Jeff's Takeaways from GPLEX 2019
Changing complex systems is not easy. At GPLEX 2019, we talked about how to tackle our region's toughest challenges. Our keynote speaker Damon Centola urged us to build stronger ties, to identify and cultivate "bridges" between networks, to create the conditions of possibility for systems change.
As Centola notes, networks are conduits for social capital. Some are broad and weak; others are strong and deep. Weak ties – like broad social media networks – are great for facilitating information flow. Strong ties – like those with family members, close friends, coworkers, and neighbors in our city of neighborhoods – are generally more powerful in changing behavior. Strong ties facilitate "complex contagions," such as cooperation and sustainable practices, which require more social reinforcement to get us to adopt them because they are challenging — even though they are ultimately more rewarding and durable.
The Economy League’s investment in GPLEX is an investment in possibility.
It is an investment in strong and deep ties between the leaders of our region. It is an investment in the bridges between your networks. It is an investment in creating the space for “complex contagions” to take hold.
The tough challenges we explored at GPLEX 2019 — inclusive economic growth, educational equity, the reintegration of tens of thousands of returning citizens, resiliency in the face of climate change, community-centered revitalization of disinvested and marginalized neighborhoods — will need your leadership, your networks, and your cooperation and commitment if we are going to address the bulwarks of prior knowledge, implicit and explicit biases, and the classic Nega-delphia trope, "we've always done things this way" that keep us from changing complex systems and moving forward together.
Over the course of the next year— until we embark on GPLEX 2020 in Detroit (!) — we will be working to facilitate deeper connections among our 1,100 GPLEX alums through the GPLEXer newsletter, through GPLEX 365 programming with our partners at Venture Café, and through other networking opportunities designed to bridge GPLEX 2019 to GPLEX 2020. Stay tuned and please stay involved!
And finally, if you haven’t done so, please fill out your post-event survey. Feel free to write me personally firstname.lastname@example.org with ideas and suggestions for making GPLEX the best, richest, most rewarding experience possible.