Radical Collaboration: Making New (Weird) Connections

Leaders, innovators, collaborators, get ready! Annual Forum 2015 is just around the corner on Tuesday, September 22nd. To kick-off the annual forum experience, we’re beginning the day with Radical Collaboration: Making New Connections, a fun and interactive networking event.

We’re asking attendees to take a risk, challenge the status-quo, and be willing to engage with a new ‘Weird Friend,’ a term shared with us by Carl Atiya Swanson, Director of Movement Building at Springboard for the Arts and Annual Forum Committee member.

Weird Friends is the “fundamental notion that we are all more interesting people, that our teams are better and organizations more resilient when we’re not always around the same type of person.”

Building a network of weird friends can challenge us to engage more conscientiously in the world around us and think more creatively as we endeavor to solve problems, but it takes stepping outside of our comfort zone. As Carl puts it, “being comfortable doesn’t help you grow.” You have to get comfortable, being uncomfortable.

Radical Collaboration is possible when you welcome risk, have an openness to the unknown and a willingness to engage. Carl has inspired us to be bold in our pursuit for Radical Collaboration at Annual Forum 2015. So we’re asking you to do the same. But, we get it. Meeting someone for the first time can often feel awkward or even intimidating. So we asked Carl to share his tips and tricks for incorporating weird friends before, during and after Annual Forum 2015.

Carl’s Tips for ‘Weird Friend’ Success:

  • Meeting someone for the first time? Embrace the awkwardness of it. It’ll give you something to laugh about later.
  • Twitter, pay attention to it. Don’t be afraid to walk up to someone and say, “Your tweet really resonated with me.”

Hey, Carl! Your tweet really resonated with us.

“We have to be willing to change. We have to be open to discomfort. We have to hold it close & hold the space. We do it together. #DisruptMN” – A tweet from Carl at Annual Forum 2014: Disruptive Philanthropy.

Joining us at this year’s networking event is nonprofit enthusiast and artist Soozin Hirschmugl, with SPARKit, a mobile pop-up park that encourages creative exchange through games, art making, music, and a festive atmosphere, as well as Council DJ, Lizzy Shramko. With a DJ in-house, and fun activities to help conversations flow naturally, who knows, you just might form a new Radical Collaboration.

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