and having the opportunity and freedom to experience new places. For others, remote work is the opportunity to stay living in their home communities while still taking advantage of global opportunities. To take advantage of this trend, new coworking spaces are popping up on islands like Saaremaa and Arranmore aimed at both providing a service to locals and attract long-stay visitors.

This revolution is creating something bigger. A new breed of entrepreneurs and innovators without borders are creating big things for their communities. The internet enables them to access enormous knowledge and to share theirs. Diverse island’s experiences were shared during last year’s Virtual Island Summit to serve as lessons for the rest of the world. Additionally, Island Innovation‘s own team is 100% remote with members in the UK, Netherlands, Venezuela (Margarita Island), Ghana and Jamaica.

Do you know of other islands or communities looking to take advantage of remote working? Please check out our partners at Islands Revival in Scotland and let us know of more examples in the members-only Island Innovation Facebook Group and LinkedIn Group.

Interesting stories about energy from around the world:

A selection of stories relevant to innovation and sustainable development from around the world:

  • Pacific SIDS prepare to submit 3 voluntary national reviews in 2020.
  • Tuvalu is cashing in thanks to the Twitch online streaming service.
  • Irish Tánaiste (Deputy PM) and Islands Minister Kyne kick start public consultation process for a new national policy on Irish offshore islands
  • China destination approval a ‘game-changer’ for Kiribati tourism.
  • The woman who will help keep seaweed-eating sheep on an Orkney beach.
  • The shifting tides in Caribbean international relations: Jamaica, China and the United States.
  • As Svalbard reaches peak tourism, Oslo suggests fewer, better tour operators might be in store.

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This occasional newsletter highlights events and stories about innovation in sustainable development for rural, remote and island regions. We want to change the discourse to demonstrate how islandness can be a driver for innovation.