By Kristin Johansen Maher
Greetings! I am talking with Magenta Ceiba, the Executive Creative Officer of Bloom Network and producer of the network’s first conference event – Pollination 2019: San Francisco – happening at Impact Hub SF this August 17 & 18 (registration is open!)
There have been a lot of exciting announcements recently around Pollination 2019! Can you explain – what exactly is Pollination?
Pollination is a participatory “un-conference” for regenerative culture makers to build nourishing relationships with each other and boost our collective capacity. Regenerative culture means basically the opposite of extractive industry – it’s doing things in a way that creates more life, more diversity, and more anti-fragility (resilience).
This first year we’re doing it in San Francisco, but in the coming years we’ll begin producing the event in multiple cities simultaneously as a global celebration of regenerative collaboration for our communities and the planet. More to come on that another time, but you can also read about our vision in the bloomnetwork.org “About” section!
Bloom Network is the presenting organization of the event. Can you explain what Bloom Network is and why you’ve decided to host this event now?
Bloom Network is an in-person action network that uses online tools to collaboratively regenerate the planet – beginning in our own bioregions. Local Bloom chapters around the world host skillshares, actions, and other events to actively distribute regenerative thinking and solutions in their communities. We work together internationally, across all industrial and physical borders, to share what’s working and cross-pollinate wisdom.
We’ve been developing this network since 2008, originally connected with the company Evolver. We became our own peer-led network in 2016, and we’re just now starting to invite more people to be involved. Pollination is the catalyst for activating Bloom Network in its new peer-to-peer incarnation. We are beyond excited to share what we’re doing to encourage the incredible makers, communities, and business leaders we know to meet each other and… cross-pollinate in an action-oriented way! This “un-conference” will also help us all share more widely with the general public that regenerative solutions are out there for a lot of today’s most gnarly problems, and these solutions are things the everyday person can contribute to.
What was the inspiration for organizing in this way? Could you tell us a little bit about the history of it all?
We talked a bit already about how Bloom Network grew from a seed that fell from the tree of Evolver Network in 2008. People meeting each other through what used to be an online social network and a magazine for psychedelic culture wanted to meet each other in person to do what they were all talking about online. We grew to 100 chapters in 11 countries too quickly, with an incredible diversity of creative actions and beautiful, deep, community building happening. Lots of businesses were started… city-wide festivals that are still going today, many skillshares and community gardens, civic coalitions. However, this explosive growth magnified deep organizational issues, leading to a point where we ultimately did not have the ability to influence the company’s messaging or business practices. We separated and became a peer-led network in order to create change more easily in our local communities AND at the full scale of holistic systems change.
Local organizers had been talking for years about what exactly we needed out of an online social network to support the collaborations we were doing, as well as what we knew we were capable of in the future… today, this exists as www.bloomnetwork.org and a mycelial network of individual actors across the globe collaborating both online and in-person, 100% self-organized as a Decentralized Autonomous Organization (DAO); we continue to iterate and develop daily.
Soon, we’ll gather in-person for Pollination 2019: San Francisco. This particular event was fostered through Evolver Bay Area, where Torie Beedle (Former US Marine, MBA in Organizational and Environmental Sustainability), myself, and a four-person crew were thinking through how to create a financially sustainable way to do community organizing across the global network. We called it HiveMind back then and produced three before pausing while we sorted out our separation from Evolver Network.
Fast forward to 2017 when one of the organizers from Sydney, Australia – Alicia Boyd – stepped up to bring her large-scale production skills to the table and suggested we do it simultaneously in multiple cities. She had worked in many different sectors and convened multi-stakeholder working groups across them; the experience she brought helped everything click together to be the event we will come to know this August as Pollination 2019. You can learn more about our current incredible production team and advisory council on bloomnetwork.org/team!
Regenerative culture is a huge topical area – is there a central theme for Pollination 2019?
Building regenerative relationships is the underlying theme of Pollination 2019. We’ve crafted Five Regenerative Qualities that you can read about here, to help participants meet each other “essence to essence” and potentiate our radical creativity together. The biggest problems of our time such as climate change and huge social inequality, require us to work together across differences in our fields, industries, politics, and even our beliefs about reality.
All the activities available at Pollination are designed to support regenerative relationships. There will be some one-to-many talks, but most sessions will be interactive workshops or trainings, case studies, and brain trusts. There will be a match-making zone assisted by augmented intelligence (a tool that participants can utilize throughout the coming year via their Bloom Network membership), to help form partnerships and deal flows, or more personal kinds of support. You are going to have your mind blown at Pollination in all the most wonderful ways, no matter what context you are coming from. The event itself is the beginning of a year-long process of collaborating.
