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  • Purnima Thakre

Disruptive Collaboration: A Very Merry Unconference To You

CASE STUDY: OPPORTUNITY COLLABORATION The purpose of the Opportunity Collaboration, which organizes business retreats for nonprofit leaders around the world, is uniquely social: to gather together nonprofit leaders in person for four days of active, ego-less discussion in the hope that an ensemble of doers can spark the cross-fertilization of powerful ideas that results in real change in the fight against poverty. And yet, while they maintain a thoughtful social media presence during 51 weeks of the year, the organization has deliberately excluded social media from its retreat experience.

The result on behalf of the leadership of Opportunity Collaboration is surprising: they are smart, outgoing, and have worked with hundreds of leaders in the field to make their business retreat truly worthwhile. They, like the participants of their un-conference*, as they call it, know that social media is necessary to mobilize people remotely or otherwise beyond daily immediate impact. They have harnessed its power, and have an active presence on Facebook and Twitter. Why then, are people who are clearly so thoughtfully engaged on social media and deeply collaborative by nature, making the choice to actively eschew social media from their time together during the week of the un-conference?

First, it’s useful to know that the Opportunity Collaboration is not your traditional gathering of like-minded individuals from a similar sector. A business retreat for thought leaders fighting poverty, it is financed solely by Delegate registrations. The entire purpose of the program is driven by the Delegates, and thus responds to them—a narrowed focus that is both empowering and limited.

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