Thursday, June 16, 2011

Update From Israel: Innovation to Innovation

What a whirlwind week. It was the kind of week where you blink and people, places, feelings, smells, everything just flies by. And, before you know it, you're hugging new friends and saying "good luck" on upcoming projects. The reality, of course, of the 2011 ROI Summit ending, is that we all know that this is merely the beginning, and goodbyes were almost, if I can be so bold, unnecessary.

And now? Well, now I'm prepping for the Israel Presidential Conference! The conference runs from Tuesday to Thursday (after which I'll be whisked away to Ben-Gurion International Airport for an overnight flight next week), and it's appropriately called "Facing Tomorrow." This is the third conference of its kind, and it will attract more than 4,000 people from around the globe dedicated to "designing a better tomorrow."

Having spent the past week with the ROIers, this is an appropriate followup. The ROI Summit included the most diverse group of people I've ever encountered in my entire life. There were people from Colombia, England, Belarus, Israel, the U.S., and, well, you get the idea. The interests of the participants were even more diverse than the people were.

TSome of the talent included the minds behind Sharsheret (the breast cancer initiative for Jewish women), PunkTorah, Jewish Farm School, Meet Gilad, the director of the film Orthodox Stance (about an Orthodox Jewish boxer),  Jewish Robot/Shabot6000 (ohmygosh this guy is amazing) and ... well, you get the idea. Diversity, genius, the whole crackerjack box of talent and innovation. There were 150 of us there, and if you're interested in really exploring the minds behind some innovative projects on Jewish dance, music, art, Ethiopian Jews, Russian Jews, volunteerism, just head over to the ROI Summit participant website. Don't be upset if you can't look at everyone because, to be completely honest, I didn't manage to meet everyone, and I was in the same space (virtual and otherwise) with them for five days!

I have a lot to say, a lot to write, and a lot of ideas that I really want to put out there and grow, including a project based on my Facebook group for converts called "Gerim Online." I should probably trademark that or something, right? I'm hoping to get a grant, a web developer, and some awesome minds to help me make something amazing happen.

And? Well, I'm hoping that maybe some of the great minds I'll be interviewing at the Presidential Conference can help me get this launched and going. If anything, I just want a pat on the back (of the shomer negiah variety, of course) and a "yes, this is an amazing idea that is going to move mountains."

Stay tuned, friends. Innovation is coming out my ears. At least, it feels like it is. I'm on "conference fatigue," so the next four days are time to recharge, and I'll be spending Shabbat down in the Gush if you need to track me down.

Oh! And, I forgot to mention, I finally met Benji Lovitt, @Jewlicious, and more! Check me out with Benji -- the man, the myth, the comedian.