When 600 rebels get together in Camden, Maine to discuss the role and value of rebellion in our increasingly networked world, themes quickly emerge: leadership, listening and movement making.
At PopTech 2014 the message was resounding.
The world needs networks in fact, it requires them.
Presenters ranging from MIT Media Lab director Joi Ito to Paola Antonelli, curator at MoMA, shared unique perspectives on the states of community, collaboration, rebellion and design. Each presentation had messages of resonance and while these are not direct quotes, I scribbled as fast as possible in my notebook, I hope to have captured the spirit of their message.
Movements require organization and structure
As Alec Ross, former Senior Advisor for Innovation to the Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, offered, “Leadership and institutions are necessary. Once you overthrow the government you must govern.” To paraphrase, Alec highlighted that movements require leaders and institutions that provide organization, structure and trust.
Rebels know their best role
Overall, the most rebellious speakers at the session were those who saw a need, understood their role, and then used those insights to catalyze a movement. Paola Antonelli of MoMA curating Design and Violence; Parker Palmer as a storyteller sharing his learning about peace and social change; Leetha Filderman, the innovator, who held a vision for the conference overall.
Listen to the critics
Parker Palmer, the founder and senior partner of the Center for Courage and Renewal, participated in our unplugged session on movement making and the next day on stage during his conversation with NPR’s Krista Tippett he offered the following insight. “A movement is characterized by a discerning community. A movement community invites its critics into the tent. If you don’t stay open to the critics, in a very vulnerable way, you become fascist… you have to listen to the critics. They’re the one who can see what you can’t see.”
Many great ideas came home with us, especially from our unplugged session on movement making. While the day sessions were focused on ideas and frameworks, our evening session got down to business with what makes a great movement by designing for one of Food and Wine magazine’s 40 Big Food Thinkers, Annemarie Ahearn. That evening we all attached to a shared goal, learned our best role for contribution and discussed rewards that would ensure ongoing participation in the movement.
Every rebellious leader needs followers; so making a movement is key to lasting change.