connect / 2019

Making L.A. a Friendlier City

Making L.A. a Friendlier City

Idea submitted in the My LA2050 Grants Challenge by Mighty Companions

We all want L.A. to be a friendlier place, and all we need to do to make that happen is to get us talking to each other. Making L.A. a Friendlier City will get people to do that. It gives people permission and encouragement to take a break from their devices and engage with one another in short conversations the old-fashioned way, person to person. Imagine how the vibe of L.A. could change if we were connecting with each other at the movies, in a market, at events, or on a line at Starbucks!

Briefly tell us a story that demonstrates how your organization turns inspiration into impact.

In 1989, I created my non-profit, Mighty Companions, to produce events and projects to make this a more caring world, educating people about how to think and what needs to happen to create the more beautiful world our hearts know is possible, and giving them opportunities to connect with each other and be part of what Mighty Companions produces. My lovely home, where many events are held, is a well-known hub and oasis in West Hollywood for high-minded activities having to do with community, consciousness, and spirituality. You’d get the idea of what I’ve done – from huge networking projects when the New Age was indeed new, to many salons featuring outstanding thought-shapers, to award-winning documentary films I’ve made – from the intro video on my YouTube page, I’M SUZANNE:, and what’s on my Mighty Companions website:

For a life my work has impacted, there’s Russell Targ, a physicist who was a pioneer in the development of the laser and a co-founder of a Stanford Research Institute (SRI) investigation of psychic abilities in the 1970s and 1980s. I gave Russell a slot in the TEDx West Hollywood program I produced, and his talk, “The Reality of ESP: A Physicist’s Proof of Psychic Abilities,” has well over three million views: Russell just finished making a documentary, “Third Eye Spies,” about that SRI program, and thanks to the popularity of his TED talk he got an outstanding distribution deal for it so that it will be seen by millions of people. The TED program was called Brother Can You Spare a Paradigm, or Making the Quantum Leap, and was all about opening people’s minds to a bigger reality than in our current worldview that’s narrowly based on self-interest. I expect, on seeing this film, that people will be helped to see that we are interconnected as one humanity where caring about each other would be as important as caring about ourselves.

Which of the connect metrics will your submission impact?​

  • Adults getting sufficient social & emotional support

In which areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

  • City of Los Angeles

How will your project make LA the best place to connect?

In a theater, for example, before the movie starts, you’d ask the person sitting next to you if they’d have a short conversation. You’d say you’re a participant in Making L.A. a Friendlier City and on your phone or other electronic device you’d show them the website (just a design and not a working site: Then, you’d talk about movies you both like. After that, you’d ask if they’d like to put the website on their phone where they would get instructions for talking to people in public places and for passing along the invitation to be a participant in Making L.A. a Friendlier City.

We would start to get participation by mailing to our large L.A. mailing list, collected from years of salon events where people have been very personally involved and feel like they are on our team. We would send them the website and the instructions for what to do to talk to strangers, and hundreds of people would get the ball rolling. As the website says, “In a movie theater talk about the best movie you’ve seen lately, in a market name a product you love that you buy there, etc. Invite the person to tell you what their favorites are. If you’re not in a place where the subject matter would be obvious, tell the person something of a non-sexual nature that you’re attracted to about them and be open to what they might say or not say back.”

Using social media, we would let everyone know something is afoot where maybe for the first time in L.A. a stranger may be smiling and saying hello. We would popularize it as the hip thing to do and some people would enroll from seeing the website, without being approached, and others, when they are approached, would recognize the game being played.

Thousands of buttons with our logo and “Let’s talk” will be distributed at events and at retail locations. The button-wearer would plug people into Making L.A. a Friendlier City. We’d solicit businesses like Starbucks for partnering/sponsorship to distribute buttons in all their stores.

This project will serve everyone in Los Angeles who has an electronic device and can read English.

You could say it’s timeless (timeline-less). From day one, more and more participants would enroll others. Once it gets going, we would create other ways of Making L.A. a Friendlier City, like live “Meet Each Other” events and even a contest for suggestions of more ways to accomplish our wonderful purpose of making L.A. friendlier.

So many people engaging at movies, on lines, at events, and in markets would create such a friendly vibe that talking to each other, independent of this project, would become a natural thing to do.

In what stage of innovation is this project?

Lateral application (testing feasibility of a proven action/solution to a new issue or sector)

Please explain how you will define and measure success for your project.

Informally, we will notice our fellow Angelinos in a level of engagement that never has occurred before. Social networking will be buzzing about that, newspaper and magazine articles will abound, and media interviews and stories will be commonplace. One way to measure our success will be how many sign-ups we get on the website “for updates” to our project, bearing in mind that the numbers of people who will be involved will be larger than the sign-ups since people can play our game without signing up for anything. Buttons will be worn by thousands of people and another measure will be how many of them get distributed.