"We're a community of entrepreneurs, architects, speakers, thinkers, photographers, engineers — you name it," Jerri says. The Feast gives participants a chance to combine their talents and challenge each other. It creates an open forum where they can build on each other’s ideas in a collaborative effort to make life better in communities worldwide, she says.
In 2012, The Feast and NBCUniversal teamed up to create The Rev Up Change Challenge, a program that helps innovators spread the word about their projects and build the support they need to magnify their impact and broaden their reach.
"Through our partnership with NBCUniversal, we have the potential to present more optimistic stories — to inspire people and give them a vision," Jerri says. "Rev Up Change offers the entrepreneurial, social innovation community a chance to really promote their works and take ideas to the next level."
A panel of judges selected five finalists — projects that were not only innovative, but also sustainable and scalable to benefit as many people as possible. Then the public had a chance to view the finalists’ projects online and vote. The grand prize: $25,000 to help the winners move their projects forward and the opportunity to speak at The Feast Conference, where their ideas could take center stage among an audience of fellow social innovators and potential investors.
The 2012 Rev Up Change Challenge prize went to Open Source Ecology — a network of farmers, engineers, and supporters working to create what they call the Global Village Construction Set. The set is a repository of open-source, or freely available, manufacturing designs that make it simpler to fabricate — by hand — the 50 industrial machines that have the biggest potential to improve lives on a grand scale, such as bulldozers, bakery ovens, and electric generators.
"We saw the potential scale and impact of Open Source Ecology’s work," Jerri notes. "It is something very ambitious, and it has potential applications both here in the U.S. and abroad." By broadening do-it-yourself access to life-changing industrial machines, Open Source Ecology aims to remove entry barriers to farming, building, and manufacturing. Open Source Ecology plans to use its prize money to develop technical training documentation such as instructional videos, 3-D models, and fabrication manuals.
It’s precisely the kind of idea The Feast and NBCUniversal set out to support — one that brings creative minds together to make a positive difference on a global scale. And it's a real-world example of The Feast’s underlying premise that creative people can accomplish more together than alone.
"I think what sets us apart is that we take a more creative approach to problem solving that leads to really out-of-the-box solutions," Jerri says. "A partner like NBCUniversal makes it a reality — with the potential to share stories with a much wider audience than we can reach alone."