Idea Swap

Swap Ideas Day Flyer-05

Today, I’m thinking about an upcoming event. With some ideas percolating in my cranium and others made visible here in print, reaching out to you seems like a worthwhile pursuit, especially since this event is an idea swap.

A Thinking Forward event

In the U.S., there seems to be a day dedicated to just about everything, including swapping ideas. To celebrate National Swap Ideas Day on September 10, Thinking Forward, a speaker’s troupe that I co-founded, has assembled a very impressive group of innovators, all in the early stage of their careers. They will share their ideas on what is needed to transform this world into a richer, more vibrant place and convey how they have put these ideas to work in a specific area of interest in their communities. The talks are about the protection, growth, and renewal of land and people; an economy where community is wealth; zero waste; a multidisciplinary approach to connecting people to places; and solar technology.

As a balance to these serious topics, a group of young performers will dance Reggaeton from Puerto Rico, providing a look at how owning one’s culture through the arts can enrich one’s life and community.

I know that our winning cast of presenters will shine and illuminate our knowledge of subjects in which they care deeply.

My role

Up to now, my role has involved finding a venue; assembling the speakers; collecting, drafting, and proofing content for promotional pieces; adding to our distribution list; and spreading the word via social media.

I still have another important task before me—develop a 10-minute idea swap activity that gets everyone thinking, participating, and sharing. The room will likely be set up with small groups at tables, making interaction easy. Imagine that you are sitting at one of the tables, along with several friends and colleagues. You are listening to the instructions for the idea swap activity.


Here are my preliminary ideas for an idea swap activity.

  • On one side of an index card, write or sketch your specific area of interest. On the other side, write or sketch your idea for transforming this world into a richer, more vibrant place in your specific area of interest. (The moderator reads aloud as many cards as time allows and indicates that the content of all cards will be posted on the Thinking Forward website.)
  • Reflect on the ideas you heard today and the people you met. On the program flyer for today’s event, write down your takeaways—what you want to remember and act upon, whom you want to include as valuable resources for transforming your world. Share your takeaways with others at your table and with the group at large.
  • On the picture of a Main Street, neighborhood, or other community setting that has been distributed to your table, consider what you would remove, add, or otherwise change to create a richer, more vibrant place. Write your idea for change on an index card. Swap your card with someone else and describe your idea.
  • You have received a piece of a puzzle. See if you can use it to help put a puzzle together. (The puzzle, already partially completed, is on a table in the room.) Share with others at your table and the group at large how you, like a piece of a puzzle, can be part of transforming your world into a richer, more vibrant place.

Your input

Let’s swap some ideas here and now. How would you modify, enhance, or combine the four options for an idea swap activity? What new activity would you suggest? I’m all eyes. I’m all ears. I’ll let you know what activity we use. Better yet, if you’re in the area, register for the idea swap.

  1. Mary said:


    For option #2, that sounds like it might lend itself to a “speed swap” where people share their idea, describe, swap, and keep swapping until a time limit is reached or some other criteria. They should be advised that if their idea or the new one they are describing changes in the telling that’s fine – that is one ways ideas develop.

    For option #1, why not use those ideas / sketches as pieces of the puzzle for the later activity.

    Another idea to include with the puzzle activity: Have groups brainstorm everything they can think of regarding the dance they just saw (feelings, dance moves, colors, whatever comes to mind) and have the group or each person choose one thing they would like to retain from the dance that they would like to include in the puzzle (for the later activity).

    • Thanks so much, Mary. I love now having new ways to think about combining some of the options for an idea swap activity.

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