COMMON co-founders discuss their past and upcoming projects and how to mine the social community for support and inspiration.
Rob Schuham is founding partner of Undercurrent, a think-tank focused on strategy; founding partner of COMMON and a strategist and creative writer who also began the international agency Action Marketing Group. John Bielenberg is a member of AGI (Alliance Graphique International), former Vice President and Director of Pop!Tech Institute, co-founded C2 in San Francisco and co-founded COMMON with Rob Schuham and Alex Bogusky.
Collectively for each man, the story of COMMON derives from the realization that “We have hit the edges of our ecosystem” causing us to create “a consultancy and media think-tank designed to spark conversation around truth, transparency and reality.”
COMMON, as the world’s first collaborative brand, is a reaction to 21st Century Captialism, this notion that whilst corporation hold financial positions larger than governments, they can give back in a scalable and more collaborative way. Inspired by brands such as Virgin and TEDx who harness the same brand values across their sub-categories, the ambition was to “give creatives and social entrepreneurs the chance to design and rapidly prototype new ventures” including Common Cycles, a bamboo bike company, based in Alabama, Common Coffee will be debuting at Ted2011 combining specialty roasters and Common Hoops is a cottage industry initiative to turn art into basket ball hoop boards. Common Pitch was an event which took place in August in Boulder, Colorado that invited a range of tech and creative entrepreneurs to pitch their ideas to VCs, physically crowdfunding on the night to further support social entrepreneurs.
Adopting the notion of scale, the COMMON brand has the opportunity to create jobs simply because of the nature of the young creative people operating these enterprises: they just start.