discussion starts with connecting

We are connected. We breathe the same air; we walk the same earth; we work and play under the same sun. We text, we tweet, we comment on each others’ status updates. We traverse space and time skyping loved ones, and share masterpieces of work instantaneously across oceans.

It’s 2011, and close to five billion people are connected via mobile phone. With almost 700 million users, Facebook, if it were a country, would be the third biggest on the planet. We are connected like at no other time in history….

How is this shaping the way you communicate, and how you relate to friends, family and that client that calls after hours? How does having access help or hinder your capacity to create? Remember a time before email? When was the last time you sent a written letter by post? Is twitter a serendipity engine?

Please join the discussion in the Gathering Discussion Forum. Let’s start the conversation on how we might build better futures. Click on any of the discussion topics to add your ideas or if you’d like to pose your own question or start your own discussion thread, please feel free to do so by clicking on the “add new topic” .

Have any sites, videos, documents or other links you’d like to share? Let us know in your comments in the forum and we’ll check them out and add them to the appropriate widget on the right.

Please take this opportunity to introduce yourself to other Gathering ’11 participants (including those that will be joining us online), and let’s start exploring how we might build better futures together.

Connecting and communicating to build better futures. :)

Exploring the edges of “social tech for social change”

One of the themes of Gathering ’11 is how we might use technology and social media to connect, communicate, collaborate, co-create, and otherwise build the futures we want to be living. In this presentation, my colleague Peter Deitz suggests that the most common applications of “social technology for social change” represent just the beginning of what’s possible.

At the leading edge of that experimentation is the use of social tech to open up an organization’s program development and implementation. Deitz shares several examples of what that would look like in practice, pointing to organizations who are:

  • Storing mission-critical information in publicly available documents
  • Embracing the idea of a “curtainless launch” for new products and services
  • Reporting in real-time on what’s being planned, what’s being done, and what happened

What ideas does this inspire for your own practice? How would opening more of what you do to public availability and participation change the way you connect, communicate, collaborate, and co-create with others? What challenges and opportunities might arise if your practice reflected more of these characteristics?

(Click on the right-facing triangle in the bottom center to forward through the presentation, or hover your cursor over “More” for full screen and more viewing options.)

Want a better future? Here’s how we can start building it.

Something needs to change. It’s clear that industrial age institutions and systems aren’t the answer to today’s complex social and environmental issues.

Albert Einstein once said, “We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.” So how do we come up with real solutions to the big issues facing all of us?

It’s time to change our approach.

It’s time to build new institutions and develop new systems. It’s time to move from industrial age leadership to 21st century buildership. It’s time to stop saying they need to do this or they need to fix that. It’s time for us to come together and take action – after all, there is no they, we are the they.

So how might we address local and global societal problems? How might we come up with solutions that are wholistic, sustainable and have real impact?

How might we be the change we wish to see in the world?

By bringing together diverse community members, socially innovative thinkers and progressive leaders in the not-for-profit, corporate, social, government and academic sectors.

By coming together to explore challenges, identify opportunities, envision pathways, and lay down foundations for real solutions to today’s pressing social and environmental issues.

By gathering together to cocreate pathways to better futures for all, and implementing plans for action.

Register for Gathering ’11

At Gathering ’11 you will:

  • experience new approaches to idea generation and problem solving;
  • learn how to engage and mobilise your friends, your community and your organisation around a cause;
  • discover models for business that are having a positive social impact and thriving in challenging economic times;
  • find out how you can use technology and social media to make a real difference;
  • hear how small moves, smartly made, can set big things in motion; and
  • develop ideas and cocreate opportunities for world-changing projects and game-changing enterprises.

Why you should join us…

If you’re wanting to live a life, or start a business, or bring people together in ways that make a real difference, than you should join us at Gathering ‘11.

We’ve created a program to support the emergence of radical innovation and creativity with the intention to inspire implementable ideas that can effect real change and build foundations for better futures. Come to Gathering ‘11 to learn how you can do things like:

  • Bring your community together to address climate change and ensure low-carbon, secure energy futures.
  • Start your own enterprise that has a positive social impact and helps those in need.
  • Build your own business that thrives from providing goods and services with real meaning.
  • Develop your own systems that enable a shift in the way that people buy, consume and lessen their impact on our precious planet.
  • Help your organisation shift from being just a service provider, to one that connects people who want help with people that need it.
  • Design your own online platform for open participation to facilitate creative problem solving for today’s big challenges.
  • Make a living and a difference by being creative and sharing your passion.

Join us at Gathering ’11 to share, learn, grow and build. Come plant the seeds for a community of practice with other visionaries, though-leaders and change-makers from across Australia and around the world – taking steps toward better futures for all, together.

Join featured participants including: John Hagel, Michel Bauwens, Pete Williams, Venessa Miemis, Kate Carruthers, Stephen Johnson, Jean Russell, Kristin Alford, Tim Longhurst, Christine Egger, Benny Callaghan and Ehon Chan, for an immersive weekend of presentations, participant led discussions and generative processes.

Every revolution begins from the bottom up. Fed up with the status quo? Tired of the 20th century? Then don’t just talk about it. Reject it and refuse it. Build a better 21st century instead. Real change doesn’t begin with governments, presidents, or prime ministers. It begins with each of us. ~ Umair Haque

Where does change come from? You, me, we.

Join us for the inaugural Gathering in Melbourne 11-13 June to build better futures.

Gathering People


Feeling rather impish today, I was thinking about what would happen if I took three random people and put them together. Let’s try @randomdeanna, @ladyniasan, and @pritharaysircar, for example, although they don’t yet know each other.

Deanna has this thing called gigglecon, which we think of a subversive conference within a conference where you connect to people you can giggle with. Deanna wrote the book on sharing. No, really, it is called Share This. Let’s tag Deanna: women, media, politics, and nonprofits. Every time I see her, I learn, laugh, and grow.

Now, let’s add in the fabulous @ladyniasan who is likely in some outlandish costume perturbing people’s sensibilities and asking some challenging questions. Let’s tag her: digital activism, prototyping, fablab, design, art.

Next, let’s add @pritharaysircar for some spice, intellectual rigor, hard questions, and very practical utility. She is on theMAKE. Let’s tag her: economics, local community, hands on.

If you put these three women in a small room, it would be a dangerous… and likely explosive… situation with social change confetti flying everywhere (made from the shreds of thoroughly critiqued newspapers – be sure to recycle or repurpose).

So what combinations of people make change? What gathering will be explosive with action leading to impact from mindful people collaborating for a larger and better purpose? That is the experiment of Gathering11. We like being entrepreneurial about it. What happens when you take the nimble edge-rider like Venessa Miemis, mix with the practical integrator Christine Egger and swirl the whole thing with the creative emergence powers of Michelle James? Take the deep business acumen of John Hagel and stir with some gamification?

What happens when you come and join us?

Reviewing the list of people participating, I keep imagining the side conversations I might hear, the projects that might emerge, and the insights that will infect everyone with memes of the futures we are creating. I can’t wait!!! Come play and co-create with us!