We Collaborated to Solve the Solvable – Now What?

Reflections on the Global Engagement Forum: Live

In 2015, the United Nations challenged the world. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) represent the most ambitious global goals in human history, tackling the toughest challenges of our time. No lone actor can solve them and PYXERA Global responded to the challenge with the Global Engagement Forum: Live. Held April 4-5 in Washington, DC, the Forum gathered 250 movers and shakers from organizations around the world to solve the solvable.

This wasn’t a normal conference. Participants went through an unfamiliar and at-times frustrating process of co-creation. Supported by the CollaborateUp Formula and a team of CollaborateUp Certified Facilitators, PYXERA Global inspired participants to look not to the world outside for answers, but rather to the people around them, who brought the skills and resources of the public, private, and social sectors.

Participants rolled up their sleeves and waded into the challenges of post-harvest loss, the youth employment skills gap, and the non-communicable diseases of cervical cancer, hypertension, and Type 2 diabetes. The technical answers to these problems exist. They’re just trapped, out of the reach of the people who need them most. On the first day, participants learned about the barriers facing global solutions to these problems and honed in on specific problem statements to focus on in small groups. On Day Two, they worked with a simplified Collaboration Canvas to co-create solutions and then pitch these solutions to experts and their fellow participants.

Participants rolled up their sleeves and waded into the challenges of post-harvest loss, the youth employment skills gap, and the non-communicable diseases of cervical cancer, hypertension, and Type 2 diabetes. The technical answers to these problems exist. They’re just trapped, out of the reach of the people who need them most.

At the end of only two days, the Global Engagement Forum had transformed participants into excited problem solvers, armed with new ideas and new approaches to bring back to their home organizations. Participants were challenged during the two days, but by trusting in the process, they turned frustration into actionable ideas. We saw creative plans for awareness raising and advocacy around post-harvest loss, new phone applications to improve healthcare, innovative ideas to train and empower youth entrepreneurs, and many more.

But what happens now? As participants return to their day jobs, how can these solutions generated with so much enthusiasm turn into action? Most people cannot commit their entire organization to a cause at the drop of a hat, but participants at the Global Engagement Forum: Live were asked to make commitments to commit. They committed to go back to their organizations and share their solution, connect with the people they think can turn their plan into reality, and maintain the networks they developed at the Forum. As participants go through this process, their solutions will inevitably evolve and become more concrete. This is how ideas catch on, how one believer becomes many, and eventually how an idea becomes an action.

Were you one of the co-creators?

If you attended the PYXERA Global Engagement Forum: Live, here are five explicit actions you can take to help bring your idea to life:

  1. Convert your Collaboration Canvas into a short email that you can send to others – including your boss – explaining the idea and why they should get behind it. Need help? Send a draft to [email protected] and we’ll help you edit it into something really compelling.
  2. Expand the circle of collaboration. Go back to your original Collaboration Canvas. Look at the “Key Partners” and “Outreach/Engagement Strategies” blocks. Who do you know at the organizations you identified? Send them a version of the email you just wrote.
  3. Submit your idea to share at events. PYXERA Global is teaming up with conveners like the Shared Value Leadership Summit and Global Youth Economic Opportunities Summit, and hosting a series of virtual events to feature ideas and collaborations that take shape after the Forum. Share your ideas with PYXERA Global at [email protected]
  4. Build out your idea using our collaboration tools. We’ve got an online toolkit you can download.
  5. Host a post-Forum virtual working group: Regather your working group members on a quick conference call or webinar and plan your next steps.

Not one of the co-creators?

Even if you didn’t attend the Global Engagement Forum: Live, you can still help bring one or more of the ideas to life. Here are three ideas:

  1. Read the inset descriptions of several of the ideas pitched on the main stage. See one you could help bring to life? Let us know at [email protected] and we’ll connect you!
  2. Attend one of our partner events. PYXERA Global is teaming up with conveners like the Shared Value Leadership Summit and Global Youth Economic Opportunities Summit, and hosting a series of virtual events.  Join these events to join the conversation.
  3. Send us your own Collaboration Canvas. If you’ve got an idea for solving one of the solvable problems listed above, try completing your own Collaboration Canvas and send it to us for review and feedback.
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