TWENTY YEARS OF HOSTING conversation gatherings in casual ways and now we are here to design something very specific, very particular, and nothing like we’ve ever made before. Combining that which has been learned through studies of architecture, interviews upon interviews as journalists, brand identity design work freelance on four continents, and a lot of smart people who’ve taught us how to create quality space for sharing, there’s this. ‘N’.
Why? To mix it up. We are a very small group, so it’s always nice to run into new ways of thinking.
Over the years, we got interested in dissecting the ‘best of’ conversations to discern exactly what made them great.
Making a checklist, it got to be very simple and straightforward: there is a way to design space for high-quality conversation.
What does ‘high quality’ mean?
It means you are very, very glad you were there. That you look back on it with fondness. That you found out something about yourself that maybe you did not know. Met someone you never forgot. That kind of thing.
It also means that you noticed the moment. Perceived something: perhaps in the air surrounding you, in the conversations with others, or an internal awareness. Creating space for high-quality means something shifts; and that means growth.
Words on a screen versus sharing real life space—it’s a no brainer. 16N is for people who are ready for something new and different, and curious, open, and engaged. Mostly, it’s a chance for participants to meet others in their locale who are also into the same.
Making space for real life, real relationships
BACK IN THE DAYS before internet, we remember this ‘maybe I’ll see you there, maybe I won’t’ non-committal acceptance of an invitation was absent from our lives as a problem.
When you said, ‘See you tomorrow,’ it actually meant, ‘See you tomorrow.’ And not ‘maybe see you tomorrow.’ Given our thoughts about the importance of relationships, as described by systems thinker George Vickers very well, it seemed time to address this issue squarely. Enter ‘N’.
Related: Our commentary quoting Vickers is on our LinkedIn here
Against the ‘culture of maybe’
HOW MANY COFFEE DATES does it take to get to know someone enough to start to talk about Real things, as in, for Real? For me, it’s sometimes infinity: I feel I can’t quite “get there” because we’ve gone too far down the road of the mundane day-to-day.
Can we design space for true moments of real insight? As in, gain self-awareness in a flash because we suddenly have room and “safe space” to talk about things that we care about?
I’ve been collaborating with others, playing with this idea through some experiments in 2014. Now I want to get a little more focused and create 16 specific events, where I invite 16 people personally, because really it’s about the eye contact and “I know you a little but I want to know you better” kinds of feelings that I have that make me want to select certain people to bring into this space.
In other words, ‘N’ is about creating MOMENTS of CONNECTION. As in, when we meet other people in a Designed Space that is conducive to deep conversations.
I want to really engage people in a conversation space that will have a style not unlike some of the workshops I’ve hosted in the past, but also, lots of room for improvisation, too.
Phnom Penh guests for ‘N’ had told DK, “Thanks for making this happen.” So now we know. It’s real. It’s a thing. And we’re going to keep going with it.
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