What is the 3i Summit?
In May 2012, for the first time in Ottawa, 200 leaders and change agents from many different sectors came together at to collaborate and take action toward realizing Ottawa’s unique potential to be a truly environmentally sustainable city. The summit program was outcome-oriented and stimulating with inspiration from catalyst leaders, working sessions on initiatives, interactive animation, networking and a cultural celebration of the community’s accomplishments. 30 initiatives were brought forward to take action and build community projects, infrastructure capacity and ongoing forums for collaboration. Participants learned, met new people, had fun and advanced their initiatives.
We are proud of the result and sincerely thank all those who are passionate to realize Ottawa’s potential to become a truly sustainable city. So, how did we make this happen and what was the process?
The 3i Summit is about collaborating on a shared mission to Innovate, Interact and then Initiate. It is not an event but a continuous learning and outcome-oriented process. It is not a project, but a collaborative effort to promote action, in thematic areas, for the benefit of the greater Ottawa community. It is a staged process to empower and energize community action around important issues. The 3i Summit is based on continuous interaction to build momentum to take action. The 3i Process is not “owned” by any one body but shared with an open and inclusive collaborative community.
The 3i Summit began with Leadership Ottawa in 2009 when they held a ground breaking community event called the 3i Summit in celebration of their 10th Anniversary developing collaborative community leadership. The Co-Convenors of the summit were Bart Bakker, Manjit Basi and Jen Hunter. 300 citizens from all walks of life participated in this dynamic cross-sector event where speakers shared their dreams for a better Ottawa using a ‘TEDTalks’ style format. Powerful ideas came forward and new initiatives were launched. Nowhere else in the city had such a diverse and passionate group of citizens had a chance to make connections to build community change. This had to continue.
As a group was working to plan the next 3i event, it become clear that the Summit would have more impact if it was more focussed and built on community partnerships and a collaborative planning process. We began developing the new process with a world café consultation at the Shenkman Arts Centre in November 2010 with the intention to build a 3i process that was focussed, action-oriented and consulted grass-roots community with concrete outcomes to drive community change. 3i needed to:
- Be A Catalyst for Change through Collaboration
- Have Issue/Sectorial Focus to Develop Action Plans
- Involve Innovation and Intensive Program Development
By summer of 2011, the core planning group lead by Co-Convenors Christopher Henderson (eco-businessman) and Victoria Steele (arts management consultant) attracted serious interest in using the new 3i model from over a dozen of Ottawa’s environment organizations and the City of Ottawa’s Sustainability Department. Organizations were invited to become Partners by committing to bring their passion, manpower and ideas to the shared table and co-design the process and event. Sessions were held to identify the key issues around environmental sustainability in the city and to identify possible beneficial ways and means to engage far more citizens and those in other sectors to address the issue.
With limited human, financial and administrative resources in place, we were able to move forward to make the 2012 Summit a reality. The 3i Team developed the 3 major outcomes for the Summit: collaborative community projects, infrastructure capacity and ongoing forums. Community consultations to develop initiatives in line with the goals were held through 4 community idea Salons and an on-line Salon. Initiatives were encouraged, developed and then shared at the dynamic 2-day 3i Summit. Now, we are sharing the results and following up to see how projects are progressing.
The success factors underlying the summit process include: a shared vision for a better future, a community with initiatives in development, strong leadership, partner organizations, skilled and dedicated volunteers, professional facilitation techniques and core human and financial resources. Over 20 Partner Organizations became involved in the co-creation process with support from the City of Ottawa, Tucker House Renewal Centre, Community Foundation of Ottawa, Ottawa Festivals/Employment Ontario, Ideavibes, Ottawa Hydro and many other generous donors and sponsors.
We encourage other groups use the 3i model to take collaborative action on their community issues and make Ottawa a better city. To get in touch with the Convenors please email: convenor at 3isummit.com.