The Opportunity Collaboration, lead up by Topher and Jorian Wilkins and their amazing team bills themselves as an “unconference”. The conversations and collaborations that usually take place in the halls between sessions at most conferences become the focal point of the conference. The focus is to tear down traditional barriers created by facilitating conversations over meals, and around new capabilities. Like last year, I was facilitating a few sessions and excited that unlike last year I was staying to surf for a few days after the event.
Part of the secret sauce of the OC, is it’s resort high. Listening the waves crash while enjoying fabulous prepped meals does a lot to open people up. Another important factor, is the Colloquium groups. My group was lead up by Courtney Martin an author, speaker and social media strategist focused on women’s empowerment and innovation. Courtney facilitated a group discussion, but the value of the Colloquium comes from your peers. A focus on leadership, and perspective really do make this an unusual experience and a chance to recharge for those of us living a high-paced executive life.
Another distinguishing factor is the format of each of the sessions. My favorite experience of the conference was hearing Rupert Scoefield, CEO of FINCA, discuss the process of becoming an author and writing his book “The Social Entrepreneur’s Handbook“. Rupert is an idol, mentor, and one of the best story tellers I have ever met. I learned a ton from his session and shared a cerveza clara with him by the pool. This guy built a $100 million+ microfinance empire, and he’s taking an hour out of his time to have a beer with me (reading his book was a good way to get his attention, and well worth it btw).
I also lead up two sessions. A repeat of last years crowdsourcing clinic (see the difference of 1% post) and a social media strategy session with Kip Solutions founder and CEO Patrick Ip. I met Patrick at last year’s OC, and have been working with Kip Solutions as an advisor of the last year and half.