Big Idea Fest 2016

Last week I attended “Big Idea Fest 2016” (BIF2016) presented by the team at the Institute for the Study of Knowledge Management in Education (ISKME).  I did not know what to expect but I was eager to find out. After spending 3 days with the group, I can say “if you were not there, you missed out on some beautiful discoveries.” Don’t worry too much though, you have a year before the start of Big Idea Fest 2017!

Between the action collabs, workshops and presentations, it’s really tough to say what the most exciting part was, so I am just going to stick with All of It.  I heard several conversations of how “it was all so exhausting, but absolutely worth it.” I do know tears were shed and lives were transformed. After the first day, I personally walked around with a knot in my stomach that felt very much like high anxiety because of the networking involved, but after some inner-space searching, I realized it was huge feelings of empathy. I submersed myself in the process and was empathetic to the students that were at the event for what they are enduring in school. I was empathetic to the teachers I met for their desire to win the battle for their students. I was empathetic about the amount of work that we have to do, to be the leaders and change agents in a society that is always telling us “WE ARE WRONG.”

The group reviewing the hard work!

You know in my daily process, I laugh when I have tough conversations with people about school, life, relationships, education, politics, and society as there’s always an after conversation with ourselves that wonders, “Was I too harsh? Did I say the wrong thing? Was I disrespectful?” Then I get the phone call or message from another person concerned about if they stole my passion or desire to keep going. Cue the laughter now, because my response is echoed much like a broken record;

“I appreciate your concern, but hell no you didn’t steal my passion or desire, because this isn’t about us.”

@kevenhempel with @lavendercourage and @misspollock

This doesn’t happen at Big Idea Fest though. The tough conversations are met with respect for each others views, even when they are different. It’s like that old stretch armstrong doll, no matter how hard you pulled his arms or stretched his body, he always went back to his original shape. He was a little stressed here and there… but not broken.

Seriously, it’s about something greater than us. It’s about our children, it’s about our society, it’s about changing the world for generations to come. It’s about changing our world today.

BIF2016 taught me that no matter how lonely I often feel in the world, blazing out a path to a brighter future, there is an army of fighters alongside me. They are my team. They are the trailblazers that when told “NO” smirk and move on to the next person. Then when told “NO” again, like a boxer getting their tooth knocked out from a quick right hook, do it anyways. Yes that is us. We are todays innovators who are not scared, and will not back down to others concerns. Here we go “Knock, Knock, special delivery…..”

Dear Madam/Sir,

Please be aware we will respect your opinion, however if our belief is big enough at the time on what is the right thing to do, we will listen to your concern and do our own thing. Why? because that’s who we are. That’s how change is made. We are big thinkers, the dreamers, the doers. Let me take a moment and remind you of Peter’s Law #20 the creed of the persistent and passionate minded. Law 20 states:  “If you think it is impossible, then it is…..for you.”

Respectfully signed,

The Crazy Ones.

(In regular life we are the outcasts, but at BIF2016 we are normal.)



Big Ideas Fest 2016 brought hope and comfort for those of us that have felt like the world today is a scary place. (I’ll just leave that right there.) To the rest of the world that was not at this event….be prepared. We have been armed with a new way of thinking. We have been trained over the past couple days on how to be on the offense and not to worry too much about the defense. We have mind melted and been allowed the ability to disconnect from our technology. This has created a wealth of knowledge and ability to allow our big ideas to percolate like a fine brewed coffee.

Soon enough, we will be ready to serve a scolding hot cup of joe to our educational system, we will now be empowering the people with the products we build, we will be empathetically listening and searching for ways to plant other seeds within our broken data driven reports. We will infiltrate our sometimes demeaning and balloon deflating processes and procedures to breakout of the status quo. So be prepared.

To the team at ISKME: THANK YOU for all your hard work. Thank you for your dedication to putting on such a wonderful event. Thank you for the attention that was paid in allowing moments of greatness to be discovered. Most importantly thank you for putting your life on hold for a moment, to allow “our” big ideas to germinate and spread to the rest of the world.

To the universe: The soil has been tended, the seeds have been planted, the water has been poured……next comes the redwood forest of change. See you next year! Peace, love and education, stay positive people.