At Pollination 2019 a sub-set of participants will be test-running an innovation program called Pollination Labs. This year it’s organized around two main topics: (1) Collaborating Across Organizations and (2) Surfacing the Needs of the Regenerative Ecosystem. (1) looks at: what are the tools for collaboration in the modern age, and how do we use them? That includes tech stacks, financial/ownership mechanisms, and group dynamics… “the Future of Work”! (2) is a live R&D process taking place at the event to support the emergent field of regenerative organizations and networks. We’ll do gap analysis, explore the strongest leverage points, and identify emergent needs of this ecosystem. Outcomes of the Labs will be further incubated and implemented throughout the year following Pollination. I drew a rainbow map of this if you’d like a visual.
Mansi Kakkar has been one of the primary architects of this program. She co-founded The Social Innovation Collective and has worked with social innovation design labs all over the world via MIT’s D-Lab, Stanford and more.
There are a lot more details about the program elements of Pollination 2019 on bloomnetwork.org/pollination-program-2019!
This graphic is from Ecosystem Restoration Camps, a phenomenal group effort led by John D. Liu.
Something I am particularly keen on is Pollination’s multidimensional and holistic nature from many perspectives… tying together multi-modal healing with time and physical space for meditation, study, relaxation and connection consciously entwined within the schedule of activity. The Healing Lounge and Inspiration Library are two of these spaces, specially curated by members of the Bloom Network community and partners. These things are not typical of your average conference… how did this type of event feature come into being?
Conferences can be overwhelming and lack spaces for people to digest the high volume of information and connections they’re experiencing. Throughout Pollination, people will be engaging and making decisions with people from widely different backgrounds from their own. Our Experience Design & Facilitation Working Group plotted out quiet, body-oriented spaces to unwind, get support, or channel their creative ideas in real-time. White boards, markers, post-its, notebooks, and inspirational visionary art are just a few of the physical tools provided.
Most Bloom events have some healing component to them, since many people in our network are healers – therapists, clinical herbalists, midwives, etc. We’ve asked Jeff Bausemer from East Meets West Medicine Fest to curate our Healing Lounge this year, and we’re excited to share more about the modalities and onsite consultations available at Pollination.
In addition to the huge variety of interactive sessions at the event, art and art installations are a big part of the summit. Could you tell me more about how art in its many forms and incarnations is a part of Pollination?
Art is a bridge for people to connect emotionally and with their senses. We curate art that represents regenerative culture from different topic angles – ecology, social justice, community health, ritual, and more. One of our very first supporters, Visionary Futurist and Artist Jessica Perlstein is the featured artist at Pollination 2019. She designed our incredible event logo.
Art installations happen throughout the space and time of Pollination. Imagine you are looking at a beautiful altar to mushrooms that educates you about how fungi can be used to dye fabrics, clean up oil spills, and boost bees’ immune systems. To your right you see a group of people doing a demo of restorative justice (an alternative to imprisonment), and behind you, you hear someone explaining a community solar power finance fund. You turn around and there is a supercapacitor storage device built using hemp graphene.
We also plan to bring clowning into the event, something many of our team are passionate about… our own tech circus! At times during the conference people will be digging into emotionally heavy topics – we’ll use clowning for levity and play, to remind ourselves to have fun. Clowning is absolutely allowed and encouraged here.
Art will express itself through every element of the event. From recycled materials for interior design to Leave No Trace practices and a Queer Witch community catering company… the results are so far, incredible.
There are tons of people around the world involved in the event already. Who are a few of the initial partners that you could share with us today?
Aragon is an Alpha Partner of Pollination 2019 – sponsoring our Governance Hackathon and providing guidance on decentralization and autonomy; they are truly at the leading edge of governance technology innovation. The Aragon app on the Ethereum blockchain allows anyone anywhere to set up a digital company to manage finances and decision making in a decentralized, transparent way.
Our event production team is comprised of a mycelial network of individual organizations working together as Bloom Network to present Pollination 2019: ImagineX Productions, AVM Events & Retreats, Merkaba Agency, and Bloom Network’s Community Team.
Kumu Innovation Lab is an initial Pollination Labs incubator partner through an in-kind grant of their genius staff time for development activity. The Social Innovation Collective is also helping develop Pollination Labs – they focus on rural regenerative development to circumvent systemic issues such as aid dependency, and to empower grassroots-led innovation.
We’re seeking further partnerships for active development across all industries. If your company or organization is interested in sponsoring the event or being involved at a structural level, please get in touch ASAP. The time is now.
You’ve mentioned the Pollination Labs element of the event a few times… what is it and who should consider joining it?
Pollination Labs will support networking and tangible collaboration among people involved in regenerative culture work from a wide swath of industries, professions and communities. There are still some major gaps between even social impact methodologies and regenerative systems work, so we’ll be addressing that together.
