I don’t generally discuss my personal or professional life here at Secret Republic, but I happen to work with a startup that I sincerely believe could radically change the way we interact with our cities. You should know about it.
In April of 2011 I attended the American Planning Association’s annual conference in Boston. Tucked into the far end of a trade show floor was a booth labelled “MindMixer”. I’d heard the name before, but couldn’t recall where.
Turned out they were based in Omaha, Nebraska (the hometown of my better half), and had launched a very successful project there called “Pass the Potatoes” some months earlier. The project was a website that acted as a virtual town hall, where issues are raised by the city and citizens are given the opportunity to propose their ideas in a neutral and constructive format. It was such a simple concept addressing such a major breakdown in communication between government and citizenry that my first reaction was, “Wait, this doesn’t exist already?”
It didn’t. Now it does, and it’s been expanded and refined into a powerful civic engagement tool. Here’s a cheerfully whimsical video to explain a rather immense idea: