This post was contributed by Kevin Lynch

Fellow Conveners!

When Topher first pulled together this convening of conveners, it was music to my ears, as I had been thinking along these same lines.

More specifically, I have been thinking for a while of a “mega-conference” to ally many of us for increased impact, sustainability and leverage in our convenings.  After discussing this vision with Topher, I’m sending this note to the entire group to see if there are others who might be interested .  More explanation follows:

My organization, Social Enterprise Alliance, has been doing our annual Summit for 14 years now.  In the span of those years, we’ve gone from being really the only major convening of social enterprise in North America, to one of many different events in the space.  None of us attract exactly the same audience, or offer exactly the same programming, or drive exactly the same outcomes, but I suspect if you drew a Venn diagram there’d be a great deal more overlap than not.

So each year, we are all working harder and harder to attract audience, attract sponsors, attract speakers and differentiate ourselves from the clutter.  We speak politely about collaboration, but when it comes to actually making our events succeed, I suspect we’re all chipping away at each others’ success without knowing it or trying to.

So the simple idea is, let’s try to get a group together with great common interest and high intentionality, and put together an event on a different scale altogether.  Let’s identify what we have in common, and unify for impactin the commons.  Let’s carve out space within the event for each player to still maintain identity, affinity and attraction for our unique offerings.  Let’s produce something with rock star speakers and top-level production values.  Let’s use each others’ networks and platforms to get the word our far and wide.  Let’s amass the social change movement to a larger scale that will get the higher attention of sponsors, and tell a larger story that will get the higher attention of the press.  Let’s gain leverage and efficiency on the fixed costs and venues that we’re all spending duplicate dollars on.

Note that 1/3 of my organization’s name is “Alliance”.  Instigating something like this would be totally consistent with our mission and strategy.   Thus I’d be happy to take a leadership role in figuring out how we could pull something like this off.

If you’re interested, drop me a note at kevin@se-alliance.org, or call me at 612-723-4209.  In turn, I will share the list of interested parties with Topher, in advance of the next gathering of Conveners on February 20 in conjunction with the Global Innovation Summit.  Since one of the main points of the February 20 gathering is to map the social sector convening eco-system, we may just find sufficient common ground among our respective convenings to warrant such a large-scale collaboration.

In common interest,

Kevin