New project highlights Detroit innovators

From The Detroit Free Press

Think of the word innovation and it’s easy to think big: the assembly line, the Internet, the iPad.

But shrink your scope a bit, and you’ll find innovators among the projects that are making an essential difference in Detroit.

Can you imagine a Detroit without Veronika Scott’s Empowerment Plan, which gives self-heated waterproof coats to the city’s homeless? Or without Bobby Smith’s En Garde! Detroit, which teaches at risk youths the sport of fencing and gives them the structure and confidence to go far in life?

A new project called the Urban Innovation Exchange aims to tell the stories of innovators like Scott and Smith, hoping they will inspire others to act.

Do you know of an innovator that the Urban Innovation Exchange should meet? Email me at, and share their story.

The Free Press is excited to partner with Issue Media Group, which is spearheading an effort to tell the stories of hundreds of Detroit’s innovators with funding from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.


About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. We believe that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. For more, visit