The Fowler Center for Business as an Agent of World Benefit facilitated the Cleveland Rising Summit this fall.
The Summit, which took place on October 29-31, 2019 at the Cleveland Public Auditorium and attracted more than 600 people, used the Appreciative Inquiry methodology developed at Case Western Reserve University by Dr. David Cooperrider, Faculty Director of the Fowler Center for Business as an Agent of World Benefit, and Dr. Ron Fry, professor of Organizational Behavior at the Weatherhead School of Management. The summit invited all members of society to participate in the two-and-a-half-day event to co-create Cleveland’s economic future.
The plan for the Cleveland Rising Summit originated in 2018 from conversations between several business leaders, nonprofit executives and other stakeholders in the community as a way to capture everyone’s stories, knowledge, needs and dreams of Cleveland’s economic future.
The goal of the Cleveland Rising Summit was to set big, exciting and attainable economic goals that raised the community’s hopes and help to create a strong economic future by 2030. This process was also designed to build trust, include diverse voices, identify the region's strengths and set the stage for new and lasting collaborations that will bring new businesses and talent while supporting existing businesses throughout Greater Cleveland. Topics discussed ranged from creating economic growth goals, to propeling entrepreneurship, to enabling racial healing, to creating safe and inclusive neighborhoods. Participants broke into 32 groups around actionable designs and created their visions for Clevleand in 2030.
"CLE Rising is just the beginning of what I hope becomes a sustained and much larger movement," said MBA Candidate at Case Western Reserve University, Annie Morino. "As a participant, I was proud to meet and work with so many people committing to making progress in Cleveland. I am part of the working group dedicated to broadening access to the entrepreneurial ecosystem, especially among historically marginalized groups. I look forward to bringing more people into the fold to help us figure out what the most equitable solution looks like."
The Cleveland Rising Summit had several guiding values:
: We are committed to results and to holding one another responsible for achieving them.
: We are committed to an open process in which all are welcome and information is shared, accessible and true.
: We will be comfortable with discomfort, fearless in the face of challenges and bold and brave as we take risks to become the community we aspire to be.
: We care for one another, and we care about this place; we act out of empathy and compassion; we will do what it takes to be truly inclusive, and we will find joy in the journey.
: We will create an inclusive economy where jobs and the means of wealth creation are accessible to all.
“There was a widespread sense of an exciting launch and a growing community-of-action,” said Cooperrider. “The closing session of Cleveland Rising showed the three- day's impressive body of work, the shared aspirations, and the prototype projects of some 20 working groups. It was a privilege to be part of it all and there was a powerfully palpable moral energy--a collective promise-- to grow good jobs and to make real breakthroughs in equity, inclusion and opportunity for all.”
Learn more about the Appreciative Inquiry method developed in Cleveland at Weatherhead.
Learn more about the Cleveland Rising Summit.