Detroit SOUP is a crowdfunding potluck that brings people together to raise money and support for community projects. Attendees make a suggested donation of $5 and listen to four pitches from people doing great things in their community—anything from cleaning up a park, to running an after-school program, to starting a small business. Over a potluck-style dinner, attendees connect, ask questions, share ideas, and vote on the project they like the best. The winner leaves with all of the money raised at the door to carry out their project and attends a future SOUP to report on the progress of their project. (Source of description: Placemaking)
I recently had the opportunity to attend one of the SOUP events and was blown away by the impact that it has on the Detroit community as well as the sheer number of people who are passionate about change within their societies.
What if we could take this idea and extend it to education and problem solving?
Members of the community can submit proposals for problems they are having or issues that they need to resolve. Each month, a group of people gather in a room to hear a shortlist of proposals. Each presenter presents for a pre-determined amount of time and a small donation at the door gives each attendee the right to vote for a problem that they believe has the greatest potential to change the world. The winning idea receives the donation to purchase books, papers or any resources that will help them solve the problem.
However, instead of just being a crowdfunding activity, the bigger takeaway here is the expertise of the attendees at the gathering. At the end of the event, the attendees can share their contact information or have conversations with any of the problem originators to form teams to tackle the problem. While the monetary benefit for the winning team is an added bonus, everybody wins because the problem originators now walk away with a team of individuals who are invested in their problem and willing to help.