Monday, August 31, 2009

Idea Camping

Here's a short recap of The Idea Camp DC that me and some friends [Ember Cast friend LB; JTimmons, one of Ember's 09.10 interns; and one of Grace's Africa partnership facilitators] went to over the weekend. The best way to describe it is a group of highly innovative, creative, dedicated friends that got together to collaborate to move the Kingdom forward. The keywords are "highly innovative" and "collaborate" but the scale of those keywords is uncommon. If you and I innovate at 10 [and I'm not saying I do], the people in this room were at 700. Most of them were serial social entrepreneurs, meaning they've started *multiple* nonprofit organizations.

It was definitely a very organic unconference, there was a lot of focus on conversations, interviews and open source, meaning 'you can have what I did' and 'I will help you however I can.' All the sessions - breakouts and main - had the focus on discussion and interaction. The main sessions were always in interview format. I also appreciated seeing lots of online friends that I have never met in real life. Yes, weird. And yes, very very cool.

Here are some rough notes, links, etc that you might be interested in reading up on:
+ Charles Lee and Jeff Shinabarger - Idea to Implementation
You must nurture unrelated ideas. Idea Camp was birthed by unrelated relationships - majority of on twitter - relational equity, technology, social media. Ideas come at an incredible sacrifice. Try to invest 1 hour a day in your idea. Jeff recommends The War of Art [see my notes] and reading up on Scott Belsky. Originating an idea may limit the person who originated it. First Idea Camp was $4000 for 500 attenders. Jeff started Gift Card Giver, among other things.

+ Shannon Moriarty and Mark Horvath
the key to homelessness is the combination of "housing PLUS jobs." That should be our mantra. Latest HUD report: there is no county in us where someone earning min wage can afford median housing. Charles' idea that he is giving away - someone should invent a mobile app to aggregate social services based on a specific location.

+ Transforming New Churches
Todd Wilson
Church purchased an ice cream truck. Never better opportunity for nonprofits to partner with government. Never greater stigma of "church". Concept of planting a church and vital investment of relationships. Starting a 501c3 - community based organization [CBO] - at the same time as planting allows opening of those relationships.

+ Greg Russinger
He and Charles created Laundry Love. The economy of enough - using trashcans to give people just enough. Listening is a huge part of creativity.The beauty of lament has been lost. My question for most organizations - will you return? If you are in it, you are in it for life. [from the good samaritan - "when I return"]

+ I caught up with Jason Dukes whom I told you about many years ago. Check out Restoration Concept a for-profit venture associated with Jason's church.

+ Probably my favorite story from the event was this story from Charity:Water. [didn't want to embed the video.] The quote that gives me chills - "We will not stop until every single person on the planet has clean and safe water to drink." Yup, they are in it for life.

+ The twitter hash tag was #icdc.
I'm convinced that the next generation of leaders are going to resemble the people at Idea Camp. They are going to be innovators. They are going to be highly adaptable. They will let their ideas go, they will openly share their resources, processes, best practices. They will start something because no one else will. They will fail fast, collaborate deeply and encourage many. They will do it because the world waits and can only wait for so long.


  1. "I'm convinced that the next generation of leaders are going to resemble the people at Idea Camp..." YES! This last paragraph gives me chills.

  2. happy new year jenelle! yeah seriously - if we could bottle the energy and ideation from that tribe, huh?