“The best way to predict the future is to design it”
- Buckminster Fuller

To fulfill our mission we know that we must engage entire communities to design and create the future together. Our core audiences are students, educators, creatives, purpose-driven enterprises and individuals, and open-minded professionals from any discipline.


Treehouse develops unique physical spaces to foster collaborative creativity. By encouraging physical connections, Treehouse creates conditions for new relationships, projects, innovation and enterprise.  Treehouse roots itself in the belief that spaces fostering cross-pollination of disciplines, perspectives and ideas will generate unexpected positive outcomes.

Treehouse recognizes that today’s more adaptive and mobile workforce relies increasingly on Third Places – those community spaces existing beyond the home and traditional workspace.  Treehouse leverages its local and global networks, partnerships and collaborations to synthesize collective energies and empower these important Third Places to be catalysts for social innovation.

Treehouse believes that lively, productive and resilient communities necessitate dynamic and accessible spaces where people can meet, converse, work, play and create together.

We are currently looking at possible locations to create a first generation prototype space. This space will be informed by what we have learned from the Stanford d.School, the Centre for Social Innovation, and DIY/maker spaces around the world.


For years we have been hosting events that connect people to important and exciting work by Mainers and others around the world. We’ve hosted live web streams of groundbreaking events in the Middle East (TEDxRamallah), brought TED to Maine through live broadcasts of TED, TEDGlobal, and TEDxWomen. And through our own event, TEDxDirigo, we’ve celebrated innovation happening in our own backyards.

Producing TEDxDirigo has been an iterative process. We try something new with each event, and we’ve learned much after four events (Frontier, Latitudes, Engage, and Villages). Regarded as experienced elders in the TEDx community, we have mentored many other events across the country (most recently TEDxYouth@BFS, TEDxYouth@CEHS, and TEDxYouth@Biddeford).

We look forward to continue bringing forth world class events that celebrate and cultivate innovations that foster more resilient and prosperous communities.


Treehouse believes setting the conditions for social innovation starts with cross-pollinating thinkers and doers in catalytic spaces and dynamic events.  This ignites and spreads new ideas. And ideas are powerful–they reshape our brains, perspectives and behaviors.  Often the greatest ideas need to be explored, experimented with and refined.

We help creative ideas move from incubation to actualization with the support of our networks and partnerships. Treehouse provides strategic advice, management and administration of special projects and programs that accelerate innovation and impact.

Initiatives in the works:

  • MEx2020: We’re looking at the year 2020 as a horizon line and asking ourselves what can we do to incite bold change from the individual level to state wide as the state of Maine turns 200 years old.
  • TEDxYouth in Maine: Treehouse will provide training to organizations, schools, and communities interested in hosting TEDxYouth events in order to use the power of the TEDx platform to support youth passion and voice.
  • Kitchen Innovation Project: We’re working with Frontier to create a program for employees to create and scale new value propositions. Because Frontier is dedicated to facilitating meaningful experiences, honoring community, and creating value, this is about process, culture, and outcomes.

Our work moving forward is built upon our success and learnings in the past. Below are some selected projects that Adam and Gil were key instigators in prior to Treehouse.

  • Portland InsideOut Project: In 2011, Adam initiated the Portland InsideOut project. He convened local leaders in education, the arts, and business, to create a citywide project that started a conversation about people’s values, hopes, and dreams in the public space. In partnership with the Maine College of Art, Adam co-taught the Public Art Studio course to realize this projects goals which included nearly a hundred interviews, portraits, and installations.
  • REAL Lunch: From 2010-2012 Adam administered a major grant program to create policy, systems, and environmental changes that offered greater access to healthy food and exercise. As part of this work, Adam partnered with the REAL School on Mackworth Island to scale their REAL Lunch program. Now, through the REAL Lunch program students grow their own food year round and incorporate it into lunches they prepare themselves for their classmates as part of the school lunch program.
  • Frontier:  From 2006 to the present, Frontier provides a dynamic space for screening films, hosting lectures, concerts, workshops, meetings, conferences, community events, fundraisers and festivals. Frontier is a Third Place – building connections, partnerships and collaborations to create meaningful opportunities for people to engage with the world.  Frontier has become a vital community hub for the exchange of ideas, and an catalyst for creating positive change.

Our Approach

“What is needed is an approach that complements the silos of excellence and works in the white spaces between them, where resilience (and social innovation) is so often found”
- Andrew Zolli, Resilience

  • We bring together multidisciplinary groups to design world class experiences.
  • We connect with self-organized networks as well as recognized experts to tap into the best available information on any given topic.
  • We use proven design strategies to develop core insights, maximize team synergy, and arrive at viable solutions to actual problems.

Our work is rooted in our values.

Treehouse Institute is a nonprofit corporation registered in the state of Maine with 501c3 tax exempt status from the IRS.