The original hope was that we could actually get together in a room in person. Sound familiar?
Written by Jane Bisbee
When the plan to reconvene players from Alberta’s social economy ecosystem was launched, AB Seed members cautiously hoped we could repeat the inspiring 2019 Red Deer gathering. After all, the outcome of that meeting was a new determination to take the work to make a better economy for all Albertans into our own hands, and AB Seed was born.
But pandemic waves soon swamped any thought of an actual gathering (what most of us would give now to have to drive to a meeting in Red Deer – or anywhere, for that matter) so the team got to work on how to inspire the same engaged conversation, this time through a computer screen.
What the more than fifty people who gathered virtually in November 2021 caught was a different kind of wave. Waves of ideas. Dissection of the interconnected challenges faced by the sector, but also of huge potential. Spirited discussion around language, old-think and the need for a more inclusive, equitable community.
We heard about the work of our colleagues, both progress made and obstacles faced since the pandemic was declared. Examined the swell where the work is gaining momentum, as well as the undertow of challenges that might disrupt progress. We learned more about progress at AB Seed, both the work underway and the work still to be done.
Like that original meeting back in Red Deer, people left with a sense of renewed purpose.
When asked "so now what?" many committed to expanding their connections with others in the ecosystem, especially with those beyond familiar echo chambers. Or to look for new solutions through creative thinking and experimentation. The desire for more collective work centered on clarity of language, broader representation and engagement with diverse communities, and expanded relations with governments.
There is still more work to be done. The wave analysis of the meeting, which we invite you to take a look through below, captures this fact. But there is a growing understanding of the many players involved, the challenges and the potential, and the fact that we are in this together. Maybe next time, we will actually be together – maybe in Red Deer? But even if not, we know that if we continue to connect, there is little that can stop this wave.