The story behind 220 & Change, the new name of Seattle’s social innovation hub

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The member wall at Impact Hub Seattle

You can almost feel the energy pulsating when you step inside the old Masins Furniture building at 220 Second Ave South.

It’s a place of action. A place of innovation. A place of change.

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A sign at the 220 & Change building

And now this place — home to organizations such as Impact Hub, Social Venture Partners, Bainbridge Graduate Institute — has a new name which reflects the social good that the entrepreneurs and innovators who work there hope to achieve.

Welcome to 220 & Change.

That’s the new umbrella brand for the building, which is so much more than the old brick walls and sturdy wooden beams. Last night, more than 500 people gathered to celebrate what’s happening in the building over the past two years, which has transformed into a unique amalgamation of entrepreneurship, innovation and ideas.

“220 & Change gives us a story to tell about the whole place,” says Paul Shoemaker, executive director of Social Venture Partners. “This is a place where lots of people come together to make change happen.”

Over the past two years, brand confusion arose around the building. Many people associated it with one of its largest tenants, Impact Hub. Many simply just called the building the Hub, which was just one of more than a dozen organizations that call the building home.

That brand confusion wasn’t helping anyone in the 30,000 square foot space, including Impact Hub which is expanding its co-working operations with 20 more private offices inside the second and third floors of an adjacent building next door.

Shoemaker said the experiment of having so many socially-conscious and community-oriented organizations operating in one building is working. He said the level of cooperation among the organizations, some of which are non-profit and others that are for-profit, has been amazing with plenty of “organic and incestuous crossover.” But the new brand will force the organizations to think about collaborating even more.

DSC07701“We have been doing a lot of organic collaboration, sort of ad-hoc,” said Shokemaker. “We now want to take it to the next level and be intentional about how all the parts and pieces can work together to make it a greater whole.” The main goal is to create a brand about one building “where change comes together to happen.”

Luni Libes, who runs the business incubator Fledge out of the building, said the building thrives on serendipity. And he loves it for that reason.

“I work out of this building almost every day, and there have been three days where I have not had a meeting that is unscheduled, where I was walking along the hall and I met someone either who I already knew or even about a third of the time someone I don’t know. People say: ‘Oh, Luni, you should meet… And then we have a little discussion and sometimes that goes lots of different directions, but often turns into something good.”

  • http://authenticwritingprovokes.com Deborah Drake – Writing Coach

    I get it! I love it! Nice pivot on an address that beautifully dovetails with the mission. And the energy in that space is phenomenal. Bravo.