For the very first time in their history, BoardSource is opening their 2013 conference to speakers outside their own realm. Which means that pretty much everyone remotely related to boards and governance is spending this week writing a proposal to present at the BoardSource conference – including us!
And our topic? What our board is learning by opening the doors and inviting and engaging openly in truly participatory governance – or as Bill Musick dubbed it, Radical Transparency. (We will probably have a subtitle that relates this directly to engagement, but I confess I think that title is sexy, especially considering that BoardSource’s theme this year is about thinking big and bold. Which doesn’t mean that even the title isn’t open for suggestion – it is indeed.)
From our beginnings 3 years ago, Creating the Future vowed to engage participation in every major decision this new organization made – starting with the decision about what to name this org! After hundreds of comments and ideas shared over several months, Creating the Future was born.
From our naming decision to every major decisoin including our conflict of interest policy, our engagement efforts grew to inviting individual guests to fully participate (i.e. discuss along with us) at our board meetings. And then last December, we just opened the doors and windows and asked anyone and everyone to be part of our board’s dicsussions.
Which is why we are here, engaging you in THIS decision – what to say in our proposal!
Here’s what we know:
As a living laboratory for accomplishing social change, we need LOTS of people to be experimenting, to see what really works beyond just our board.
That’s why it is important to us to share what we are learning – what this open, engaged participation is making possible for us. And it’s why it is important that we invite others to learn alongside us.
So the question ahead of us is simple:
How can we put all this great stuff into a form that will not only get a panel to approve this proposal – but make them so excited they want to attend the session themselves?
Please add your comments below (and if you are reading this via email or a reader, please follow the link to the blog to be sure all the comments stay together – we don’t want to lose any great thinking!)
- For which audience at a BoardSource conference could this session make the most difference?
- What do we want attendees to learn? What conditions will be conducive to their learning that?
- Why is it important that people learn this? What difference will learning this make – and for whom? (Board? ED? Organization? Community?) How can we engage attendees who don’t consider open engagement to be a priority? What are the benefits that outweigh the risks and energy required?
- What do boards and CEO’s need to have in order to benefit from greater transparency? What mindset, what relationships, under what circumstances will this be beneficial (vs. a chore)?
- What problem does Radical Transparency solve? How do attendees tend to experience the problem? What is the most intractable dilemma they find themselves in, that could be resolved if they would practice Radical Transparency / Open Engagement? What is keeping them up at night that Radical Transparency / Open Engagement could improve?
- How can the presentation encourage early adopters to put a toe in the water of more open, engaged, participatory governance?
- What format(s) could engage participants in exploring “radical transparency” and “open participatory engagement” for a 90 minute session? How might we model that open participation in the format we use?
- In what specific ways will the session Radical Transparency fit the conference theme of Bold Leadership: Taking Risks, Thinking Big?
- What will be different about this presentation, to set it apart from the rest? What will make someone say, “If I don’t attend any other session, I want to attend this one”?
- And lastly, how can we talk about this with as little jargon as possible? How can we use language that excites and speaks to the heart vs. “consultant-ese”?
- And obviously, is there a question we missed? And if so, would you both ask AND answer it?
Thank you for answering any or all of these. And whether we present or not, we will see you at the BoardSource conference in Los Angeles in November!