Takeaways and Lessons Learned: What Attending Imagine Solutions Means for You

Aside from the inspiration and intellectual expansion, what are the reasons to attend a thought leader conference like Imagine Solutions? We can make all the arguments in the world for why we think it’s a good and worthy expenditure of your time. But what are the key takeaways for you as a business, nonprofit, or community leader?

Something we regularly promote as a benefit is the networking that happens. When we plan the Imagine Solutions Conference, the day intentionally includes multiple breaks for meals, snacks, coffee, and the conversation we hope ensues. In addition to needing that time to consolidate in your mind the extraordinary information you’ve just received from our speakers, it’s a valuable opportunity to find the person you know you want to talk to. That could, and we certainly encourage it to be, one of those speakers you were just awed by. Our speakers are invited to attend the entire daylong event, and equally so to be available to our attendees. In fact, from time to time, this results in truly meaningful connections being made.

In addition to the conversations between attendees and speakers, we know that deep and impactful dialogue happens in these in-between moments among audience members. You will see our regional leaders huddled, likely solving big problems, stimulated by the positive energy that permeates the day. This is, indeed, one of our various roles of which we’re proudest: bringing people and minds together.

What else might entice you to attend an event like this? The lessons learned from our experts on stage far surpass their prowess and achievements. Sometimes we learn about the magic that happens when a change-maker realizes the perfect intersection of their abilities and a pressing need. Examples might include Gregg Treinish of Adventure Scientists or Jake Wood of Team Rubicon, each of whom translated their existing skills, interests, and networks into thriving social entrepreneurship ventures.

Oftentimes, we hear about the things that didn’t work on the way to the things that did, and how failure is not uncommonly a key ingredient of success. Our scientists and doctors know you have to research, and you have to try new things. We can presume that Richard Browning didn’t get his jet suit design perfectly right on the first try. We know that, for every brilliant take that went into Mike Gunton’s epic Dynasties series, there was a lot of waiting around, and some real hardship in the filming. We can understand that Gary White and water.org have faced considerable obstacles in bringing potable water to millions. There’s no question that Norman Lear was a controversial figure for the TV programming he created, yet clearly he believed, and he persevered.

There are life lessons to be had. The hard conversations are sometimes the most productive. The realization that a current path needs to be altered somehow. That you never know who you’re going to happen to sit down next to at lunch. That serendipity is a real phenomenon (which we take some small credit for helping facilitate at times). That mission statements and objectives need to be reevaluated from time to time. That it’s worth it to set yourself up for inspiration.