Fresh Ideas | Free Thinking #9

In this edition of Fresh Ideas Free Thinking we caught up with Amy Kaherl, founder of Detroit SOUP.

We caught up to learn more about what Detroit SOUP do and talks books and business...

Fresh Ideas | Free Thinking #9

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What do you do?

Detroit SOUP is a microgranting dinner celebrating and supporting creative projects in Detroit. For a donation $5 attendees receive soup, salad, bread and a vote and hear from four presentations ranging from art, urban agriculture, social justice, social entrepreneurs, education, technology and more. Each presenter has four minutes to share their idea and answer four questions from the audience. At the event, attendees eat, talk, share resources, enjoy art and vote on the project they think benefits the city the most. At the end of the night, we count the ballots and the winner goes home with all of the money raised to carry out their project. Winners come back to a future SOUP dinner to report their project’s progress.

Where do you do it?

Detroit, Mi, USA though there are many SOUPs around the world.

Who do you do it for?

I did it for myself. I had a lot of questions around community engagement and I wanted to see if my assumptions and theories were correct. The best part is that it impacts more than just me and people who have encountered the dinner have had a moment of unique experience and connection.

What has been your favourite project of the past year that you’ve been involved in?

I work alongside a co-making space called Ponyride. It’s a 33,000 sq foot space in the Corktown neighborhood. Ponyride activates space, offers it at a low cost, and encourage organizations with social missions to utilize it and outgrow our space. Businesses and community-driven efforts that will strengthen Detroit grow and develop here. Creative ideas burst from these doors and our visitors and tenants experience this flow of energy, whether it’s for one hour or five years.

What is the most innovative, ethically-minded business that you’d love to collaborate with?

When I go into cities you meet people often that are open to finding solutions collaboratively and collectively. Big names I don’t have one but the everyday people who get up and want to work on localized solutions that can also help others.

What ethical business leaders inspire you?

Amy Poehler!

What are the five most interesting things that you have come across or read recently?

  1. This incredible 4 minute interview with Dan Harmon, the creator of Rick and Morty, talking about the meaninglessness of everything and yet beauty and meaning in the everyday.

  2. I just was given a book from the gentleman who started Visa, One from Many: VISA and the Rise of Chaordic Organization by Dee Hock. I love the idea that you can have a decentralized organization without a CEO. I think it is incredibly difficult to build but has long term impact beyond just one person.

  3. The AV Club put out a nice little list of Kurt Vonnegut quotes and I have kept it open in my tabs for weeks now. I keep reading it to remember not to take all this so seriously.

  4. I am loving the new season of Twin Peaks. The storytelling is so slow (meaning not quick) and the shots have so much meaning. I love how you need to understand the past to make sense of the present episodes and then know that so many outside variables of the unknown will impact the future episodes. There are not many shows that I watch episode by episode rather than a deep plunge and I forgot how much I love the mystery and discovery.

  5. I LOVE baseball. I just read a great article of the art of pitching, how the game doesn’t need to speed up and how baby boomers are being challenged by millenials. It seems like their answer is go faster, speed it up, but really it is how to make meaning and that the art of the game isn’t speed but the challenge of the pitcher vs. batter.

What’s the book, books or author that most shaped your thinking for the work that you do?

I studied theology in Seminary and so much of my learning came from what really bummed me out by organized religion. So much of my work came from my experiences wrapped into a lot of reading and experiences. So there is more than just one author or books. There are so many and I feel like it was the desire of education mixed with practice. So I will name some books and some media art that shapped me:

  • No Logo by  Naomi Klein
  • Cultural Theory and Popular Culture: A Reader by John Storey
  • Kingdom Ethics: Following Jesus in Contemporary Context by Glen H. Stassen and David P. Gushee
  • Belonging: A Culture of Place by bell hooks
  • Yearning: race, gender and cultural politics by bell hooks
  • Entertainment Theology: New-Edge Spirituality in a Digital Democracy by Barry Taylor
  • Watching the HBO show the Wire
  • Being a part of my local music scene

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