Among the millions of thoughts that run through the brain each day, there may be the occasional spark that evolves into an idea. Facilitated by passion and knowledge, the idea continues to grow and expand until eventually it exhausts the resources that one brain can offer.

Without help, the idea can get lost in the shuffle, competing with everything else at play in the human mind. However, if you can gather together some other brains and make good use of their knowledge, experience and opinion, you stand a better chance of propelling the idea to its full potential.

Andrea Hamilton, a senior associate at MaRS, is a brain herder.

In November 2011 she, along with a few friends, created #Hatch – a casual forum where people and their brains come together to share thoughts and help ideas move forward. Think social networking meets crowdsourcing, but face-to-face.

“Hatch is the first stop on our journey to connect people, leverage ideas and, ultimately, make the world a better place,” says Andrea. “It’s a new way to meet people interested in solving problems both BIG and small. By bringing people with diverse talents and backgrounds together, we think we can accomplish a lot.

The Ideas

What kinds of ideas are #Hatch-able? The sky’s the limit. “We firmly believe that sharing practices and approaches from a variety of different sectors or backgrounds helps ideas grow and evolve in a way that would be impossible if the focus were on a single discipline or industry, and only drew people in from that sector,” says Andrea.

About 35 people attended the first session last November. Here are some of their ideas:

  • Setting up a mentor-based volunteer organization for at-risk youth
  • Turning a successful pilot project in Africa into a sustainable organization
  • Taking a style blog that is gaining momentum to the next level
  • Exploring the intersection of philanthropy and design in Toronto
  • Building a tool to rank the “truth” of news media articles for readers

How it Works

Have an idea? #Hatch provides a comfortable, casual environment where you can receive early-stage guidance and constructive feedback on it.

You get two minutes to share your idea with the crowd – it’s not like a speech, but you should be able to clearly communicate your idea with the group and explain what you’re looking for help on. And yes, you’ll have to stand on a small stage, but it’s not too scary!

After the first batch of ideas has been shared, people break off into groups to discuss them, regrouping after a while to present their feedback. Following a short break, the whole thing starts again with the next batch of ideas.

Attend the Next #Hatch

The next session is on January 31 at Supermarket in Kensington Market (Toronto). Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and the session will get going by 7:00. The best way to stay informed is through the #Hatch Facebook event page or the #Hatch blog.



Kara Collins

Kara is the Director, Content Marketing & Communications at MaRS. She helps get the MaRS word out in every (grammatically correct) way possible. See more…