The storytellers, even luminaries, don’t disappear immediately after leaving the stage. They stay and chat with participants. They listen to the other storytellers and engage in real conversations. – Andrea Meyer
“We want our Collaborative Innovation Summit filled from stage to seats with people sharing transformation ideas and stories,” says BIF Creative Catalyst Saul Kaplan.
After all, it was out of the Summit that the hashtag #RCUS was coined — Random Collisions of Unusual Suspects. And from now until the Summit takes place in September, we’ll run a series of short interviews with former Summit attendees who’ll tell us in their own words why the BIF Summit is a must-go event and how #RCUS has changed their lives. Next up, long-time friend-of-BIF Andrea Meyer, who is president and founder of Working Knowledge, a well-known innovation tweeter at @AndreaMeyer, and co-author of Present Yourself: Using SlideShare to Grow Your Business.
Here’s her answer to the question: Why go to the BIF summit?
What I like most about BIF Summits are the interactions. At other conferences, luminaries such as BIF storytellers Dan Pink, Clay Christensen, and John Hagel appear only on stage. But at the BIF Summit, the storytellers, even luminaries, don’t disappear immediately after leaving the stage. They stay and chat with participants. They listen to the other storytellers and engage in real conversations.
I also like the format of BIF, in which storytellers, not speakers, tell stories, not canned speeches. BIF’s founder, Saul Kaplan, encourages storytellers to tell personal stories, and he himself models the thoughtful authenticity that characterizes all of BIF. He shares his insights, passions, frustrations, hopes — not just bullet points — and so do the storytellers. If there’s a phrase that encapsulates the BIF community, I’d say it’s “smart with heart.”
Many innovators face stiff organizational resistance when they try to offer a new way of doing things. It’s a lonely battle trying to lead change and get others on board. At the BIF Summit, however, innovators find like-minded others. Everyone “gets it” and people support each other. Such encouragement is tremendously uplifting, and it extends after the Summit ends because people remain friends, stay in touch, and indeed often return to BIF to see each other year after year. The fact that storytellers themselves also return to BIF proves that they, too, value the atmosphere.
I attended my first BIF on the recommendation of a friend, and I have returned four times now. Most of the time, I go to experience the serendipity of the “random collisions.” One time, however, I went with a specific purpose: To speak with some of the storytellers and attendees to get their input on a book I was coauthoring, called Present Yourself. At BIF8, storytellers Alex Osterwalder, David Macaulay, and Felice Frankl all offered insights and quotes on visual thinking for my book, and attendee Dean Meyers became one of the case studies we used.
Whether you go with a purpose or go for the RCUS, I encourage you to go!