Feedback LabsOctober 14, 2019

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What a day! Feedback+New York was a huge success – full of interesting speakers, intriguing questions and incredible food. But with so many sessions and announcements packed into one day, we need a bit of a recap. Ready to rewind?

With freshly brewed coffee and excitement in the air, Feedback+New York advisory committee members welcomed attendees and set the stage. Over the past few months, the advisory committee has worked tirelessly to make Feedback+New York possible. Their inputs and ideas helped lead the case for listening and curatde sessions with local changemakers.

Then, it was time to be inspired, and challenged.

Bill Easterly kicked of Feedback+New York with a talk about using feedback as an indicator for success, and gave us a few examples of unsuccessful feedback loops (Yankees game, anyone?)

Brian Vines joined for a back-and-forth about the importance of choice and empowerment in aid. With such a lively pair, we got our fair share of comedy, too.

Morning breakout sessions explored evidence and case studies about the value of feedback. We heard everything from international lightning talks, to arguments for the importance of community feedback in investing, to deep conversation on youth voice here in New York.

Research grantees from Fund for Shared Insight shared their work with Feedback+New York in a poster session. Researchers are studying the impact of feedback on everything from employment programs for returning citizens to in-home nurse visits for new mothers. We enjoyed seeing their learnings so far, and learning about their trajectory to make the case for listening.

Lunch is served! The beautiful Eat Offbeat spread was featured authentic dishes from around the world conceived, prepared & delivered by refugees who now call NYC home. Not only was the food delicious, but the mission is too.

As we enjoyed our delicious meal, and perhaps went back for seconds (or thirds!), Ambika Samarthya-Howard of the Feedback+New York Advisory committee opened up a lunchtime session exploring the value of feedback.

Sabrina Hargrave showed how feedback from elders in Brooklyn helped the Brooklyn Community Foundation figure out the “right” thing to do. Valerie Threlfall of Ekouté and Juan Clavijo of ORS Impact dove into the results from a recent Listen for Good evaluation to show how feedback is the “smart” thing to do. And Angela Eifert of Alight showed us that you can really make a difference in people’s lives with a $500 project if you let them direct the decision-making – feedback truly is a “feasible” thing to do.

Then, it was time for action.

Afternoon breakout sessions were all about co-creating with community. In an interactive session, Where We Live NYC and Hester Street lead us through their process for identifying root causes of discrimination and involving community in their decision-making process for equitable housing. Anthonine Pierre of the Brooklyn Movement Center drew connections between feedback and social justice movements. And Alison Carlman of GlobalGiving and Alexis Banks of RootChange shared their best practices for identifying and supporting community led change.

What’s a feedback summit without a bit of collaborative problem-solving? We closed off the day with a series of LabStorms. We explored community-informed municipal service design with Caroline Bauer and Parker Krasney of New York City Mayor’s Office for Economic Opportunity, the challenges of building feedback loops into city food procurement with Kathrin Frauscher of Open Contracting Partnership and Laura White of the City of Philadelphia, and the intricacies required to leave no one behind in the delivery of the Sustainable Development Goals with Elizabeth Lockwood of CBM International. The conversations were fruitful!

After a day of learning and sharing, we were ready to reflect on the case for listening. Sarah Cechvala and Michael Thatcher closed off the day with advice for making the case in a series of lightning talks, and then we collaborated as a group to envision next steps.

Community members also shared some exciting announcements! Fund for Shared Insight and Feedback Labs have launched concurrent blog series about the intersection between feedback and diversity, equity and inclusion goals. And the fondly named “Irritants” announced a new self assessment called “How We Listen”. We are thrilled to see feedback becoming the norm in the social sector.

We are so excited and humbled by this response to the first ever Feedback+ event. There are so many people who worked tirelessly behind the scenes to make these conversations possible – thank you.

But, making the case doesn’t end here. There are still so many more conversations to be had, and we hope you’ll join us in Puerto Rico for Feedback+San Juan February 26-28, 2020.

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