Department of Alternatives

A Space Where Civic Tech Entrepreneurs Can Build Their Communities

The Problem

In 2012, Detroit lacked a space where entrepreneurs could work full-time on alternative, market-proven solutions to address the many social concerns affecting our the city. We needed a bold alternative to the tech incubators and traditional business accelerators, a place where socially-minded residents, makers, and leaders could work collaboratively to identify, create and implement new civic solutions to address the age-old challenges facing our community.

The Solution

Through a strategic partnership formed with the new owner of the Claridge House in downtown Detroit, Dandelion co-developed the concept of the Department of Alternatives. Dandelion played a central role in securing grant funding which allowed the partners to convert and activate 6,000 square feet into a planning and deployment space for social impact entrepreneurs.

Locating in the Central Business District put us in proximity to civic and business leaders, giving the Department of Alternatives’ resident entrepreneurs access to key business, government and non-profit stakeholders. Dandelion identified and engaged the Department’s charter members and established the founding board. These leaders help us advocate for the new solutions needed to help create a more durable Detroit.

Our team designed the Department’s branding and collateral materials to clearly convey the tone and message of this collective impact community, whose life and work revolve around civic innovation that leads to positive, inclusive social change.