I’m still digesting the content from the recent Sustainatopia conference in Boston, and I’m still following up with folks I met.
Last week I started to tell you about my panel on building collaborative networks with Sarah Finnie Robinson, Matthew Gardner, Jim Hamilton, and Lisa Lillelund. We talked about some of the ways we’d tackle the very common fear of talking to people we don’t know and whom we hold in high regard. Sarah talked about her early days at the New Yorker, where celebrities were daily fare and she learned from frequent exposure. I told of my years as a recruiter, when I forced myself to make 50 cold calls a day – excruciating at the time, but an invaluable experience.
Someone raised the topic of our need to improve our listening skills. I suggested that one fun way to learn to listen better might be to take an improvisational theatre class. One of our participants, Jodi Clark, agreed, saying she teaches improv, and an important element of improv is to always say “Yes, and…” – to build, not tear down another person. When you build a scene with others, you must accept what they present and build on it. You never negate the other’s contribution – you add.
And so, to close our session, I asked Jodi to give us a 2-minute improv exercise to try. And true to her word, she said yes. We built living statues, embodying collaborative networks through gesture, each teaching us in a visceral, very memorable way of the power and possibility of collaborative networks. Thank you, Jodi, and all the participants who made the session a real collaboration and wicked fun.
I encourage you to hold the dates for the next Sustainatopia – May 7-10, 2017, in San Francisco. Drop me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like to learn more. I hope to see you there.
Carol Baroudi works for Arrow’s Value Recovery business promoting sustainability awareness and action. She is the lead author of Green IT For Dummies. Her particular focus is on electronics in the Circular Economy, with an emphasis on the IT asset disposition stage, e-waste and everything connected. Follow her on Twitter at @carol_baroudi and connect with her on LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/in/carolbaroudi.