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Audio from November’s Confab Call on Rockefeller’s GATHER

Confab bubble imageYesterday’s confab call (Nov 20th) on the Rockefeller Foundation’s new publication on convening was a great one! About 80 people participated, and our speakers and facilitator did a fabulous job.

If you missed it, you can listen to the audio archive here, and be sure to check out the dynamic Hackpad doc where many participants were taking notes, asking and answering questions, and introducing themselves.

Our confab speakers yesterday were instrumental in the Rockefeller publication GATHER: The Art & Science of Effective Convening:

  • Rob Garris, Managing Director at Rockefeller Foundation. Rob oversees their Bellagio conference center, and oversaw the creation of GATHER
  • Noah Rimland Flower, Monitor Institute. Noah is one of GATHER’s two co-authors and led the content creation

GATHER is a free hands-on guidebook for all convening designers and social change leaders who want to tap into a group’s collective intelligence and make substantial progress on a shared challenge. (Download or purchase it at www.monitorinstitute.com/what-we-think/gather.)

The gorgeous publication provides simple frameworks for the questions that are often ignored: whether convening is the right tool to use to advance a strategic agenda, and how a convening can be used to achieve a specific purpose. It helps you understand how to customize the design to fit that purpose, laying out a clear series of steps for what is a naturally chaotic workflow. It then offers principles to use for each of the many tactical choices involved. GATHER and its accompanying workshop materials are designed for you to use in your own work, with a team, and with larger groups both inside and outside an organization.

On yesterday’s confab, we discussed:

  • How convening is increasingly being used as a strategic tool for foundations
  • Mis-steps many convening designers make, and how to avoid them
  • Examples of how convening can be used for societal problem-solving
  • How the presence of funders can influence a convening
  • How do you know when you’re addressing the right problem and involving the right people
  • How to determine the best size (number of participants) for your convening
  • And much more!

And here are links to some great resources that were brought up on yesterday’s call…

  • Monitor Institute’s new publication Harnessing Collaborative Technologies, on the emerging tech tools that can be used to help funders work together
  • In addition to the gorgeous 43-page report, a super-useful interactive tool has been developed by GrantCraft at http://collaboration.grantcraft.org to help people identify tools to facilitate collaboration.
  • From the Kids’ Table to the Adults’ Table: Taking Relationships Seriously in a World of Networks, by John Esterle (Whitman Institute), Malka Kopell and Palma Strand.
  • New report by Special D Events prepared for the Kellogg Foundation, Convenings 2.0: Connecting adult learning, communication strategies and event logistics to build stronger relationships

To stay updated on NCDD’s future confab calls and all of our activities, be sure to join NCDD! Note that all confab audio recordings (and archives of the collaborative docs created during them) can be found in the NCDD Confab Archives tag.

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Sandy Heierbacher
Sandy Heierbacher is the Founding Director of the National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation (NCDD). Sandy has an M.A. in International Management from SIT Graduate Institute, and also serves as a Research Deputy for the Kettering Foundation. Click here for a list of articles and resources authored by Sandy.

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