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Kaplan: Welcome to #BIF2017. Let the Inspiration Begin!

Friday, September 08, 2017


Saul Kaplan

#BIF2017 (September 13–14) can’t arrive fast enough for me. To say we live in discombobulating times is an understatement. I’ll go out on a limb and suggest that we can all use a big dose of optimism and inspiration. Nothing beats a good Random Collision of Unusual Suspects, what we at BIF call making a RCUS, to co-create a better future with over 500 like-minded and human-centered innovation junkies from around the world. Our experience will be informed and catalyzed by 32 amazing personal transformation stories to get our random collisions started. Together, we will take it from there to unleash the adjacent possible. Connect, Inspire, and Transform. Welcome to #BIF2017.

Every year the BIF summit experience is completely new and different. It never fails to inspire us with the excitement of limitless possibilities and leave us emboldened with a renewed sense of purpose. After 13 years of catalyzing conversations, enabling random collisions of thousands of unusual suspects, and over 400 storytellers, it never gets old. Hosting the BIF Summit is one of the greatest honors and blessings of my life.

One of my favorite things to do leading up to the BIF Summit is to connect with each of the storytellers to talk about how their personal journey story is shaping up. We never prescribe what our storytellers should say and instead, offer them the opportunity to genuinely share their personal transformation journey and what they have learned from it. They always rise to the occasion. Their stories come from the heart and are always awe inspiring. They are stories that compel us to action. We accept the responsibility to convert random collisions from the summit into powerful and purposeful collaborations. At #BIF2017 we are modeling how to enable self-organized purposeful networks.

Storytelling and engagement is imperative to form and strengthen our purposeful networks. At BIF, we believe that stories can change the world and storytelling can help us make transformational change safer and easier to manage. One of the first things we did while launching BIF 13 years ago, was to create an Innovation Story Studio as a platform to integrate storytelling into everything we do. By openly sharing stories about the process and output of BIF’s work, we are strengthening our community of innovators and becoming more purposeful with every new story.

#BIF2017 storytellers are catalysts to get our reaction started. Summit participants engage in colliding with the stories and each other to figure out what is relevant and meaningful to them. We don’t tell participants what their takeaways should be or prescribe what’s important. It’s up to the audience to decide what to share with their networks and what insights to act upon. Inspiration is personal and it’s up to participants to decide where it comes from, who to connect with, and how to emerge with a renewed sense of purpose. Let’s make a RCUS at #BIF2017 because that’s how the magic happens.

#BIF2017 is more community than event. We need a human-centered, optimistic, inspired, and engaged community now more than ever. As our BIF community continues to grow, so do our personal networks and our reach. It’s time to unleash the adjacent possible at the edge of our networks. It’s time to make our networks more purposeful to make meaningful progress toward transforming our important social systems, including healthcare, education, and public services.

When we connect outside our normal silos, we build our network of capabilities and gain the most by experiencing change through the lens of others. Transformation requires an emotional connection to the work. When we feel involved, when we feel like we are an essential part of the story, only then are we ready to transform ourselves, our organizations, and our communities.

It’s time to go from tweaks to transformation. It’s time to make our self-organized networks more purposeful. It’s up to us to become powerful storytellers to co-create the important societal changes we want to see in the world. A good story can change the world.

Welcome to #BIF2017!

Saul Kaplan is the Founder and Chief Catalyst of the Business Innovation Factory (BIF). Saul shares innovation musings on his blog at It’s Saul Connected and on Twitter at @skap5.


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