designing and curating experiences
The summer of 2016 I attended a daylong summit, by an organisation that focuses on making youth voices heard. The purpose of the summit was to bring together passionate youth, driven change-makers, thought leaders and policy makers under one roof, to inspire change. It was a well-organised day with inspirational speakers. Attendees sat around an amphitheatre stage, while accomplished and recognised individuals from a variety of fields came up and gave their 15 minute long speeches, back to back.
Though I left inspired that day, it got me questioning how much real, actionable and measurable change would emerge from that day. I felt an urgent need to find a way in which inspirational speeches and conversations could translate into action.
Thought turns to action when the inspiration sprouts within. The drive is far less when it is merely embodied by another. And it is most effective when a community of inspired individuals with distinct interests, resources and skills comes together. This amalgamation is what holds unlimited potential.
The format of the Desi Gyaan Series meet-ups emerged from a conversation I had with a friend about something similar she did a couple of times, informally, with her friends in Toronto.
We adopted a 2-segment format:
#1 The participant of each meet-up would write the name of one video-talk/documentary or short film that impacted them (not longer than 20 minutes) on a chit, and bring it along! The theme - INSPIRATION!
Of the contributed chits, one was picked at random to live-stream. This was followed by a facilitated discussion about the video/short film.
#2 For the other segment, we would invite an individual/ group or organisation generating change in their local or global contexts, as a live example of impact. The intimate nature of the meet-ups would allow ample space for participants to engage with these change-makers during and post the meet-up. This segment would be curated by us and was either highly interactive or performance based.
A key component of change is collaboration. Some people have ideas, some have skills, some have resources and some have the relentless passion. But there are very few people who possess it all. Therefore, we created a space where caring hands and minds could collaborate and bridge the gap between thinking, talking and doing.
Facilitation is necessary for collaboration to occur and for it to translate into action. With each session the quality and focus of the discussion improved, by prototyping different techniques and facilitators.
The long-term vision was to be a forum that supports initiatives and organisations associated with it by building an active and invested community. And we created one, of 150+ people, in less than 6 months who have gone on to collaborate and grow together.
I hope to revive Desi Gyaan wherever I go next, building a local and engaged community that will collectively strive for the future.