Thursday, September 07, 2006

Root 'n' Fruit | An Un-Conference

In our June newsletter, we included an invitation to our third Root 'n' Fruit Un-Conference. Root 'n' Fruit happens at the end of September and we were fully subscribed by mid-August. Great appreciation to everyone committed to attending.

This past weekend our volunteers gathered for their orientation session - yes on the long weekend - and their energy has really given the Root 'n' Fruit team an immense energy boost. Our Volunteers Rule. Someone make some t-shirts!

What's Root 'n' Fruit? Eh ... an "Un-Conference", you say?

Well the "un-conference" part is easy. It's a term that refers to the structure, or lack, of the meeting that relies heavily on participation and dialogue.

"Root 'n' Fruit" ... ummm ... our way of splitting the room into more specific spheres of interest. Within the social enterprise community some are focused on outcomes - the Fruits - and others are focused on the process - the Roots.

"But what is it all about?", I hear you ask.

The un-conference starts with some opening remarks that address the framing question - included in the invitation.

The room is divided into Roots/Fruits (colour coded name tags). Each group retires to different areas, introduce themselves and start listing core questions - the questions are sometimes prompted by the reading materials (did I mention the readings are customised to either Root or Fruit cohort?), more likely posted questions are guided by personal experience.

The group, say "the Roots", then collectively rank the questions and decide whether the question is really a "root-type" question, or whether it should be migrated to the other group.

The two groups reconvene, there's a little reporting, some sharing of questions, and then the two groups are separated, again, to discuss in subgroups the prioritised questions. At this point, the group can also add the questions "migrated" from the other group to their deliberations.

Most importantly, we come together, share, argue, and share some more, etc ...

Make sense?

In short, Root 'n' Fruit is a lot of talk, a lot of connecting the dots, and building community.

And we'd be lost without the great work of our volunteers who keep everyone on track, hydrated, and annotated.

In case you're not on the newsletter distribution list, here are two items that have been added to the Root 'n' Fruit reading materials:
  • What Business Execs Don’t Know -- but Should -- About Nonprofits
  • Business leaders play vital roles in the nonprofit sector -- as board members, donors, partners, and even executives. Yet all too often they underestimate the unique challenges of managing nonprofit organizations. In this article, 11 executives who have played leadership roles in both for-profits and nonprofits reveal the critical differences between the two, and suggest ways that business and nonprofit leaders can use this information to create a more effective social sector.

  • The Jambi Kiwa Story
  • Created by an association of largely indigenous women, Jambi Kiwa is a cooperative business that was set up to grow, process and market medicinal and aromatic plants.

    If you'd like an invitation to a future Root 'n' Fruit un-conference, send a message to this link with **ROOT'N'FRUIT** in the subject field. Let us know what you're working on and we'll keep you in the loop.

    BTW - you're always welcome to subscribe to the VSEF newsletter. To subscribe, send an e-mail with **SUBSCRIBE** in the subject field.
    --------------------- Tags for information about: for:vsef, Social Economy, Social Enterprise


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