Home. A week at HandsOn Network‘s Innovation Summit in Palmetto, GA was an incredible gift. And today, I’m happy to be sitting on my couch, alone with my own thoughts and a cup of black coffee. Not a buttered biscuit or other trace of Southern breakfast in sight.
I went to the Summit to learn, and to more clearly define the next steps for Seattle Works. Going in, the idea of being there with nine other cities was a cool bonus, but not the point. Like our peers, Seattle Works received the Innovation Hub designation based on the great work we’re doing locally – for our own leadership and our own programs. We got invited to this Summit to start thinking about what OUR next innovation would be. I was probably not alone in this mindset going in.
Funny thing is, when you give a bunch of smart, caring, community-building types an entire week to think together, they start seeing a lot further than their own backyards. With each passing day, it became less about what each of us would create, and more about what each of us could learn from one another, what we could co-create and what we might leverage across cities.
What’s next? In terms of the specifics, I still don’t know. It will involve building a stronger network of Seattle Works volunteer leaders. It will involve a deeper of understanding of community issues and how to affect those issues in multiple ways – with volunteer time, with advocacy, with money. It will be developed in partnership with and in response to the Seattle Works community, not handed down on high from me or anyone else on staff. I also knew those things going in.
What I did not know, is that it may be something that Seattle and one or two other cities co-create and try out at the same time. It may involve a combo of new things built from scratch here, and importing things that are working elsewhere but not yet happening in Seattle.
I’m home from the Summit with three important things: 1) an even stronger conviction that Seattle Works’ strategic direction is the right one 2) a bigger set of tools and resources to keep us moving in that right direction and 3) a deeper sense of appreciation and admiration for our partners in this effort.
Long story short – we’re better together.