Accelerate: Collaborating for Sustainability Conference
On June 5-6, 2014, The Natural Step Canada convened the second Accelerate: Collaborating for Sustainability Conference at the Evergreen Brick Works site in Toronto. The event was attended by over 160 distinguished delegates from a wide variety of professional backgrounds.
With 37 impressive presenters and facilitators sharing their expertise and harvesting the vast experience in the audience, we designed the two days around the theme of collaboration and constructed an agenda that took participants through a variety of engagement formats. Accelerate included a series of fabulous keynote speeches, several panel discussions, skill-building workshops, open space sessions (where the delegates proposed and hosted the topics), and even a sustainability gap exercise that used LEGO to rapidly build prototyping models of our current state and a sustainable future for our energy sector. We heard stories of success. We heard stories of failure. Collectively, we strengthened our collaboration muscles and enhanced our networks—now hopefully stronger and better equipped to continue with our change efforts.
The Evergreen Brick Works was the perfect site to host this gathering. The food, the fresh air, and the demonstration of what sustainable re-design can look like nourished us, allowed us to deepen our practice, and helped to broaden our perspectives.
Below, you’ll find some information about the conference, harvested from a variety of sources. We hope that you find it useful.
The Natural Step Canada convenes Accelerate because we—and the organizations we work with—realize that an organization can only go so far alone on their sustainability journey before they run up against barriers that require them to work with new partners. We hear the increasing calls for greater engagement and collaboration with diverse groups to solve the complex sustainability challenges of our time.
Accelerate offers a unique opportunity to deepen learning about collaboration from experts and practitioners, to experience collaboration by creating connections with other change agents, and to seed new collaborative initiatives. Using a mix of plenary, breakout, and group sessions, we showcase the expertise and real life experience of dozens of speakers from across all sectors and backgrounds.
Accelerate includes keynote talks from world-renowned experts, sessions delivered by talented practitioners, and interactive workshops and dialogues.
It’s all about sharing and learning together. It's a different kind of conference.
What others are saying
- Reflections from Accelerate 2014: What does it take to collaborate? by Saralyn Hodgkin
- Learning the Art of Inspiration by Kathryn Cooper
- Notes and observations on Peter Senge's presentation by Social Innovation Generation (SiG)
- Driving massive change through creative collaboration – Is there still time for the bees? by Kathryn Cooper
- Business As Usual - Doomed to Fail - So What's Next? by Kathryn Cooper
- Can We Play in the (Oil) Sand Box Together? by Chad Park
- Sustainability-driven Collaboration, Part I: A platform for turning wicked problems into wicked opportunities by Chad Park
- Sustainability-driven Collaboration, Part II: Value Creation and Vision as a Driving Force by Chad Park
- Sustainability-driven Collaboration, Part III: Simplicity without reduction, authentic leadership, and process design by Chad Park
- Accelerating for Change: Leading Conference on Sustainability and Collaboration Gaining Momentum by Josh Snider
- Can Sustainability-driven Collaboration help get Canada “unstuck”? by Chad Park
- “The panel discussions were interesting, varied, and enlightening—not something that is always the case at such events.”
- “My highlights were the inspiration, reframing challenges as opportunities, and a reminder of the scale of the challenge and the need for urgency and creativity.”
- “I really valued the networking opportunities and seeing a different format of a conference that included more opportunities for genuine conversation.”
- “I have met potential business partners and walked away with a lot of new ideas.”
- “It’s always useful to network with like-minded individuals, and un-like-minded individuals who are working towards similar ends.”
- “My experience helped to seed the need for a more collaborative approach to a current project.”
- “Well organized conference, good speakers, good variety of one-way and multi-way communications.”
- “Thank you for making the conference predominately vegan and low-waste! It was refreshing to be at a sustainability conference that took to heart the implications of our food choices on the planet and all its inhabitants.”
- “Great conference - well planned and everything came together smoothly! I appreciated that time and schedules were adhered to. I loved the venue, the food was great, and the space provided good opportunities for networking, as well as breaks for fresh air in the gardens.”
- “As always, The Natural Step team put on a very meaningful and productive event. Thank you!”
- “It's so great to be at a sustainability conference that actually walks the talk.”
Thank you for your support
Thank you to all of the incredible Accelerate delegates who contributed to the discussions, asked thoughtful questions, shared their passions, and made Accelerate come to life. Of course, Accelerate would not have been possible without the generous support of our sponsors and endorsing partners. We extend a heartfelt thank you to each of them.
Please contact us at info(at)naturalstep.ca or call 613.748.3001.