When creative people gather, the effect can be contagious. Case in point: the idea showcasing organization Solutions Twin Cities.
Last week, I met with the group's founders at Bev's Wine Bar in Minnepolis' rapidly developing Warehouse District. In the dimly lit bar, lodged between a strip joint, the new Twins Stadium and the light rail line, Troy Gallas and Colin Kloecker told me about their ideas for their organization and city.
As Gallas and Kloecker, both designers at local socially conscious architecture firms, tell it, their vision for STC was born when they attended the Worldchanging Book Tour in 2006 at Kingman Studios in Minneapolis. When people in the room began to introduce themselves and describe their work, they were both blown away by how many change makers were active in their own city.
After that night, the two friends decided they wanted to find a way to unite these people on a more regular basis by hosting events that would foster creativity and bring together people finding positive solutions. These goals led to the creation of Solutions Twin Cities. Now the duo spends most of their non-working hours dreaming up creative ways to connect inspired people to the ideas and tools they need to make the Twin Cities a better place.
Since November 2006, they've coordinated several events at which locals present their projects or ideas for solving local, region and global problems. Using a flash format (similar to that of Tokyo-based Pecha Kucha Night), each presenter has about seven minutes to show 20 slides. The bite-sized, highly visual presentations encourage presenters to get creative about discussing their work, and give attendees lots of great information in a short amount of time. Previous Solutions events have featured performance artists and green roofing experts, photographers and professors.
The first event turned out to be hugely popular, and the co-founders watched with surprise and delight as they witnessed event after event fill to standing-room only.
This popularity has resulted in universities, art galleries and other diverse institutions seeking them out to present in their spaces, and has inspired the two to use the momentum to move the organization forward. In the very near future, Solutions Twin Cities will be curating the back page of Minneapolis' Metro Magazine, where they will publish mapping projects that help residents visualize the city in different ways. For example, for their first map, they asked 20 people to wander the city for 90 minutes at a time and plot specific point along the way. Participants were asked to record different smells, sights and emotions experienced on their strolls, and to rate each with a level of intensity (instead of positive or negative). Look for this map and more like it starting in Metro's January issue.
Gallas and Kloecker's future plans involve establishing Solutions Twin Cities as a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, and possibly building it a brick-and-mortar home: a "porous storefront" in the Twin Cities where "people come in and ideas come out."
Solutions Twin Cities is worldchanging because of its ability to bring creative people together and to encourage the community to think differently about the social, physical and cultural constructs of the city. We expect great work from this dynamic pair in the years to come. And personally, as a Midwesterner, I'm glad to see there is not only a local hunger for this type of organization and information but also young sustainability-minded entrepreneurs willing to step up and deliver.
Great to meet you the other night. Keep up the great work and best of luck to all at WorldChanging in your upcoming endeavors! There's so much work to be done, but so much to look forward to do.