When you assemble 2,500 (is that all of us?) or so of the world’s leading corporate sustainability and brand innovation folks for a week, one expects the unexpected. Sustainable Brands 2014 in San Diego last week lived up to (un)expectations.
Prior to the conference, our colleagues at HP got in touch with GlobeScan’s James Morris and Eric Whan with an exciting idea in hand. The plan was to teleport a seven-by-seven metre glass house into the centre of the main exhibition, dining and drinking area (aka The Activation Hub on Paradise Island) to serve as an informal warming hut for the HP team to engage with conference participants. And from this base camp, invite a diverse group of opinion leaders from a range of organizations to hold discussions around Living Progress, HP’s new framework for thinking about how it does business.
Over the course of three days, smart folks from the likes of Timberland, REI, Lonesome George, Kiva, PWC, SAP, UPS, Edelman, Conservation International and of course HP explored how HP’s Living Progress framework (Human, Economic and Environmental Progress) might find ways to cultivate counter-intuitive collaborations that can scale to broader systems change. Funneling 2,500 people with 25,000 great ideas into a series of conversations among six focused individuals is one way to land on a point or two.
And this is just the start of the conversation. In the lead-up to the online Living Progress Exchange that GlobeScan will globally host with HP on September 9th, the glass house at Sustainable Brands was a welcome opportunity to start an ongoing discussion that helps shifts the broader discourse from or to and, me to we and mine to ours. As KoAnn Skrzyniarz of SB so aptly closed the 8th edition of the event she created with a welcome rather than saying goodbye, we say standby.
Check out takepart’s video distillations of the conversations here. And if you have a voracious appetite for the comprehensive and detailed, check out the full version of HP’s just-released 2013 Living Progress Report.