Road to Hyderabad: #14 On the Calm before the Storm
As the people who receive an ever increasing number of emails from me at 6am can attest to, our time on the Road to Hyderabad is rapidly winding down.
We are just 9 weeks and change from our February 11-13 event in Hyderabad, 9 weeks away from hosting 100 Ashoka-Lemelson Fellows along with business, academic, and policy leaders on the Indian School of Business campus. In the words of some action movie hero somewhere, “it’s go-time, baby.”
All of the lessons we’ve learned from our lead up meetings in Nairobi, Sao Paolo, Singapore and Chennai are part of our agenda. The details are coming to the front and center and soon it will be time to start calling everyone up to make sure they’ve gotten their plane tickets and visa letters. Soon we’ll be talking strategy about room assignments and by the end of January I’ll be blogging from a little flat (ground zero) in Hyderabad, spending nights lying away thinking about airport pick ups, av cables, and where I’ll be able to get the 20 pounds of modeling clay we need for our interactive ice-breaker.
You might think that at this point, all of our big thinking would be finished. We’d have no conversations left about the point of our efforts, the outcomes we are hoping for. You’d be wrong. You see, the deeper we get into planning this giant event, the more we find ourselves refining our goals, redefining success and rethinking the value of bringing so many great thinkers and doers all together in one place.
In a few weeks, there won’t be time to talk about why a policy leader or media maven or Ashoka-Lemelson Fellow should attend and what insights, partnerships, or skills they should walk away with. Truthfully there is hardly time now, but we keep on pushing ourselves to make Tech4Society a deeper, richer, and more deeply motivating experience for every participant.
If we stopped, we would still have a really nice 3 day gathering of great minds sitting on panels and in round-table discussions. But frankly, given the generous support we’ve received from The Lemelson Foundation, the Fellows, and all of the Ashoka and The Lemelson Foundation staff, that’s just not good enough.
We have Ashoka-Lemelson Fellows from 29 countries, working in every field from agricultural to education to clean water to housing coming to this event. We have young inventor-entrepreneurs from the Ashoka Youth-Venture program coming from India, Argentina, Canada, and the US. They’ll be flying half-way around the world to share their inventions with some of the world’s leading social and inventor-entreprenurs and some of them aren’t old enough to get a driver’s license yet. We will have leading thinkers and doers from business, academia and government present to share their experiences and theories of social change. This event is about some of the most amazing people in the world coming together to not just speak on panels or chair discussions, but to teach, learn and to collaborate with other amazing people across philosophical, sector, and cultural barriers.
9 weeks out is a great time to start honing in on the details, but it’s also a good time to re-evaluate and refine your goals and your approach. It’s the calm before the storm, and it’s the perfect time to keep pushing your event strategy, content, and value proposition to make sure that every guest’s experience is unbelievably worth the plane trip.