SaraJoy Pond

After the GIS event, about 30 conveners gathered at the Rainforest Studio in Portola Valley and participated in an ecosystem mapping exercise facilitated by Greg Horowitt from T2 Venture Creation. Over the 4-hour conversation, we discussed role models, available resources, infrastructure, culture, communication, stakeholders and more.

The result was a start at a holistic understanding of our space (and importantly, greater awareness of information/insight we’re missing in order to do so) and a list of concrete possible initiatives to help move us as a community toward the ideals we strive for.

Some highlights from the discussion:

  • Our role models are many and varied–exemplary for creating different kinds of value. Greater understanding of and transparency about the type of value each convening strives to create could be beneficial to both conveners and attendees.
  •  Despite our differences, we have a great deal in common in terms of infrastructure, logistical, expertise and content needs. There appear to be several potentials for leverage here: a Conveners Co-op, group purchasing/contracts, outsourcing, and shared operational roles/resources among others.
  • Shared learnings/best practices are among the greatest potential benefits of Convening the Conveners. The space as a whole is striving for a cultural transition toward authentic, inclusive, co-creative, problem-solving environments. Every member has something to offer in service of that transition.
  • Our space is built of pathways. Surfacing, strengthening and/or creating pathways/pipelines that move individuals toward meaningful engagement, organizations toward impact, and conveners toward synergy is an opportunity for growth in the ecosystem.

We plan to present a more comprehensive draft ecosystem map to the group next month.

In addition to the mapping exercise, we kept an action item list from which emerged several priority initiatives for the group to pursue.

  • Ask/Offer Exchange : electronic space for members to post available resources and make specific requests to the group.
  • Facilitation Training* : this was determined to be the top priority professional development/knowledge sharing interest of the group
  • Conveners Coop / Outsourcing / Megaconference : research and exploration about possibilities, cost/benefit, best practices around each of these collaboration models.
  • Expanding the Tent : asking “who’s not at the table?” to broaden and deepen representation in the Conveners group.

Thanks to TJ Cook for the photography 🙂 

*UPDATE – As of October 2015 we are launching the Facilitation Encyclopedia for Conveners.org members.