The workshops of the 2012 Summit kicked off this afternoon with our first workshop block. The topics ranged from “Sustainable Funding” and “Scalability and Replicability” to “Harnessing Mobile Technology” and “Creativity and Communication”.
A common thread that ran throughout the workshops promoted humility and listening skills, which was emphasized by Andrew Youn last night at the Opening Keynote as well. Erin Archuleta, who facilitated the “Scalability and Replicability” workshop, reminded the delegates to “deeply listen to the needs and voices of the community in which you’re working, to be on the ground before you enter a community and to gain their perspective” rather than impose your own. She warned that “if you’re placing your hopes and dreams on someone without doing the due diligence to see if your hopes and dreams work for them, it may not work the way you think it will”. Humility is absolutely vital to deep listening. When doing work on the ground, we should assume a “posture of humility” that enables us to foster deeper, more authentic relationships that productively produce tangible change.
The “Creativity and Communication” workshop served as reminder of how design can serve as an effective leverage for social good. Several tips to keep in mind are: “design is a process and a set of tools” and “simplicity is KEY to conveying a message well”. When writing your organization’s mission statement, go from what YOU want to do to how you’ll help everyone else/the WORLD. For example, go from “we want to create a plant-based substitute for plastic” to “we will cure the world of its addiction to plastic”.
Garrett Neiman, as well as alumna Sana Rahim during our Alumni Panel this morning, insisted that having conversations and reaching out to rich individuals is essential to building your project and gaining finances. It’s not a bad thing to do! Sana actually gave a beautiful turn of phrase on the topic: “asking people for money is giving people an opportunity to be generous and have an impact”. Neiman echoed that, saying that “you could meet someone that could help with your organizaion- either you get a major donor or a new friend!”
Check out photos from our first block of workshops!