At Pollination we’ll find common ground in an embodied regenerative, nurturing space. We’ll engage in a participatory process of research, networking, and wisdom sharing, with a goal of choosing a few high leverage focus areas to pool our collective talent and resources on throughout the year together. There will be Pollinators circulating between the Labs teams and the other elements of the event, so that if one team needs a specific kind of expert’s input or experience, we can bring them in to contribute.
Following Pollination 2019 Weekend, we will further innovate and implement the pinpointed areas together, in service to development of scalable regenerative solutions for our bioregional communities. Mansi calls this pinpointed innovation process “system acupuncture”. So far seven organizations have offered to anchor specific aspects of this continuation process. We’re excited about that because it’s an example of the collaborative and decentralized way that Bloom Network works.
This yearly cycle will function over time as a globally synchronized hackathon for regenerative wellness, leading to Pollination 2020 and further advancement and development. We need entrepreneurs who are dedicated to taking social impact a few steps deeper. We need professionals of all disciplines who want an opportunity to apply their skillsets to social problems and innovate in highly collaborative ways. We need corporate enterprise employees who want to apply regenerative practice in their industries. We need fintech innovators, blockchain developers, governance experts. We need community organizers and artists of all shapes and sizes, walks of life, cultures, ages, perspectives – anyone dedicated to holistic systems change, supporting local resilience, and working together across silos to find common humanity and healthily shared power.
It’s important to mention that every Pollination participant pass comes with a one-year membership to Bloom Network. This includes access to the Global Change Collective online – comprised of multiple global networks working on climate change and all its interconnected issues. It uses state-of-the-art augmented intelligence to support collaboration on tangible actions. The talent and wisdom pool that Pollination participants will be able to access will be nothing short of magical.
As Pollination gets rolling in connection with Bloom Network, we will play a role in jump-starting and accelerating local and global collaboration at the pace that needs to kick in to adapt to eco-social collapse in many parts of the world. There is low-hanging fruit in connecting more regenerative culture builders together and boosting their visibility in mainstream narratives. We are organizing to harvest that fruit and distribute it to every corner of the global regenerative ecosystem (then compost it and return it back to the Earth!)
Lots of people are interested in contributing to this shared vision. Are there other ways to get involved in the event beyond purchasing a participant pass?
Absolutely. We’re convening a diverse group of conscious leaders to imagine and problem solve for the future. All registrants will be invited to submit a skillshare they’d like to teach to Pollination attendees, as well as issues they’d like support on from the unusual cross-section of people that will be at the event. Once you purchase a ticket, you’ll receive a “Starting the Conversation with You” questionnaire. A call for group process facilitators is always open.
We’re developing a scholarship program, though it’s still in it’s beginning stages. Registrants currently have the option to buy a pay-it-forward ticket to offer a scholarship, which has kickstarted the program. We’ll release the application soon; it will close about 3 weeks before the event and announcements made 2 weeks ahead of the event. We’re always seeking partners to help us grow our scholarship initiative, and are looking for innovative ways to manage the scholarship process and award more passes, faster.
Worktrade is available for a few very specific functions within several departments that can be negotiated for a full participant pass. We especially need the following contributors, which we have defined worktrade systems for: content writing, social media content management, wordpress developer, video production/editing, graphic design. We also have an affiliate program, if you have a strong network and would like to promote participation directly to that network with an offer for savings on their end and earnings share on your end to compensate directly for your efforts.
Use our Partner Application Form if you’d like to: worktrade, volunteer, bring your art, performance, or short film (including VR) to Pollination, help fabricate an installation, write a blog post, curate social content, produce a video, act as an affiliate, share your tips for development or user experience, or just connect.
If your company is interested in partnering with Bloom Network for Pollination 2019, reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org! We also have a range of sponsorship packages for connecting with the influential audience at Pollination and through the promotional campaign; we’re open to collaborating on custom activations and creative ways to integrate your message with the intention of the event and network overall. We’re also open to companies sponsoring development of a specific innovation within the Pollination Labs. If you’re interested in leveraging this event to further a regenerative practice in your industry, or a pipeline change in your company, please get in touch with us today to start a conversation.
Finally, we’re always looking to expand our network for outreach – not only about Pollination, but for the entire Bloom Network and all associated initiatives around the globe. Journalists, publications, organizations or networks who would like to boost the signal and join us in storytelling about regenerative culture innovations, please contact us today! We’d love to partner with you and share your aligned mission with our highly engaged network of over 6k+ regenerative culture makers around the world.
More Detail & Registration: Bloomnetwork.org/Pollination
— (OR) Register Now with Cryptocurrency via Numundo
Official Facebook Event – Pollination 2019: San Francisco
Organizational Contact – Magenta Ceiba – email@example.com
Press Contact – Kristin Johansen Maher – firstname.lastname@example.org / 530-648-8447