I’ve written here before about People’s Liberty, an experiment in philanthropy though individuals that launched in Cincinnati earlier this year. I’ve found lots interesting about People’s Liberty to date, from their Fellowship program to the building that they have just finished rehabilitating, but one of the things that continues to strike me is how good they are at coming up with slap-me-on-the-head-simple solutions to common problems.
This admittedly non-Pulitzer worthy photo shows one of these small Good Ideas that has the potential for a transformative effect. It’s a….checklist. Of sources of help for good ideas.
This is one of those examples, I think, of needing an non-insider to identify what people who are new to community improvement actually need. If you’re the city manager, or the city planner, or the guy who runs the local foundation, you already know at least a large part of who is doing what in your town. And because you assume everyone else knows that, too, you…. don’t realize that they don’t.
This checklist fills a crucial teaching role, maybe more so than anything practical: if I’m a person with a Good Idea for Cincinnati, but I’m not already one of those Insiders, chances are I don’t know where to start or who might be able to help me — especially in a community like Cincinnati, with hundreds of nonprofit initiatives and community organizations and what all.
You, oh Insider, can assume that I, the Outsider, know all of that — or assume that I could suss all that out if I Just Worked Hard Enough — but chances are that hundreds of Good Ideas will go by the wayside while Outsiders like me are trying to do things like pay my bills. If I think that I’m a lone duck and that my Good Idea will only come to fruition though my solo effort, then chances are the city — and I — will never see that Good Idea come to pass.
But give me a sheet of paper with a simple checklist of who’s out there that might be able to work with me, and we’ve changed that equation pretty substantially for tiny bit of money.
If you haven’t already, go check out People’s Liberty. You’ll be glad you did.