Maine Ideas Worth Spreading: TEDxDirigo and the Treehouse Institute
In 2010, Adam Burk, Michael “Gil” Gilroy, Janice O’Rourke, and many other talented people created TEDxDirigo and brought the powerful TED Talk and conference format to Maine.
TEDxDirigo was Maine’s first TEDx event, and since then Adam, the team, and their partners have produced five full-day events, including most recently another first – TEDxYouth@CEHS.
Nearly 1,500 people have attended these live events, more than 25,000 people in Maine have watched them online, and over 500,000 people have watched globally. These events have created new social capital; increased the flow of talent to and across the state; and helped to develop new support, financial and otherwise, for ideas presented. While very successful by most measures, there has been a constant question after these events, “what happens next?”
Over the past two years, Adam and Gil have delved deeply into this question. They read the latest on creativity and innovation; visited with Harvard’s iLab, design firms such as Continuum, and the Business Innovation Factory; asked for more insights from the TEDxDirigo community; and engaged the worldwide TED network at TEDGlobal in Scotland, at TEDxSummit in Qatar, and online.
This resulted in the formation of the Treehouse Institute, a nonprofit with a mission to connect people, places, and ideas, to fuel innovations that foster more resilient and prosperous communities. Treehouse will sustain and produce TEDxDirigo – and do more.
Leaders in innovation, in Maine and across the world, are calling for a new paradigm. A model that leverages expertise, but also creates processes and spaces where serendipity and rigor are accelerated. A paradigm where experimentation, risk, and action are valued; where enterprises serve ambitions, such as excellent user experience, social innovation, and ecological regeneration.
The Treehouse Institute is this new model and mindset. Through its events, spaces, and networks, Treehouse cultivates a new level of problem-solving capacity in Maine.
Treehouse’s strategy includes:
1. Create physical spaces for everyday collaborative creativity
2. Host dynamic events for multidisciplinary audiences
3. Develop youth initiatives through an emergent design strategy
4. Introduce and “democratize” new knowledge sets, particularly systems and design thinking.
About Adam Burk
Adam is a social innovator and self-coined “cultural architect.” His life and work are dedicated to living well in his place and with others. He creates spaces – physical and programmatic – that raise the level of resilience and virtue in a community. These spaces have included restorative justice programs for homeless youth, sustainability programs for social service agencies, farm to school programs for public schools, and TEDxDirigo. Adam's newest endeavor is the Treehouse Institute.
Adam has formal degrees in psychology, history, and education. He is a registered Maine wilderness guide, and holds various certifications. In 2011, Adam was selected by MaineToday Media as one of “Forty Under 40 emerging leaders to watch.” He lives in Cape Elizabeth with his wife Molly and two dogs. He and Molly are expecting their first child in April. He likes talking about his emerging adventure in fatherhood, as well as mushrooms and design thinking.
Takes place from 9:45 to 10:30 after the regular meeting and is optional
Take your consulting career to the next level: Five steps to find and use a mentor.
A mentor is a personal, portable, no-cost resource to help you set and meet your unique goals. Mentoring is an explicit one-to-one learning relationship between a person who wants to improve job or career skills and a person who can help him or her do that. Mentors are much more than “go-to” people. Mentors are champions of learning. Mentors take a position of high interest and investment in another’s development. They want to mentor. They share knowledge, encouragement, guidance and feedback. They advocate for their mentees’ successes. Mentoring provides encouragement and structure to support the mentee. In the ideal, mentoring and being mentored is business as usual. We will discuss why you should have one and how to go about finding one. We are very fortunate at ACE to have an organization of people who know they have much to teach and much to learn. Mentoring supports our "Success Through Collaboration" theme.
Susan deGrandpré, MSEd, owner of Collaboration Consulting, is a consultant, speaker, trainer, and mentor to mentors. She teaches leaders to improve their bottom line by tapping the collective talent in their businesses. Building on a long leadership and consulting career, she partners with clients help them solve their own problems through masterful teamwork and communication. Susan is the author of numerous articles, and the book “Common-Sense Workplace Mentoring: A do-it-yourself system for strengthening your business…one person at a time.”
She works with for-profit, not-for-profit, and government organizations. She is Vice President of the Association for Consulting Expertise, and a member of the Maine Center for Creativity. Her website is
The A.C.E. regular meeting has networking, a buffet breakfast and a speaker. Guests are welcome.
Registrations are required by February 12, 2013. If you want to be included on the registration list at the meeting then you need to register by the due date.
You can pay online by credit card (Visa, MasterCard or Discover NOT AMERICAN EXPRESS!) or mail a check to:
110 Marginal Way #142
Portland ME 04101
If you are mailing a check, please register here so the system can track the registrants for us. Thanks!
Members: the $22 fee only works if you pay in advance. At the door, it is $28.