Being based in McLaren Vale with most of my clients in Adelaide CBD or metropolitan Adelaide, I spend a lot of time commuting. On a recent drive in to the City for the Engage 2 Act core collective meeting my mind started to wander. I wanted to share with you "an hour in the life of my mind" as a way to explain a little something we're planning...
As I set off along the undulating roads towards Kangarilla and Clarendon, I was pondering on ideas of future Engage 2 Act events and contemplating the amount of incredible insight, experience and passion within the core collective itself. We're a fairly modest bunch (ok, some might disagree!) and are keen to learn ourselves which means we often look outside of our 'circle' for inspiration. It dawned on me that it would be great to provide an opportunity for each of us to share exciting things that have happened this year for us in our own worlds of engagement practice. From what I can see, this has been a HUGE year for engagement practice in South Australia.
As I approached Blackwood and waited for the freight train to pass through, my mind flitted to Christmas. Yikes, we've got overseas visitors arriving next month. How big does the turkey need to be? Did I pay that deposit on the new years eve accommodation? Did I remember to give the dogs their worming tablets last night?
As I drove on through Blackwood and Belair my thoughts came back to Engage 2 Act. Perhaps I could suggest an end-of-year event to reflect on the great stuff that has been happening. Maybe it could be a bit of an Engage 2 Act Christmas celebration. Maybe it could be a showcase. Perhaps we could open up invites to our broader networks to ask people to share their learnings from projects that happened during the year gone by.
I got more and more excited. By this time I had stunning panoramic views over Adelaide from the hills. The sun was shining. It's dangerous when I'm in this much of a good mood.
As I started my descent down towards Mitcham, my mind moved on to where we could host such a showcase. Since starting up Engage 2 Act we've kept costs as low as possible to enable the broadest possible participation. We're not-for-profit. The cost of attending our events is ploughed in to funding it - literally covering the cost of venue hire or catering. So where could we host it that would lend itself to such a showcase but keep costs really really low?
Jeez, this is a long drive. Why do I live in McLaren Vale? Oh, because it's such a beautiful part of the world. And there's wine. So much wine. Even though the drive can feel long at times, it really is quite easily accessible from Adelaide.
Oh! Why don't we host the showcase in McLaren Vale? That would be so cool. We could host it at a winery. People would love that. Especially for the end of year event. But how would people get there? We could arrange car sharing! That'd be cool. Conversations would happen before people even arrive! Awesome!
But where in McLaren Vale? Could we host such an event?
As I drive along Unley Road my mind flits back to Christmas. How many have we got coming for Christmas lunch? Good job we've got a bit of space in our house for all these visitors. I do love hosting.
Waiting at the Greenhill Road intersection. Oh. My. Goodness. Why don't I host the showcase at my house? We've had parties there in the past and being fairly open plan our place lends itself to little gatherings. I've never done a 'corporate' event before... but when has Engage 2 Act ever been corporate?
As I approach the City and pull in to the UPark, I realise that this idea makes more and more sense. Hosting a showcase at my house could be good in so many ways. For a start, I've spend the last 4 years commuting to everyone. It's time they all came to me! Setting up would be a breeze as I'm right on location. There's a few areas we cost host 'concurrent workshops' - the lounge, the dining table, the playroom, the veggie patch, the deck. Hell, we've even been one of the lucky ones to get the NBN installed... free wifi! AND we could go to a winery for the 'after party' (besides, wine is what people really want).
But more importantly, I think the idea highlights my passions within the Engage 2 Act core collective. This is all about getting in touch with our inner-citizen, breaking free from the norm, putting on a pair of jeans and have a good old yarn amongst the veggie patch. I'm not just an engagement practitioner, I'm a real person. This is real life. This is going to be awesome.
I arrive at Earth's Kitchen. A small group of us gather around a table drinking our smoothies... I put forward my ideas... Jaws drop...
A Kitchen Table Conference is born.
WATCH THIS SPACE!