Walk through the door of the Impact Hub and you will likely be greeted by the candid smile of Danielle Steer, who left California in the middle of winter, lured to the North Star state by a job that “makes her heart sing.” As the Manager at the Impact Hub, Danielle is a marketer, event planner, recruiter, blogger, partner, coffee brewer and organizer. She is also the Impact Venture track lead for the 2017 Twin Cities Startup Week. Impact Hub brings together a community of entrepreneurs, activists, creatives, and professionals to take collaborative action and drive positive change in MSP and beyond. Part innovation lab, part coworking space, part civic forum, they offer an inspiring space for members to work, meet, learn, and connect. Impact Hub also provides meaningful content through thought-provoking events, learning spaces, incubation programs, and facilitated conversations.
How is Impact Hub participating in TC Startup Week?
As the Impact Venture track lead for the 2017 TCSW, we've been really excited to see how the community is responding to the idea that businesses can do well and do good. All of the Impact Hub events sold out last week and many participants in the week long event series have indicated that they are very interested learning more about the impact track.
This year, I think we also are seeing a more diverse audience, startups, and entrepreneurs engaging across all sectors. Many of the key partners of TCSW are dedicated to equity and inclusion and although we as a community have a long way to go, we're starting to see changes across the board.
What brought you to Impact Hub MSP? How has it grown/evolved in the time you've worked there?
I moved to Minnesota in January of 2015 from California to take on the role of Manager at Impact Hub MSP. I was initially attracted to the global Impact Hub network after visiting Impact Hub San Francisco and seeing the potential in bringing together problem solvers addressing their community's greatest needs.
What are the benefits of collaboration and community in strengthening an individual’s work?
I am a self-proclaimed collaboration junkie. I'm totally addicted to getting groups of people together to work towards a bigger vision. Even so, I know collaboration is hard and successful collaboration requires each participant to invest their time and energy to achieve the common goals. For Twin Cities Startup Week, I had the pleasure of working with amazing professionals representing a variety of sectors. For example, we collaborated with Healthcare.mn to throw a pitch competition with a cash prize awarded by the audience. On Tuesday, we hosted a panel discussion with Grow North exploring the intersection of food and social justice. But the examples of how our community is working together for the greater good doesn't stop there. We have a dedicated ecosystem of field-builders and organizations that know when we all do better, we all do better, and each of us are looking for more opportunities to intersect and create impact.
Do you believe that individuals involved in collaborative work have greater potential to drive positive change on a larger scale?
I don't believe in silver bullets and simple solutions to wicked problems. Therefore, my inclination is that the potential for impact is higher when people with diverse perspectives, methodologies, and experiences come together to achieve a common vision. Getting all those actors to work together can take a long time. So a single individual might be able to make more immediate impact, but in the long run, those who collaborate have great potential.
Your site explains that Impact Hub is part innovation lab, part coworking space, and part civic forum. How do these three avenues come together to accomplish your mission?
Our space is a vehicle for bringing people together and we're really excited to collaborating with FINNovation Lab to launch a state of the art space (moving spring 2018) that will house business services, coworking, event space, and so much more. But that's just the beginning as we focus on facilitating meaningful connection between our members, curating learning opportunities with workshop and mentors, and connecting our local community to the global network of 15,000 members in our 102 impact hubs around the world.
For individuals who are interested in joining a coworking space like Impact Hub, but feel apprehensive for some reason or another, what would you say to them?
If you are looking for a space to do your work, MSP in an amazing place where there is space in abundance at reasonable prices. If you're looking for more, then coworking is a great option.
Impact Hub offers a community of professionals that are dedicated to building a better world that works for all. A community that believes that we can do well and do good and that greatness doesn't happen in isolation. Our members come from all over the Twin Cities and leverage our resources in myriad ways. Some work directly in impact, while others are simply looking to be connected to it. We have members with home or private offices elsewhere but want to build their networks, get access to new innovations, and be inspired by people working across different sectors.
Do you feel like your work through Impact Hub allows you to contribute to something larger than yourself?
YES! As someone who has a lot of energy and is easily excitable, I have the best job in the cities. Everyday I support activists, entrepreneurs, artists, freelancers, creatives, corporates, investors, and problem solvers that are addressing wicked problems in MSP and beyond. Our members are addressing 11 out of the 17 sustainable development goals locally and our 15,000 network members are engaged in all 17! I feel all the feels when I think about how my work contributes to the global movement.