2015 Program: "Get Big Things Done: The Power of Connectional Intelligence"

Keynote Speaker: Erica Dhawan

Erica Dhawan, Founder & CEO of Cotential and co-author of "Get Big Things Done: The Power of Connectional Intelligence" was the key note speaker for our 2015 program.

We began the day discussing in small groups what we thought other generations believed to be true about our own generations, and what we all wished other generations knew about us. After everyone shared their answers, it became clear why Erica chose to begin with this exercise… 
This discussion really made you think about the bigger picture. Instead of trying to “figure out” other generations by focusing on our differences, we can instead combine the strengths of our networks and work together to take the projects we’re working on, our companies, and our careers to the next level. Because, as we discovered, we all want the same things! We want the opportunity to fulfill our dreams and create value and meaning, regardless of age. 

Erica touched on how we can unleash this across generations when we harness Connectional Intelligence. She explained this concept with specific examples of how cross-generational teams have gotten BIG things done. One of my favorites (and one I cannot believe I hadn’t heard of before) is about Patrick Meier, a doctoral researcher who launched Ushahidi - a live crisis map of Haiti - after reading reports that over 100,000 Haitians were deceased and half of the country was without power after a devastating earthquake in 2010. 

But he didn’t do this alone. Patrick gathered social media posts and combined forces with his community - peers across all generations - to track all pieces of data and monitor social media sites for updates. Patrick also called on his extended network and combined with those from a Haitian movement based in Boston and started to translate the gathered posts from Haitian-Creole into English. This project caught wind and within just days, relief organizations, the U.S. Military, and the Haitian government were able to locate missing people, bring survivors to safe ground, and lower the negative impact on the Haitian community.

Now, this example may be on a much larger scale than the current projects we’re working on, but how inspiring is that?! And what makes it even more eye opening is that Patrick was able to ignite an idea by connecting his skills with the skills of others he didn’t know to save so many lives. Just think about what we can accomplish with thousands of our peers behind us!

By being creative, using our networks and working across networks and across generations, we can pull the unique expertise we all have and truly get BIG things done! 

So let’s keep this conversation going! What are your favorite examples of cross-team success? Or how can your team work with others outside of your go-to networks to achieve an even better outcome than expected?