It's Time to Challenge Detroit

The best way to get talented people back in Detroit -- is to challenge them.

I recently got to sit down with Deirdre Greene Groves, executive director of The Collaborative Group, to talk about Challenge Detroit; a unique program beautifully thought up to catalyst success for the city. Their mission is simple: to attract and retain talent to Detroit. But how they are doing it is the real story.

To get on the radar of the innovative and the original, you must be innovative and original. Challenge Detroit is calling for passionate people to step up and dedicate one year to live, work, play and give while documenting their experiences in Detroit. They will be the face of a city on the brink of change, and be given something a lot of other cities lack: genuine opportunity.

The groundwork that has been laid for the Challenge Detroit program is impressive, with many local businesses, charities and nonprofits getting involved to bring it to life. But its success lies very heavily on its participants, making recruiting and marketing a vital part of the program's impact. We are all used to seeing failure in Detroit, in its politics and education system to its public transportation and housing market. We have come to expect disappointment and say "That's Detroit for ya" when we hear bad news about the city.

We have our fans too, blogging, writing, designing, gardening, growing and hoping for the city's big return.

Detroit's critics and cheerleaders come in every age, social and economic background. And I think that's what makes it so special -- that no matter what, people have opinions and voices connected to Detroit. It's a place that is what you make of it. It can withstand the hurt as much as it can offer up opportunity.

And ideas like Challenge Detroit fit into the latter. To me, this is an amazing chance for people who are driven and passionate to come to Detroit and actually make a change: to make a name, to create ideas, to grow a community and really have an impact on not just the city, but the nation.

"Challenge Detroit is founded on the belief that 30 of the best and brightest, passionate, hard-working and inventive leaders of tomorrow can make all the difference in the world, let alone a city," said Greene Groves.

Challenge Detroit dares to go where no other city has gone before, taking a whole new approach to stimulating Detroit's economy. It's a program that is staking its success on people with ideas, motivation, creativity -- and a whole lot of guts. This program isn't a sure success; it's a risk. It's a challenge. And it's not for the faint of heart. It's for people who want to make a genuinely impactful change on a city that's in need of it.

"We believe, through their experiences with Challenge Detroit, these individuals will be intrigued to stay in Detroit, work in Detroit, bring new ideas to Detroit, even start their own business in Detroit, and by doing so, they will have a positive influence on our region today and in the future," said Greene Groves.

For more on the program, visit