Connected: The Film – Melbourne sneak preview, 8 September 2011

What does it mean to be living in a hyperconnected world? How is it changing the way we communicate, relate, work and consume – and what impact is this having on our wellbeing, and that of the planet around us? These are the questions asked and explored in one of 2011′s most eagerly awaited films – Connected.

Join us, and our three special guest panelists – leading thinkers in communications, technology, community and the environment - for this exciting Gathering event. It is a sneak preview of the film described by James Greenberg as,

A personal yet universal story about the Internet Age…Connected is a highly energized romp through a myriad of ideas about where the human race is headed.

Afterward, connect with other Melbourne change-makers and discover what great projects and initiatives are laying foundations for us to build better futures for all, together.

We’re also planning to have drinks and snacks available on the night from a couple of top Melbourne food and beverage social entreprises – which may include popcorn. ;)

Presented by Gathering ’11 host David Hood, with thanks to the AMPlify Festival and RMIT SEEDS, this event is a fundraiser for Gathering ’11 and future Gathering events and programs.

Connected: The Film [sneak preview]
Thursday 8 September, 6.00pm-9.00pm
Kaleide Theatre, RMIT, Melbourne

Please note: film screening commences at 6:30pm sharp.

For more information, and to book your ticket for Connected: The Film sneak preview, click here.



Book your ticket for Connected: The Film sneak preview

With wonderful heart and an impressive sense of scale, Tiffany Shlain’s vibrant and insightful documentary, Connected, explores the visible and invisible connections linking major issues of our time—the environment, consumption, population growth, technology, human rights, the global economy—while searching for her place in the world during a transformative time in her life.

Employing a splendidly imaginative combination of animation and archival footage, plus several surprises, Shlain constructs a chronological tour of Western modernization through the work of her late father, Leonard Shlain, a surgeon and best-selling author of Art and Physics and The Alphabet Versus the Goddess. With humor and irony, the Shlain family life merges with philosophy to create both a personal portrait and a proposal for ways we can move forward as a civilization.

Connected illuminates the beauty and tragedy of human endeavor while boldly championing the importance of personal connectedness for understanding and coping with today’s global conditions.

“Tiffany Shlain demonstrates, with lyrical simplicity, our interdependence on one another and the interconnectedness of humanity with all life on earth. With a tightly synchronized dance between her powerful images and insightful words — with humor, and with a creativity all her own, Tiffany illuminates the issues that affect us all — including environmental degradation, dizzying technological innovation and population growth — and helps us to understand our inter-relationship with the world in a way that is both freeing and inspiring. Throughout, she also presents and honors the deep wisdom of her late father, Leonard Shlain, reminding us of the deepest connections that breathe meaning into life.” – Al Gore

“A personal yet universal story about the Internet Age…Connected is a highly energized romp through a myriad of ideas about where the human race is headed.” – James Greenberg, The Hollywood Reporter

Book your ticket for Connected: The Film sneak preview

Event Partners: AMPlify Festival and RMIT SEEDS Program

John Hagel – Gathering ’11: an opportunity to make meaningful change

Jean Russell interviews opening speaker, John Hagel, on “the power of pull” and the opportunity to make meaningful change at Gathering ’11.

Jean: Hi John, Thank you for sharing with me today. I know we are both excited about Gathering ’11, but I am curious what is the attraction for you? What do you think is powerful about this event?

John: Gathering ’11 is a promising opportunity to mobilize people for meaningful change. The people attending are from a variety of edges. That in itself makes it very promising. Any of the people attending individually are incredibly talented and interesting. But the power is in the cocktail – the mixture of experiences, skill sets and perspectives coming together. It ensures that we will have some very creative ideas emerging regarding both what can be done and how to do it.

Jean: So part of the lure is the mixture of different people? I certainly agree the cocktail is interesting. I wrote about that in my gathering people post. Is that enough? What will  take the different edges gathered here and make something larger than the sum of the parts?

John: The challenge is not diversity, but convergence. We will be meeting only for a short time. If the meeting is to become a catalyst for sustained engagement, rather than just an interesting set of conversations that will quickly blur in our memories, we will need to make progress on two fronts while we are together:

  • A shared definition of the problem and long-term view of the opportunity
  • Agreement on 2-3 short-term initiatives that have the greatest potential to accelerate our movement towards the opportunity and that we can mobilize around with measurable milestones

Jean: Time is such an interesting function of the story we are telling ourselves John. If we think too short term, we won’t steer our collective toward a long term horizon that matters. And our time together is short. What can we do to make the most of it? And what do you think the potential is here?

John: I am a big believer that small moves smartly made can set big things in motion.  A small gathering in Melbourne, Australia has the potential to change the world. The trick is to find the smart moves that have the potential to build rapidly and amplify impact. From my work, I would offer these suggestions regarding “smartness”:

  • Rather than confronting the problems head on, find promising edges – peripheral areas that are likely to be more risk taking and receptive to fundamentally different ways of doing things
  • Proceed along two horizons simultaneously – fleshing out a longer-term view of the opportunity and pursuing a limited number of high potential short-term initiatives on the targeted edges
  • Aggressively seek leverage by reaching out to others through scalable platforms and draw them to the relevant edges
  • Start with relatively low investment initiatives that can quickly generate impact – this helps to build credibility and conviction, as well as generating greater insight about both the long-term problem and opportunity
  • Foster productive friction – identify problems that require novel approaches to solve and then encourage debate and confrontation of opposing ideas in an effort to draw out creative new ideas
  • Set aside time to regularly review and reflect on the impact achieved and to recognize those who made the highest impact contributions

Over the years, I have developed an instinct and intuition about initiatives that have the potential for impact. I have a strong sense that Gathering ’11 could be one of those platforms for change that people look back on and marvel about how such a small group made such a big difference.

