Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Reportback | Millennial Leadership: "Different by Design" World Cafe

Minnesota Rising’s Cascading Conversation Tour: "Our Minnesota," has revealed many different and interesting ideas about “What’s next for Our Minnesota.” In efforts to dig a little deeper into some of the emerging values and visions, Minnesota Rising hosted a World Café, entitled Different by Design, to further explore Millennial leadership and potentially classify some of the characteristics that define Millennials. Since our purpose in hosting the World Café was to discuss how Millennials are different by design, we wanted to ensure that the dialogues were varied and that the emergent themes were captured in the same way.


We were lucky enough to have four table hosts guide our World Café sessions. Each hosted three breakout session rounds throughout the evening. Participants were invited to sit at any one of the four hosted tables, which allowed for both the participants and hosts to see and hear fresh perspectives as they rotated to new tables with each discussion round. To begin conversation with a shared focus on Millennial leadership, all four tables kicked off with the question, “What’s at the intersection of Minnesota & the world’s deepest needs and the rising generation’s greatest desires & potential?” At the close of every discussion round, each group collectively generated a new question for the next group. When the following group of participants sat down, they began to tackle the question the previous group left for them with the guidance of the table host. Because of the nifty mix-up process that is an intentional part of the World Café method, no discussion is the same and each table has a unique dialogue. This allowed us to capture a wide variety of perspectives, experiences, and insights from the evening's conversations.

A great deal Millennial distinctiveness shone through in the discussions, including an overwhelming sense of adaptability and the ability to make the most of current situations whether employed on a full-time basis or not.  The eclectic values of the group were also notable: some attendees talked about the importance of community, education, and other issues, while other participants focused on the need for analysis and measurement. The evening concluded with the large group reconvening after the breakout sessions to reflect on the event in total. People overwhelmingly shared a collective appreciation for the higher-level conversation and expressed excitement to see what comes next!

For more information you can find some of the questions that surfaced during our World Café below, as well as the evening’s entire list of notes below.
What can we do to create effective communities to take action today?Who will come with us?
  • Do we have a culture of opportunity?
  • How to capture their curiosity?
  • What would an effective community look like?
What can be done to create an ethical, bottom-up approach to encourage *people as we define the path to the future*?What are the new ground rules?
  • Technology connects us to others and information isolates networks are these unintended consequences?
  • How do we move to action? How do we connect with new folks at the same time?
  • How do we BREAK OUT OF COMFORT ZONES!
  • Out from behind technologies
  • Outside of our own interest groups
  • Beyond just my social network
How do we move people past the intersection? (together)How do we be patient? How do we practice waiting?
  • Where do people want to be?
  • Collaborate with people who complement you and challenge you
  • Are you willing to create tension to make change?
  • What cost are you willing to pay for change?
  • Millennials don’t necessarily create change, but they want it therefore they ask why? When the answer is “It’s always been this way” – they ask why.
  • How can we refine how we connect to each other?
If we are different by design, how can we refine how we can connect today as Millennials?  
  • All social networks are Internet based: are we becoming more isolated? Extreme left and extreme    right?
  • What does it mean to be diverse? Sometimes it can be bad if only want commonalities
  • More people in cities now than in rural areas: brain drain? Evolution of where our community is going?
  • What matters to our kids’ and grandkids’ futures?
How do we measure our systems moving forward? What are our evaluative resources?What is success? What are our goals?
  • Change is a huge buzzword. Not everything has to be changed. Pick wisely and prioritize. Not changing something is also an option.


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