Many times in philanthropy we are faced with problems bigger than ourselves and bigger, even, than our organizations. Certainly, given what’s at stake, we can use our time together at NCG’s Annual Conference to multiply the brilliance among us for greatest effect.
This year, NCG is creating a new kind of space adapted from the tech sector’s ‘un-conference’ and tracing its origins to indigenous practices of creating open space for differing views. This ‘new space’ which, for our purposes, we’ll call Idea Fest, plays off the resonant themes of the morning to generate 30 ideas that can change how we’re thinking about the opportunities before us and what we’re doing about it.
We’ll tackle some big questions: What’s it going to take to advance the well-being we’ve long pursued? To hold our gains? To create healthy, thriving and just communities?
And what’s it going to take for philanthropy to advance our shared interests on these issues?
We’ve invited a recognized global architect of these conversations to create a dynamic Idea Fest for the inspiration that resides in our network to grow and take shape. Here’s what our facilitator, Simone Poutnik has to say about her work:
My work is about creating the conditions for better relationships which will lead to better results. I have always been passionate about hosting spaces that draw in people across ethnic and socio-economic difference, gender, sexual orientation, age and belief, to feel included and heard and move toward wiser collective action.
Over the past 15 years I have facilitated groups all over the world, from national governments and their stakeholders in Africa, the European Institutions in Brussels, activists in post-revolutionary Egypt, to communities working for greater good across the US. I have learned we all hold a piece of truth around the big questions of our times and we need each other to tackle them.
Most of us agree on the importance of collaboration. But that doesn’t make it easy. The key is finding ways to listen with curiosity and share our perspectives with courage in a space of mutual respect. This quality of listening allows for the possibility of something more.
Getting out of conventional thinking involves taking a little personal risk, being ok with discomfort, challenging our own assumptions and embracing ambiguity. Even more so, it requires we move beyond binary thinking towards the possibility that another view is worthwhile.
I’m excited to work with NCG to help form this creative space at the conference. Following the morning plenary, I will guide you through the creation of afternoon conversation topics following the un-conference style format. This open session is a place to surface ideas for philanthropy in our region, to hold our gains and move into the shared future we seek together.
These conversations take many twists and turns; it will be up to you to use the “law of mobility” to participate in a conversation where you can learn and contribute, or move on. This is an opportunity to think about your personal role as someone committed to a better world, your colleagues’ roles as changemakers, and the sector’s role in addressing the challenges before us.
I am honored to facilitate Idea Fest for you and can’t wait to see which questions and topics you will bring forward. Looking forward to meeting you next month!