A few years ago, I had the opportunity to attend the Build Peace conference held at MIT in Cambridge, MA. I was curious about one of the items on the agenda – Ignite Talks. They were described as 5 minute presentations designed to spark (or ignite) one’s interest in a topic. I was skeptical, coming from the land of 1.5 hour workshops. How could someone share enough information to spark my interest in just 5 minutes? As I listened to these presentations, I found myself frantically jotting down page after page of notes – there was so much great information being shared! I was excited to know more, and found myself seeking out the presenters on breaks and after the meeting ended to make connections and ask questions.
I loved the Ignite Talk format, and was bound and determined to make these happen in the sexual violence prevention world. I started seeing more of these presentations offered at coalition conferences (shout out to the North Carolina Coalition Against Sexual Assault and the Virginia Sexual & Domestic Violence Action Alliance!), and saw how well they were received. Taking a note from our coalition partners, we organized 5 Ignite Presentations at this year’s RPE Leadership Training in Los Angeles. Topics included youth mobilization, the school to prison pipeline epidemic, implementation of a healthy relationships curriculum in Alaska, adopting the public health approach, and collective impact for social change. And they were a huge success. But don’t take my word for it – check out these videos that our partners at CALCASA/PreventConnect captured of all 5 presentations. We followed the Ignite presentations with roundtable discussions on each topic, facilitated by the Ignite presenters themselves. It was so powerful to see the crowd energized by the presentations and the discussions that followed. It took planning, preparation, and some coaching sessions (another blog post on that coming soon!), but the information sharing and networking that came about as a result of the talks was well worth it!
Have you attended an Ignite Talk? If so, share with us what you thought about it in the comments below.