Over the weekend of November 5th-7th 2010 four groups met in Belgium, Cyprus, and the U.S. (Chicago and Denver) to talk about social innovation and their personal entrepreneurial projects. The Cosi10 meet-ups had been in the planning for several months spearheaded by Christina Jordan. Local event organizers (for these four locations as well as others who decided not to participate this year) coordinated extensively online at ned.com and via skype. Here is some of what has been learned so far about organizing a global event, on and off line:
1. The concept of bringing together groups from different parts of the world during the same period of time to talk about a common topic and connect with each other online as well as with their local group is a very workable one with today’s technologies.
2. Coordinating such activity takes a major commitment to communication from the event coordinator and local event hosts.
3. To ensure communication between the local groups during the in person event time, time should be set aside in the agenda for local groups to post information to the online site.
4. Acknowledge that local groups will greatly customize their local discussions (even more so with strong facilitators) and keep the topics that you would like everyone to discuss to a minimum.
5. Have “qualitative” expectations and goals in addition to quantitative ones – events can be ‘successful’ even if their numbers are not large.
6. For a global program like this, it is more effective to start small and grow with successive events, than to start with a large event initially.
The Cosi10 discussions about social innovation continue through mid December in theCcosi10 online space. You can join in at http://www.ned.com/group/cosi10/
If you have participated in any similar type of global event, sharing your comments here would be appreciated as well.