Every year, Impact Hub Global assembles staff from all 120+ Impact Hubs from around the world to connect in person, share challenges and learnings, inspire each other and work out how we want to go forward as a network.
This year’s gathering took place in Berlin and was organised in an unconference format. The reason for this was that in previous years, the programme was so packed full of workshops and discussions that participants felt they didn’t have time to talk about the topics that were closest to their heart but not on the agenda. So this time, anyone could propose and host a session. We were invited to submit ideas in advance, pitch them in front of all participants on the day or just write them on a piece of paper and stick them on the live agenda.
This meant that not only were the sessions relevant to existing interests, but they also became a lot more participatory and conversational as very few had prepped a presentation. Conveners of each session were encouraged to keep notes and share them with the Impact Hub Global team, who would gather them to share back with everyone who came.
The session topics were wide ranging – from community building and new partnerships to engaging volunteers and responding to local challenges. We hosted a workshop about moving to a new space – an area in which we felt we’d gained some reasonable experience in recent months… 🙂
It was a wonderful experience to meet Hubs from all around the world, to discover that many of the challenges are shared and to hear how new models of running an Impact Hub are emerging. David Pierre-Louis, who is setting up the first Impact Hub in Haiti, hosted a screening of Kenbe Fem: A Haitian Story of Survival, Unity and Strength. The film documents his journey from setting up a successful jazz club in Seattle to returning to Port-au-Prince after the 2010 earthquake to find his mother and sensing a strong commitment to being part of the rebuilding of his native country.
We left Berlin feeling invigorated by all the things we’d heard and the great conversations we’d had – as well as infused with a sense of gratitude for this wonderful network of amazing people and teams who are working towards transforming their cities and societies under sometimes very challenging circumstances.
Check out the #BerlinWeek2017 conversation on social media.