Innovation Challenge Workshop

The Innovation Challenge Workshop was held on May 18-19, 2015, at the First Unitarian Church of Oakland. Our impressive group of participants spent two days investigating the core challenge and practicing iterative innovation.

Day 1: Monday, May 18

We began our learning journey by sharing about our families, and lifting up the connection to Forward Together’s core work with Strong Families. This work is for families, and at the core, it’s about love. We then experienced a taste of how Forward Together does this vital work through Forward Stance, its movement-for-movement-building practice. Forward Stance helps the organization of individuals align and act strategically with minimal collateral damage.

We rounded the morning with a storytelling world cafe in which we explored why this question matters, what would be different if we succeeded, and the foundation we’re building upon.

After lunch, we kicked off the innovation design competition. Drawing on what we learned in the morning, participants ideated and scoped out possible experiments. Each team presented its ideas in an MVP “Science Fair”, and participants cast their votes with stickers.

Day 2: Tuesday, May 19

We reflected on the learnings of Day 1, lifting up the key theme that Forward Together is strong and we are here to strategize how to capitalize on its strengths in a time of opportunity. We then broke out into groups to advance our favorite ideas from the first day into actionable, learning-focused tests.

After lunch, Eveline led the group in a Forward Stance exercise about alignment and rhythm. We moved into a discussion about Muscles & Mindsets and closed out the workshop with working agreements and the roadmap for the coming months.

Who Was There

Dimple Abichandani, Boalt
Yee Won Chong, Say This Not That
B. Cole, Brown Boi Project
Christie George, New Media Ventures
Brandon Hill, Ci3
Robin Katcher, MAG
Steve Ma, Accelerate Change
Zach Norris, Ella Baker Center
Carmen Rojas, The Worker Lab
Palak Shah, National Domestic Workers Alliance
Morgan Simon, Transform Finance

Eveline Shen, Forward Together
Moira Bowman, Forward Together
Leslie Griep, Forward Together
Jonathan Wong, Forward Together

Sarah Abelow, The Overbrook Foundation
Rini Banerjee, Foundation for a Just Society
Holly Bartling, General Service Foundation
Steven Cole-Schwartz, The Partnership Fund
Renee Fazzari, General Service Foundation
Ellen Friedman, Compton Foundation

Eugene Eric Kim, Faster Than 20
Rebecca Petzel
Amy Wu, Duende
Alison Lin


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