Download our Press Release: Sustainability Unconference Press Release, November 2016

What is an Unconference?

Unconferences follow a general framework, but are designed to be flexible to meet the needs and wants of the attendees. Here’s a great explanation from Unconference.net:

The unconference format creates space for peer-to-peer learning, collaboration and creativity. At the start, the group will gather and be guided through creating an agenda.  The exact process is not important to understand in advance – the process will become clear as it happens.  The important part is that all those gathered will have the opportunity to put conference sessions on the agenda.  No session will be voted off or ‘won’t happen’ for some other reason. All sessions are welcome. The sessions convened will range from the well thought out pre-prepared talk reflecting years of research and practice to the spur of the moment ‘new idea’ that would be fun to talk about.

What’s on the Agenda?

Each Unconference will have a loosely structured agenda (see our Honolulu Sustainability Unconference for an example), but the content is driven by the participants and decided upon by YOU! It’s up to the participants to decide which topics are most relevant, interesting and important to talk about for that day. There will be three sessions of open speakers (decided on by group consensus), a fun breakout session featuring topics chosen by you, some wellness time and a fun speed networking event to help you build your network and collaborate with other green business owners.

Typically, there are two types of sessions that are audience-built: speaking sessions, and workshops. Check out the links there to learn more about each.

Why should I attend?

The Sustainability Unconference brings together entrepreneurs, local businesses, activists, writers, chefs, government and community members for a day of collaboration, innovation and design in a free space to create and develop new ideas, collaborate with local business for opportunities, network with sustainable businesses, and meet new friends. There will be good drinks, great food and engaging and stimulating activities all day long.

What is Speed Networking?

Speed networking is like speed dating, except instead of trying to pick up some hottie(s), you’ll be expanding your professional network rapidly! To learn more about this super fun Unconference agenda item, watch this quick video!

What is a Back-of-the Napkin Business Plan?

At the Sustainability Unconference, you’ll be given a chance to create a “back of the napkin” business plan that tackles a local sustainability challenge facing your community. The term “back of the napkin” emerged in common speech as a way to describe how those great “ah ha” moments often hit you at the strangest times (at a bar) and while you’re in a creative mindset (perhaps drunk). In our case, however, the unconference will have your creative juices flowing, and you may meet someone who holds the key to a part of the puzzle you’ve been thinking about for a long time. The business plan competition will start at the beginning of the unconference, and participating teams of 2-4 will be able to present their idea at the end of the day, right before the speed networking event. You will be given one sheet of paper to write your back of the napkin business plan on, and you will turn it in to a panel of judges. The community will vote on which business plan they think is best, and between that and the judges’ decision on the validity of the model, a winner will be chosen, and receive $100 in startup capital!

How do I register?

Find out when the Sustainability Unconference is coming to your city! Each of our unconferences has its own page, with registration info right on the sidebar.

How do I sponsor the event?

To become a sponsor of the Unconference and get your brand in front of the local green-minded community, click here. Note, you can sponsor one or many Unconferences. If you sponsor many, price breaks and extra perks are available. Each of our unconferences has its own page, with sponsorship info right on the sidebar.

Who is Important Media?

Important Media is an online sustainability media company that reaches ~3 million readers each month, and is the parent company of the Sustainability Unconference. The company has a network of over 20 blogs that cover sustainability news in a broad array of industries, including politics, business,  clean tech, food, building, water, personal care, and transportation. Check out all of Important Media’s sites here!


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