Social Innovation in Practice at cosi10

Note, I am a cosi10 event host in Chicago. I offer my perspective on the cosi10 global event developments.

I am fascinated by fractals. The consistency from layer to layer. The persistence of an inner integrity. There is something about the perfection of it that creates tranquility and trust even in complex environments.

COSI10 feels fractal to me. We are doing social innovation to help social innovators. Innovation, to me, means prototyping and iterating with what works, refining and improving. And social doesn’t, to me, simply mean it involves people. To me, it means people are participating.

There is one more quality central to COSI10, and that is transparency. There is a value to push power and choice to the edges. To enable the edges to do so, they require information. So there is an effort to make visible the inner workings of the process. Which I hope to contribute to here in this post.

Earlier this week, several of us on the organizing team including Pallavi from India, Matt from Denver, Jean from Chicago, Antoine from Brussels, and Christina Jordan our global events coordinator, chatted over skype. We changed the dates for some of the events in the COSI10 series. We had been working with a serial view of events happening over several months. We hear that one of the benefits of COSI10 is connecting globally with other COSI10 events (as well as connecting locally with social innovators). So we moved the dates to be much closer to happening at once. We hope to see you November 5-8 at an event near you!

We came to this decision as a group, reviewing where we are and what we feel will most make our regional events and the whole of COSI10 successful for participants. We had been at one of those stuck spots. We were not where we wanted to be. What would get us there? So we said, “Let’s together discuss honestly where we are and do something else (possibly anything else). What would serve our purpose and deliver on our commitment?”

Voila! Amazing to feel the energy shift in the group, generating energy and enthusiasm. This has cascaded into a whole series of transformations:

  • Project management of multiple events at different times was complex and we didn’t have clear accountability or expectations set. Now timelines are universal and expectations stated clearly.
  • Responsibility for collective success seemed to have been pressed harder onto earlier events, and now responsibility for our success is shared by all more equally.
  • Giving space to name what was not working (without blame) gave us a chance to get the feedback we needed to make significant changes (instead of incremental ones). Now our communication efforts are crucially clearer and more useful.

I hope we are doing what the COSI10 events will do for participants – connecting, getting around and over hurdles, iterating to be better and better. I hope we catalyze greater agility and resilience for social innovators.

Clarity works magic on enthusiasm. And this adjustment and the clarity it brings brought a whole new level to our excitement around COSI10. We hope you will join us. Together we can build alliances, engage in structured collaboration, and evolve our social innovation sector. Check out our revised description and register before the early bird discount ends October 1!

Jean Russell
founder of Thrivable
cross posted at COSI10