Crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter and Kiva allow individuals and groups to mobilize their networks in supporting and funding small and unique projects. Much like Future Perfect's take on government, crowdsourcing and crowdfunding allow people to allocate their resources appropriately for unique projects that can drive social good and small business development.
One of those projects is co-sponsored by Andy Angelos, a friend of mine who is seeking support for a unique venture: providing support for artists, musicians, and other artists to engage and support fans. The "Tea For Tyrants" Kickstarter campaign is looking to do that through a unique e-commerce program, creating custom blends of tea which are matched to creators and their work. It's probably the most unique matching of tea and creativity since....well, the Rutles.
But there's a larger implication - crowdfunding engines like Kickstarter allow for a greater diversity of creative efforts, but more importantly - engaging online audiences via social networks. Projects are approved by Kickstarter, and only receive funding if they meet their goal. (Services like Indiegogo allow retention of money if goals are not met). Many arts organizations attempt to meet critical financial needs through traditional funding, which often comes with restrictions, and crowdfunding allows for a greater sense of democracy and choice. People are not forced to support Kickstarter efforts, and can do so with various incentives.
But the Tea for Tyrants project goes slightly beyond that - it is an effort to not just benefit artists, but to foster a stronger entrepreneurial and business spirit amongst them. By nature, the "social good" and "social benefit" has a very broad definition, and part of that includes enriching the cultural landscape by fostering a diverse range of artistic endeavors. Thankfully, Kickstarter allows creators in various artistic efforts (many Kickstarter campaigns focus on graphic novels and documentary films), but crowdfunding is a major web-based tool for fundraising. By allowing small groups of people to pool their resources to provide funding for unique projects, crowdfunding drives a greater sense of online community through fostering collaboration.
As of this writing, the Tea for Tyrants Kickstarter Campaign has 17 days left. If you are interested, I encourage you to show your support...but more importantly, realize that it is a great example of an increasingly popular trend: people mobilizing their networks to create and fund unique, one-of-a-kind ideas and projects.
I welcome your thoughts and comments, and encourage you to please leave them below. If you wish to contact me privately, you are always more than welcome to do so either via Linked In (just mention Chicago Now) or via e-mail (via my web site's comments form)
And as always, thanks for reading.