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Thaddeus Squire | Lessons from GreatPHL

Thaddeus is the founder of Hidden City, an organization that connects people to Philly’s lesser-known treasures, and CultureWorks, a management commons for arts, heritage, and creative communities. CultureWorks is a platform that provides space, human capital, and services to help artists thrive.

“Philly is a city of quiet innovation. It’s also the birthplace of our American commons movement.”

Thaddeus delves into the difference between innovation and origination. It’s not just creators and inventors that are important, but those who take an idea and run with it after it is created. These people do not own the idea or invention, but they promote it relentlessly. He uses Girard College as an example of Philly’s quiet innovation in architecture.

Thaddeus became fascinated by the idea of commons – things that are not owned by any individual, but are owned collectively. Philadelphia is home to the first public library in the country, a perfect example of how commons improve societies and bring people together.

“To support the common good is divine – an ancient idea.”

This fascination with shared resources is what inspired Thaddeus to launch CultureWorks.

He also believes that the concept of commons can help heal our fragmented country, not necessarily creating widescale agreement on big issues, but allowing us to organize locally in meaningful ways.

He talks about the juxtapose of shareholding vs sharing in America, and how community can balance out our current free market-dominated system.