Author Archives: jfeinstein

After the brainstorm, it’s the after-party!

Thanks to our friends at D Magazine, our special Thursday evening just got even better. We’ve gotten our hands on VIP wristbands to FrontRow Live and will raffle off to anyone who wants to keep the sparks flying after SparkEd!

There will be DJs, dancing, drinking, live theater, screen-printing, coffee provided by The Pearl Cup, and food trucks. You can check out the full menu of shenanigans here. It promises to be going strong till midnight at the Dallas Contemporary – only a few turns away from the Museum of Nature & Science.

Should be a great way to keep the energy going, so don’t forget to RSVP at sparked.eventbrite.com.

The Brainstorming Event of the Season

In exactly one week, Spark Club returns with the biggest brainstorm of the season! On the evening of November 3, we’ll take to the Electric Theater and invade the exhibit halls of Dallas’ Museum of Nature & Science to to tackle the challenges of three local groups that focus on education. On The Border has generously donated hors d’ oevres, and we will have a cash bar.

The perfect venue to kick off a Spark Club event: the Electric Theater at Dallas Museum of Nature & Science.

We’re excited about the diversity of presenters and range of challenges they’ll be bringing. Here they are:

Dallas Kids First: A non-partisan group of concerned citizens and parents that believes every kid in Dallas deserves access to quality public schools, Dallas Kids First is dedicated to finding, supporting, and electing great school board leaders.

Group Excellence: A for-profit entity that describes itself as “a mentoring company that tutors,” Group Excellence strives to motivate and inspires students to achieve excellence.

educateTX: This non-profit start-up is developing a web platform that breaks down local education policy into digestible chunks and enables citizens to surface, discuss, and organize around the issues they feel are most important.

Just one of three spaces where we'll dig for great ideas during our breakout brainstorm sessions.

After these organizations briefly present their unique challenges, audience members will then disperse throughout the Museum exhibits for rapid ideation sessions in search of solutions to these challenges. We are excited to be working with Nathan Huntoon and the SMU Innovation Gym, which has led similar exercises with the likes of Lockheed Martin and National Instruments. Check out Nathan’s TEDxSMU talk here to get an idea of what they do.

Why? Because we know that true solutions come from the ground. True solutions come from un-like-minded individuals.  True solutions begin with brainstorming and ideation.

Join us! We think you’ll impact our community.  And, we think you’ll have fun! If you haven’t done so yet, register now at http://sparked.eventbrite.com/.

Introducing … SparkEd! Ideas collide November 3.

Several forces, including Spark Club, have helped push education into the forefront of local conversation. Today, we’re launching a new gathering centered on this cause. We call it SparkEd. We’ll keep the same vibe as any other Spark Club event, only a bit more participatory.

For our inaugural event on November 3, you can choose to participate in one of two ways: as a presenter or as an ideator. Presenters will be given five minutes to share a challenge facing their organization (read below for more on how to apply to be a presenter). After the presentations, attendees will be invited to rapidly ideate possible solutions together with the guidance of a moderator. We’ll have some help in this department from Nathan Huntoon, Director of the Innovation Gymnasium at SMU’s School of Engineering. The hope is that this format engages the crowd in generating breakthrough ideas for the presenting organizations (and ultimately for kids).

If you’d like to participate as an ideator, just RSVP at SparkEd.eventbrite.com. Of course, if you’d like to attend as a curious observer, you’re welcome too! While tickets are free, we ask that you please consider making a donation to help cover the costs associated with producing the event.

If you are courageous enough to candidly share a challenge and interested in getting some of Dallas’ most creative minds on the case, the next step is to read below and email contactsparked@gmail.com with the information requested by October 13. After receiving your response, we’ll contact you with any clarifying questions and inform selected presenters by October 24.

FOR PRESENTERS:

1.       PRESENTER NAME:

2.       ORGANIZATION:

3.       CONTEXT: Please provide as much context as needed to adequately explain the challenge facing your organization. Why is it important for you to solve this problem? How have you previously tried to solve it? What obstacles or constraints appear to remain?

4.       THE CHALLENGE: Please phrase your question using this format: How do we _______, given (CONSTRAINT #1) and (CONSTRAINT #2)? Try to avoid using money as a primary constraint.

Here’s a common (but fictional) example that might help:

  1. Presenter Name: Bob Smith
  2. Organization: Kids Rock!
  3. Context: Like most nonprofits, we’re constantly seeking the support of volunteers and donors. When someone does express interest, we typically add that person to a contact list. This person is then alerted to volunteer and/or donor opportunities. We know there is tremendous human capital to be cultivated within this pool of supporters, yet we don’t have a method for truly unleashing their potential beyond this current way of operating. We often feel we don’t have the capacity to build deeper relationship with supporters. Perhaps we also fear some loss of control that would come from a greater level of supporter involvement.
  4. The Challenge: How do we more fully engage existing supporters in creating value for our organization, given limited volunteer management capacity and experience?

In recent publication, Spark Club hints at next event

Spark Club, along with several other noteworthy Dallas gatherings, was featured in this Sept./Oct. edition of Origin Magazine.

In its current issue, Origin Magazine features Spark Club as the truly unique gathering that it’s become since its inception nearly two years ago. Authored by participant and conspirator Christian Yazdanpanah, the piece captures the people, spaces, and style of Spark Club. It also hints at some new directions and formats that we hope to spark in the coming months. If you’d like to read the piece and explore the online publication for yourself, click here and scroll to page 47. Origin Magazine is also available for free at several art galleries, art museums, performance venues, and other select  locations around town. Otherwise, look out for an exciting post in the coming week or so about our next gathering!

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