Jean: Thank you John!

John: Thank you Jean!


Navigating the Unknown: 7 Reflection Tools

This is a re-post of an article that Gathering ’11 co-host Michelle James wrote a few years ago. I thought it was relevant to share here as we enter the unknown to co-create a better future. ~ David

Navigating the Unknown: 7 Reflection Tools

1. Change the lens you use for seeing the unknown. Do you see the unknown something to be feared, challenged, dealt with, managed or overcome? Or is it something to be navigated, explored, embraced, cultivated, or expressed? If you think of facing the unknown in your work what thoughts and emotions come to mind? What metaphor? A beast to be tamed, a wave to be surfed, a game to be played? How we perceive the concept of this unfolding future we call the unknown determines how easily we navigate it.

2. Consciously engage uncertainty. Whether we like it or not the unknown has now become our working partner. By actively engaging the unknown in small ways at first – such as with a low-risk/high-ambiguity project – you develop the essential skills to work with it in larger high-risk/high-ambiguity arenas. What would it take for you to go deeper into situations, pushing past what you currently know, before going forward? It feels counterproductive in our fast-paced culture, but by taking the up front time to go deep and explore multiple dimensions, next-level solutions begin to reveal themselves.

3. Allow the process to be messy. When we start consciously exploring unknown, there is a period of time where logic, order, and organization are put on hold as we get into the unearthing of new information. It can seem illogical, nonsensical, and even foreign-sounding as it emerges. Like all births, new directions are not necessarily tidied up and pretty as they enter the world. Similar to a baby being born, the ideas, structures and systems that emerge from the unknown space can look unrecognizable at first. The task it to continue to draw whatever shows up forth, amidst it messiness, until the new order emerges. There is a natural, self-organizing system at play in every emergent situation. How much time and space do you give to ideas to go formulate?

4. Actively leave the familiar. Just because something worked for one group in one situation doesn’t mean it is necessarily repeatable. Look back to the past for what is relevant to the new situation and bring it with you. Leave the rest behind. It is in our nature to seek the shelter of the familiar even if we know it is no longer serving us. Leaving what is comfortable and not working to dip into the “empty space” to draw forth the new is challenging. Do you have compassion for yourself (or others) when you are frustrated, overwhelmed and feel like you hit a wall?

5. Use multidimensional creative approaches. By using a variety of creativity tools, techniques and approaches you can engage more of your brain and more of your senses. The human habit is to approach uncertain situations with the same set of analytical tools each time. No matter how focused and capable your thought process, unless you do something different to activate new parts of the brain, the information will still travel down your same neural pathways in the same way and you will come up with the same types of solutions. If you purposefully integrate alternative methods, whole brain thinking and multi-sensory stimulation, awareness is heightened and you become more responsive and resilient. What are some ways you can intentionally do this?

6. Be the Beginner. Probably the most significant, yet challenging aspect of navigating the unknown is the willingness to enter the beginner mind. We live in a knowledge based society. We are educated to have the right answers. The more we know, the more intelligent, capable, and competent we are considered. We are rewarded and recognized for that which we know, not for that which we don’t know. Yet, in a world where the word innovation is showing up in exponentially more mission and vision statements, this is often exactly what is needed to move forward. It’s not about abandoning what you know, but bringing it to the table to sit side by side with what you do not know.

7. Accept the human paradox. Within the paradox of human nature, being what it is, the unknown is both dangerous and exciting, a threat to be feared and a mystery to be revealed. We are mystery seekers. There is a multi-billion dollar mystery industry–books, movies, adventure tours, Internet games, and haunted houses. There is something about walking around the corner and not knowing what will pop out that is inherently exciting and alive to us. Uncovering and discovering are in our nature–just look at a child exploring the environment, looking behind every crack and crevice for what’s next.
While a part of us may love the mystery, we have another part of us, in our reptilian primal brain, that has been hard wired to fear what is around the corner. Our ancestors knew well knowledge of our surroundings gave us control of a dangerous world. There was a real danger in leaving the safety of the cave. This is still true today. When we perceive threats to survival, we like to know what is next. Ironically, the same world that makes people want to retreat to their caves to hide from the “predators” is this same world that is requiring new levels of innovation to adapt and thrive. When is change exciting and when is it threatening to you?

The more you work with the unknown as a co-creative partner, the easier it is to stay grounded in the winds of change. It takes more than just deciding to embrace uncertainty to be able to do it. It takes understanding where you are in relationship to the unknown now, and then consciously choosing to be with the discomfort, and perhaps excitement, of exploring new territory. Underneath business buzz words, mission statements and strategic goals, there is an unsure human facing a new world. It takes practice. As with mastering any new skill, navigating the unknown is an ongoing process.  ~ Michelle James


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. :)

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.