PUP is Moving.

PUP is Moving.

At Central State, for the first time ever, PUP will be housed under the same roof as our resources. So for those of you who have always wondered what acres of RCA Dome fabric looks like, we'll be able to show you. More importantly, we'll be able to fully highlight the trajectory of our resources - demonstrating how, through design and making, they are transformed from trash to a custom bag, a bus stop, or a pavilion.

We Love Liz

We Love Liz

“My time in Kenya and other developing countries helped me put a face behind the people who make our clothes. Of course I had heard of sweatshops, but when you hear someone’s story while sitting in their one room house it tends to change the way you think. I started to realize that clothing production with small fair trade production houses gives women ownership of their lives – they can choose if they want to go back to school, if they want to add on to their house, and where they will send their kids to school.”


Group hug. Eight years. Can you believe it? 

PUP turned EIGHT this November, and while we've graduated from rudderless startup to fledgling non-profit, we're still leveraging limited resources for maximum impact. 

In so many ways, I'm proud of this. We set out to be a different kind of organization - one that makes our own luck but kickstarting the change we want to see in our city. By and large, I think we're succeeding... Indianapolis' history is our resource, design is our tool, and the city is our laboratory. 

We're committed to improving as much as innovating. For us, progress is a moving target, and for each victory, we also notice every broken PUPstop, faulty messenger bag, or ripped shade structure. We feel these missteps, and are constantly working to repair, to improve, and to re-approach wherever we can. Simply, we're still learning.  

Recently, I've been told that PUP's work isn't sexy, that it's not fundamental, that we're not a sob story worth giving money too. But the thing is, we're not competing. We're all in this together, so whether you give money toward homelessness, volunteer to support sexual assault victims, or lend your talents toward planting trees, we're all trying to elevate this city and the lives of its citizens.

At PUP, we've chosen public spaces as the field where our talents match existing needs. And as we move the needle, we're using sustainably-sourced materials while employing Indy's best creative talent. We think that's pretty fundamental, but more importantly, it's optimistic.

Our work is a glimpse into the future - it's a preview of the city we will become.  

And we're ready to expand. To surge forward. This December, PUP's storage will move to a new location. And in 2017, it's likely that we'll also be expanding our headquarters. And we need your help.

So today, on Giving Tuesday, and throughout December, we're asking you to support PUP with a donation. This will help us move, expand, collaborate with Recycle Force, and purchase more equipment. Here's a few examples:

- $12 pays for an hour of work in our fabric storage.

- $27 helps us purchase a spool of thread. 

- $100 pays for a day of work cleaning our materials.

- $425 helps us refurbish and/or repair a PUPstop. 

Help us continue to build a city that we're all proud of. So instead of giving your dough to a hole in the ground (we love you Cards Against Humanity), send a few bucks our way. You'll see it make a difference out there in the city. 

Onward, Michael

MB BW.jpg

Michael Bricker is the  Chief Innovator + Founder of PUP and works extensively in both design and film, aiming to raise the caliber and conversation of both industries in Indianapolis.



A good friend of mine always says - if you want to sound like you know what you’re talking about, then say something that is 80% true.

So here goes. I’m guessing that most of us spend at least 80% of our lives in and around the built environment. The number is probably closer to 95%, but whatever. The point is, we as citizens, rarely escape constructed space. It’s all around us, all the time. So much so that one could easily make the argument that shelter + human = civilization.  

Given the ubiquity of this relationship, it’s weird that we almost never talk about it. And here in Indianapolis, unquestionably, words like ‘design’ and ‘architecture’ are so relegated to the margins that they're almost invisible.  

People Make the Place: My Personal Homecoming

People Make the Place: My Personal Homecoming

Rediscovering my hometown after over a decade abroad has been nothing short of thrilling.  Pride for our communities grows in every neighborhood.  Driving forces behind the momentum are groups like PUP (People for Urban Progress), Big Car, ROW (Reconnecting Our Waterways) and The Patachou Foundation to mention only a few.  Their efforts have steadily enhanced the local quality of life for people.  I have been lucky to become directly involved with PUP and Big Car since moving back.  Through my work with them it is easy to attest to the sense of family that the individuals behind these organizations create. 

Dear Indianapolis, the time is now

The truth is, however, that we're no longer a startup. The days of cleaning Dome Fabric in my bathtub are over (fact). Increasingly, we're interested in what it means to be post-startup. At the studio, we're constantly discussing scale, production, and community engagement - making sure that as we grow, we continue to bring the community with us. 

BRICKER: What separates actual innovators from those who just talk about it?

Originally published in the Indianapolis Business Journal.

We live in an idea-obsessed time. With the explosion of the sharing economy, tech startups, social media and crowdfunding, we are conditioning ourselves to expect and experience innovation multiple times a day.

The problem with this urgency (and obsessiveness) is that we’re losing focus on the how and why of innovation. We throw the word around so casually that it’s starting to become synonymous with the idea itself. But let’s be clear: An idea is not innovation.

Innovation is about matching need with execution. It’s about changing the conversation and following through.

The how of innovation is the part no one talks about. Mostly because it’s not a linear process. It’s a chaotic mess of starts and stops, of late nights and naysayers, of small surprises and accidental victories.

Innovation is a result, not a goal. Focusing on actually doing the work and making sure it’s done well, that’s the hardest part. Ideas and brainstorming are meaningless without the persistence paired with action.

At PUP, we’ve gotten really good at innovating, not because we’re idea people, but because we recognize the adjacent possible and then do something about it.

Borrowed from author Steven Johnson, the adjacent possible is the ever-expanding blurry future made visible by the right set of present possibilities.

This of course is laughably vague, but it does make sense—innovations don’t materialize from nothing. They emerge when the right people recognize a new opportunity given the technologies, places and realities of the time.

This could be as huge as the iPod or as localized as PUP’s repurposing of the RCA Dome roof. As the innovation expands, each project or product leads to the next one.

The how of the adjacent possible is guided by the why—a clear set of beliefs about the future. And, along with PUP, there’s a collective of social innovators in Indianapolis that are building their why around the city itself.

Organizations like Big Car, The City Gallery, IndyHub, Pattern, The Speak Easy, RecycleForce, Indianapolis Fabrications and Plan 2020 are all tackling civic needs with strong and diverse whys. Our collective why, however, is Indianapolis itself, where innovative installations, events, spaces and places are appearing with delightful and meaningful frequency.

I hope the density of this work begins to brand Indianapolis as an innovative city, and frankly it’s long overdue that we start identifying ourselves this way. We are who we say we are. We don’t need permission. We are not second-tier. We do not need to wait until another city does it before us.

Innovation is about recognizing the adjacent possible, then being the first-best at making it happen. It’s about being post-idea.•


Bricker is chief innovator for People for Urban Progress, a not-for-profit advocating for connectivity, environmental responsibility and good design.


PUP will be OPEN this First Friday, April 3, 2015, from 7-10ish at our studio in the Murphy Building.

This month, we'll have a SALE on select items including sweatshirts, our Clerk handbags, and select t shirts. 

In addition, we'll have some prototypes on display that we've been working on. We'd love to get your thoughts and feedback on these potential new products.

PLUS, we're having an online sale! Take 20% off your entire online order with the coupon code:


click here to shop

It's Spring! The sun is shining, flowers are blooming, people are outside. Come on out and join us on Friday night for a little celebration.

See you there,