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Why the Cincinnati CoreChange Summit is so Important

Connecting, community, and co-creation will be hallmarks of this remarkable effort

It’s not so much what a community has as what it does with what it has that determines its socio-economic health.

This is one of the reasons the approaching CoreChange Summit in Cincinnati is worth attention and appreciation. The summit puts into action some principles and practices that could pave the way for learning and thriving in other cities.

Cites remain a potent, and likely underutilized, unit of organization for providing people the economic freedom to exercise their strengths, fulfill their gifts, and execute their rights and responsibilities.

As globalization has increasingly taken hold, many cities have struggled to maintain connectivity between citizens, the ability to create a sense of place, and to thrive and prosper. As money moves around the world, footloose and fancy free, while global trade pursues infinite growth, many cities have diminished in their ability to shape local social, cultural and economic development.

When those participating in the CoreChange Summit convene they will be connecting deeply with each other and then focussing on this task: Igniting strengths to invent the new American city. This task, shaped by community members, holds promise for demonstrating how cities can enliven their stature as makers of culture and freedom while contending with the effects of a global economy.

While other cities have accomplished similar ends by various means, it is worth noting how things have been gone about in Cincinnati.

First, there are small groups meeting in a variety of neighbourhoods working from the perspective of assets, gifts and possibilities. These groups cultivate the conditions for people to act on their own visions and gifts. This builds in foundational capability and connection. The voices, intentions, and commitments of these groups will be present and heard at the upcoming summit.

Second, there is a speaker series underway leading up to the summit to provide context, information and meaning in support of summit discussions and decisions. People will have had the opportunity to be informed in ways they may not have been otherwise and to experience other perspectives. Some pre-summit engagements provided participants with some experience of Appreciative Inquiry. They will be better able to navigate the organic and democratic nature of summit discussions.

Third, the task for the summit was designed by the community. The summit will not attend to a task designed by a segregated group of people with institutional power. The task was arrived at and designed by people from many walks of life and a rich variety of life experiences.

Fourth, the summit will transcend top-down consultation. Participants will co-create plans for the future and commit to their own part in enacting those plans in freedom and personal choice. The summit will be so much more than a consultation session in which institutional leaders simply hear feedback from those under their influence and then take unilateral action. Instead, participants will see each other eye to eye and decide together what they will do together. This key principle holds great promise for igniting strengths and catalyzing creative action. There will be little need for a buy-in period as the plans themselves will have been co-created. Natural activity will likely emerge right away.

Provided a post-summit infrastructure is founded to support whatever comes of the gathering, the work of these Cincinnati-area citizens may very well spark lessons and hope for those who wish to discover and fulfill their own city’s gifts and freedom.

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