anvil ranch, sonoma county, california

What a rush!!!!!I just arrived back home after one of the more transformative weeks of my life, kicked off by an incredible personal foresight weekend in Northern California.I want to share with you – Fusion.This was the 10th year already that my good friends John Smart & Iveta Brigis have been hosting this annual gathering that “brings together an intimate group of high-integrity futurists interested in improving their personal and social foresight on a sustainable budget.”

They’ve been inviting me for several years now, and I finally made the commitment to myself to attend. Not just to clarify my own mission and goals in life, but because I want to begin hosting Fusions myself. After organizing Contact, a social technologies conference which went off successfully last month, I have a lot more confidence in bringing people together around meaningful topics and themes. But I want to do something more intimate, and highly focused on action-orientation.

Here’s a bit more about the structure and flow of Fusion:

“Fusion is a great opportunity to connect with a small, unique group of creative, open-minded, and goal-oriented futurists. Modeled after Benjamin Franklin‘s Junto, a mutual improvement club, our annual weekend involves deep sharing and assessment of our strengths, passions, weaknesses, fears, and current challenges among high-integrity peers with similar core values but diverse and complementary skillsets. We seek communications that are both non-judgmental and non-defensive (we don’t take offense at any unintended judgments). A major priority of the weekend is for each of us to leave with clearer personal goals, better and more concrete strategies to reach them, and a broadened perspective from the input of other sharp minds.

Great dialog is a challenge. The physicist David Bohm (see On Dialogue, 1996) stressed the importance of “decoupling reflexive responses” and practicing “non-judgmental learning” about others’ perspectives on reality. John Kao says the effectiveness of any social network is proportional to the diversity, ability, and commitment (intellectual and emotional) of its members. Our invitation process attempts to maximize each of these elements. You’ll meet scientists, technologists, entrepreneurs, writers, artists, and other individuals who are intellectually curious about the future and their role in it. We also seek people who are optimistic, critical, self-honest, and solutions-oriented. Those with spiritual perspectives that are tolerant of secular humanism and atheism are also warmly invited.”

The weekend was capped at 28 participants (to allow for 7 small groups of 4 participants), and invitation only, to curate a peak experience for everyone involved. And that’s definitely what happened for me.

You can check out the site for more info about the profiles we filled out beforehand and the schedule for the weekend.

My takeaway was that a beautiful kind of social alchemy can happen when a group of mindful people are gathered together around specific intentions. In just two days, I had a pretty powerful and intimate conversation with just about every other person there. We had time for small group facilitated conversations, a gorgeous afternoon hike overlooking mountains and vineyards, potluck dinners, and late night jacuzzi time. 🙂

AND, in addition to what looks like just a lot of fun, some amazing breakthroughs and clarity were actually going on under the surface, which bubbled up into clear actions and goals by Sunday morning, when we made commitments about what we intended to accomplish over the upcoming 12 months.Having a community of people in mutual respect and admiration, who are driven by their own passions and care about the success of their peers, is pretty frikkin powerful. I have a zest for life that feels unparalleled at the moment. (and sure, the shine will wear off over time, until the next great experience happens, but this is a great wake up call that it’s not only possible, but can be designed.)So, in addition to several other exciting goals I’ve set for myself, I am committing to doing at least one online Junto a month – using either Buzzumi or Google Hangouts to host them, with a public backchannel for anyone else who wants to attend. (as were my thoughts about hosting Juntos earlier last year, but I didn’t quite have the tools yet.)

Also, I’m committing to holding at least one Fusion event in 2012. 28 people. Invite only. Most likely in the Catskill Mountains of upstate NY. May also do a Northern California event as well, to cover both coasts.

If attending a Fusion event sounds interesting to you, feel free to shoot me an email at emergentbydesign at gmail, and I’ll keep you posted about upcoming developments.

Onward and Upward!