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Distributed collaboration: Advancing social transformation in Brazil

Reos Partners
May, 2020


In this time of crisis, our network is rising to the occasion by creating virtual convening spaces-where important conversations can take place, relationships are strengthened, and partnerships engaged. In mid-April, we transformed a 70 person social innovation gathering, slated to be held in São Paulo, Brazil, into an immersive 3-hour virtual experience. The online event delivered inspiring exchanges and learnings, networking opportunities, and powerful thought leadership for Brazilian social change leaders along with members of Reos Partners’ leadership team from North America, Europe, South Africa and Brazil.

Participants connected and explored collaborative, experimental and distributed approaches to transformations across themes, sectors and geographies to advance the complex issues in Brazil, especially in a post Covid-19 world.

Collaboration is more important than ever

The gathering featured speaker Adam Kahane, co-founder and director of Reos Partners. Kahane reflected on the current global pandemic, “The current crisis is making things that were always there but hard to see, visible, including incredible interdependence, deep inequalities and what good and bad leadership looks like” He further offered ways to continue to deepen collaboration amongst diverse players and advance social transformation through distributed stretch collaboration.

“Collaboration is more important than ever in a time of Covid-19. While reflex action has a place in this emergency it will not get us out of the crisis in the way we desire. It is more distributed physically and therefore allows us to work with more diverse teams, multi-stakeholder, multi-city, multi-country. Collaboration is more urgent, which means that we need to try new things and iterate more often and quicker. It is necessary, possible and what is required is to simply step into the game”. -Adam Kahane

Ready, Set, Innovate

Following the talk, participants broke out into separate Zoom rooms to learn more about multisectoral social transformation projects convened by leading organizations around the world and supported by Reos. Using a virtual whiteboard, participants explored challenges and opportunities in thematic areas including energy and climate, natural resources, land and food, health, education, social and economic inclusion and peace, democracy and governance. Despite the challenging context Brazil faces, participants got a sense of what is possible when people come together to address pressing and complex challenges. They left the session with a few insights for how to move forward and a recognition that collaboration is crucial and necessary, more than ever in a post COVID-19 world.

In spite of the limits of technology in a virtual gathering space, there was a real sense of warmth and connection. Participants reported they were motivated to continue their collaboration and hoped to meet in person going forward.

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