Once a year all Impact Hubs (80+ from all over the world) come together for the Global Impact Hub Gathering. This year, Seattle hosted the global event starting with a public conference, Unlikely Allies, on the future of cities followed by a 3-day community retreat for Impact Hub makers and some of our global partners. Located on Bainbridge island, we stayed at the Island Wood outdoor learning center, a wonderful place with 255-acre fairytale-like woodland.


The Impact Hub Global Gathering is the main event where all makers (people who run Impact Hubs around the world) meet in person to discuss issues and topics that are relevant for the global network. This year, over 170 people engaged in strategy updates, peer-to-peer learning circles, workshops, masterclasses and the General Assembly of the global Impact Hub Association.


In preparation for the event, the results of the Maker Survey (a current state analysis of how Impact Hubs and their makers are doing) have been shared in regional calls. What personally striked me and then also triggered many conversations during the event was the observation that there seems to be evidence that  Impact Hubs who actively cultivate their relationships with other Impact Hubs have a better financial performance. This does not come as a surprise since scientific studies proved this correlation earlier but is still a friendly reminder that what works in our communities is also true for us as a network.


In this context the presentation of our Co-Manifesto was a home game and luckily many of our colleagues seized the opportunity to engage in a discussion on how we could improve the collaboration within our maker network. The six principles of the Co-Manifesto are a no-brainer within the Impact Hub network, but figuring out what collaboration actually means for us and identifying the right levers and tools for improvement are more difficult in a democratic system such as the Impact Hub network. Therefore ideas ranged from “let’s find out how we share best practices to boost quality and growth across regions” to “let’s join forces to directly work on one of the millenium goals”.


Going forward, I would love to see more of both. Once again academic research reveals the secret of what supports intra-company collaboration: Next to a shared purpose and a collaborative mindset, tech infrastructure is the main enabler.