It’s like TED meets a hackathon
The Feast started out in 2008 as a medium for people trying to build a brighter future from the bottom up. Over three October days every year in New York City, 350 leaders, artists, and experts would come together to ideate on how to solve a set of pressing global issues. At its core, The Feast was a community of bold dreamers, eager to make the world a better place.
From its humble beginnings, the annual social innovation conference had defined itself as a time, space and format for crowdsourcing solutions to society’s most wicked challenges. Over time, however, The Feast recognized two trends:
- Its audience had grown and transformed. More people, from all walks of life, wanted to be involved in this movement, yet The Feast only provided an outlet for the high-profile attendees of its invitation-only conference.
- Amazing connections were made at the conference each year, but too few of those relationships, insights, and solutions survived after the event was over.
So, how might The Feast give lasting motivation, credibility, and community to people seeking out their purpose?
The journey began with an in-depth audit of the organization’s business model, operations, and event data—quite a task for a small startup with little concrete infrastructure. Doing an analysis and ethnography of 3500 attendees across 40 events helped us to understand motivations, aspirations, and behaviors around social innovation and how they applied to The Feast.
Observations and contextual inquiries at Feast events and other social impact gatherings informed the team that The Feast wasn’t just a tool for people doing world-changing work. It was a catalyst for people seeking purpose. Interviews with roughly 15 attendees, sponsors, and/or partners revealed that the people who engaged with The Feast were well-endowed with hope, but needed the motivation and inside knowledge to make a meaningful change.
These people fell into three groups:
Established changemakers: Those who have made a name for themselves with their work and felt a personal obligation to support up and coming initiatives. These people know their purpose and seek ways to push its limits.
Daydreaming Dayjob-ers: Those who believe in positive change, but haven’t quite figured out how to make it a part of their day-to-day routine. These individuals seek to evolve personally and professionally into social innovators.
Bright-eyed earthmovers: Those who are taking a chance on social innovation early in their careers and lives. These folks have committed their life’s work to positive change and seek out enablers.
Introducing The Feast Commons
Through a number of brainstorms and workshops, we arrived at a novel membership platform, dubbed The Feast Commons, that connects would-be, soon-to-be, and still-strong social innovators through powerful experiences and tailored technology.
Introducing The Feast Commons
We dubbed the program "The Feast Commons." More than just a general set of perks for fixed prices, The Feast Commons was designed to create a community supported experience for individual growth. The idea was that, by collaborating in The Feast's ecosystem, members would eventually transform into the persona group they aspired to. The new model entailed:
- Exclusive access to The Feast Connects, a digital platform that allows active change-makers to share and contribute to specific social innovation initiatives
Within nine weeks of our initial investigation, I had drafted a financial projection, pricing structure and launch strategy for the new model and designed an early-stage pilot of the membership community. The application-based community quickly gained 150 inaugural members and generated early revenues months ahead of schedule.