On page 14 of the Rockefeller Foundation’s “GATHER: the Art and Science of Effective Convening” report, the authors emphasize the primacy of purpose, and beyond that clarity and singularity of purpose, in effective convening. They state;

“Any conference needs to achieve at least the goals of building networks and sharing learning. Those are a good fit when your aim is to give participants a resource-rich environment for advancing their own agendas. But if you want to achieve more than that, you’ll need the group to work together.”

As we look around the convening landscape, we see many more gatherings geared toward the creation of “resource-rich environments for the advancement of individual agendas” than those geared toward genuine collective action. In fact, we found that phrase an accurate and evocative descriptor of most of the successful convenings we’ve attended in the impact space. It made us wonder…

What are the best practices for creating a resource-rich environment for the advancement of individual agendas? How do they differ from best practices for convenings focused on collective action? How are they similar? Are these convenings less valuable, less impactful than those focused more on collective impact? Are small groups with a singular agenda/focus the only way to achieve collective impact?

What you do you think?