Getting Excited to Collaborate at Summer Member Open House

With the promise of DC's best ice cream (obviously Ice Cream Jubilee) and lots of fun, useful activities to build collaboration, the first OpenGov Hub Member Open House last week was a rousing success. Though we have nearly 40 organizations share a physical workspace, it's still easy for all of us to fall into day-to-day routines where we primarily focus only on our immediate organizations and work. So the main purposes of this special, members-only event was to help members quickly and easily learn about each other's work and identify possible areas to work together.

To fulfill this goal, the Hub team organized a wide variety of activities, and we were so pleased to see active participation from about 60 attendees, representing the majority of our member organizations. The event showcased the many faces, ideas, and incredible work that comprise our community. 

The afternoon kicked off with short introductory presentations from Nada Zohdy (Hub Manager) about why we organized an open house, from Jean-Louis Sarbib (CEO of Hub co-founder Development Gateway) about the pathbreaking history of the OpenGov Hub, and from Abhihav Bahl (of the Open Government Partnership) about the many ways Hub organizations have already collaborated by using the OGP as a platform. Next, Hub Fellow Kristi Arbogast presented the OpenGov Hub's first-ever Network Map, which she created to help visualize the relationships across organizations by highlighting keywords describing their work. 

Then three amazing Hubbers - Kelly Church (Social Impact Lab), Paige Kirby (Development Gateway), and Sarah Moulton (International Foundation for Electoral Systems) each presented Ignite-style talks, describing a particular project they have worked on in just 5 minutes using 20 slides that auto advance every 15 seconds (not an easy feat!). The Ignite Talks were a huge hit and you can watch them here, here, and here.

After that, our friends at Feedback Labs led attendees in a mini brainstorm session around the Hub's new four strategic themes, by piloting the Labs' new methodology of sprint relays. In essence, this methodology helps diverse groups come together around specific problems to produce concrete deliverables in a short time (15 minutes in our case!), rather than getting stuck in a never-ending series of conversations. The four brainstorm groups gelled together quickly, and each presented exciting next steps for how they will work together to tackle the four identified pressing issues in our field. 

Finally, a little friendly competition is never a bad thing to build up community, and the Hubbers' competitive spirits came out in full force during our very own Who's That Hubber? Quiz Show Game, with special host Alan Hudson (ED of Global Integrity). Two teams competed in their knowledge of Hub organizations and individuals in a Jeopardy-style game show with 20 questions across categories like Money and Celebrities. (Did you know, for example, that Hub member Accountability Lab publishes all their financial information in real time, or that we've had two former Prime Ministers visit the Hub in 2016?)

During this jam-packed afternoon of games, ice cream, and brainstorming, we didn't have time for a few more planned activitieslike a speed networking game using the new one pager overviews of all Hub organizations. But we are so excited about all the enthusiasm and momentum that was on full display. Our community is made up of exceptional people and organizations doing so much great work. We can't wait to take things to the next level and further tap all the collaborative potential here to have greater collective impact around the world, together, with our members and friends.  

Nada Zohdy is Manager of the OpenGov Hub.