ROI Community Moves Forward with Connection Points

Since its inception in 2006, the ROI Community has garnered an international reputation for the quality and impact of its in-person gatherings. Despite technological advances that enable instant communication and collaboration across geographic divides, ROI understands that there is no substitute for face-to-face encounters. The Summit, ROI’s flagship program held in Israel each year, gathers Community members to dream big, network intensely, and learn a great deal from a cohort of talented peers. ROI has also complemented the ROI Summit with a series of staff-led regional gatherings across the world in an effort to scale the breadth and impact of its members. Now ROI Community is rolling out the next phase of its in-person engagements with the launch of ROI Connection Points. Through this program, the “ROI Connectors” will be trained to design and implement their own dream gatherings or Connection Points. The seven pilot ROI Connection Points, will take place during Winter 2012 and Spring 2013 and will span four continents.

The Connection Points themselves are radical experiments in growing the ROI Community to the far reaches of the world – to connect more innovators, and to seed new ideas, deeper networks and visionary change initiatives. Connectors (the ROI Community members responsible for the gatherings) participated in two trainings and receive regular support from the ROI Community in the design and implementation of their gatherings.

This week two events took place: The St0ry in Las Vegas, Nevada and ID², Israeli Designed International Development, in Mitzpe Ramon, Israel.

The St0ry, the brainchild of Jacob Shwirtz, brought together 30 of the brightest up-and-coming minds – from a diversity of fields – to explore and explode the boundaries of “storytelling” and how evolving digital trends are impacting everyday lives.

Among those taking part in The St0ry were comedian and writer Michelle Collins (Kathy Griffin, Chelsea Handler, Vanity Fair); David D. Burstein, contributor to Fast Company and author of the upcoming book “Fast Future: How the Millennial Generation is Shaping Our World”; Sarah Passe, Business Development Executive at Creative Artists Agency, focused specifically on the rapidly-growing digital content space; and Josh Bernstein, executive producer of the Revolver Golden Gods Awards and the Rock & Roll Roast series.

Far different in design was ID², where seventy young Israeli and diaspora innovators and international-development stakeholders gathered in southern Israel for a three-day conference focused on harnessing Israeli expertise to solve the greatest challenges of the developing world. The ID² program – based on a partnership between ROI and Tel Aviv University’s Hartog School of Government and Policy – brought together people from the private sector, government, technology, and aid NGOs to discuss how to expand the international development industry in Israel and make Israel a significant source of innovative solutions to the challenges of international development.

Designed by Ohad Sternberg and Nadav Stark, ID² attendees included Eli Shaharabany, Founder of Israel Social Model, which exports Israeli projects that solve common social problems; Davidi Vortman, Co-founder of Lumos, providing affordable off-grid energy through a “home power station in a box” – a new type of solar panel that allows users to purchase electricity on demand using their mobile phone; Ornit Avidar, Co-founder of WaterWays Solutions Ltd., bringing off-grid clean water solutions to rural areas; Jonathan Pulik, a founding member of Bao Design Labs, a nonprofit incubator that uses design to address challenges at the base of the world’s economic pyramid and Jonah Mink, Co-founder of Communitas, a start-up which aims to deliver community-based geospatial data collection, analysis, and visualization, to international development organizations to help improve their programs.

ROI is a part of the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Philanthropic Network.