The World-Changing Way We Meet Now

“Can meetings save the world?” we asked in our January cover story.

Our focus was on what we termed  “big-tent, big-idea” meetings — from the Clinton Global Initiative to PopTech — which bring together the world’s leading thinkers and activists to train their attention on the world’s biggest problems.

Central to the story was the question:  Can the the way we meet change how meetings change the world?

“Movements can be spawned around the social interactions generated at conferences,” one meeting designer told us. So, what happens when technology — in the form of video, livestreaming, and social media —  greatly accelerates the number of those social interactions?

One example to watch is Tina Brown’s Women in the World Summit, in New York City today and tomorrow. Brown’s conference is taking on truly thorny problems, like sex trafficking in the United States, war’s effect on women, and empowering women in democracies.   The conference is being livestreamed today and tomorrow — wherever you happen to be, you are invited to listen in and take part in the conversation.

Central to the story is the idea that these meetings are about real change, not just talking about change.  Last year’s inaugural Women in the World summit resulted in donations to schools in Kenya and the establishment of a peace foundation in Liberia, and Brown is ramping up the active funding of solutions at this year’s conference.

What are your thoughts:  Can meetings save the world?

Barbara Palmer

Barbara Palmer is senior editor and director of digital content.