Since time immemorial great minds have gathered over food and wine to hash out the answers to life’s persistent questions: god, the universe, how to end poverty. Well, sort of. You can certainly add that last one to the list by signing up to host a dinner party as part of a globally synchronized brainstorming session with food drinks and friends. Signups just opened so you can set the tone in your town.
The social innovation instigators at The Feast are hoping to make brainstorming a better world into a global, productive, and delicious activity. We have been fans of their past Ted-style talks and conferences, but we’re even more excited that they are giving people an excuse to go grassroots and tackle local problems everywhere. Anyone who wants to roast a chicken or boil some pasta can get in on the Feast’s biggest event yet: Social Innovation Week set for early October.
Choose one of six challenges—like how to reduce poverty in your city, how to make an app to open government data—and invite over a braintrust, or close friends with shared values to talk out a topic over a meal. When you’re done, tell the Feast what you came up with. Simple enough. The dinners will all take place October 5th at 7pm local time, with highlights streamed in to the conference as dinner time hits around the world.
Hundreds of people have signed up to participate already in small groups. “We also have dinners for like 100 people at a coworking space in New Zealand,” Jerri Chou, Feast Founder.
The best idea won’t win a prize or get anything more than a nod from fellow brainstormers. “It’s a thought starter catalyst for now,” Chou says. She adds, that she has posted resources on the website to help people take action, mostly links to articles and web tools about the topics. In the future, Chou hopes to offer grants or other support for great ideas germinated through gourmandizing.
For now, some big names are lending moral support if not money.
Arcade Fire has stamped their band name to a health challenge to plot a strategy to brand healthcare for others as a human right. Partners In Health is the group behind that challenge, including founder Paul Farmer who will speak at the conference portion of Social Innovation Week. Farmer’s name is far more respected in social innovation circles than any rock band because of PIH’s trailblazing success delivering medical care to the poorest of the poor in Haiti but hey, “Ready to Start” playing in the background might be motivational.
My favorite challenge is how to build tools that would empower others. It’s specific enough and accessible enough that some actual good can come of it, and it makes me the next Stuart Brand and gang hatching a Whole Earth Catalog for the current era.
At the very least, you get a nice dinner with solid conversation. Sign up here.