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How an article on LinkedIn and a university study tour triggered a global community of change


May 2018

12 American students and 1 professor visit Stockholm to learn from 11 Swedish organisations, redefining success and sustainability

Fast forward to…

October 2019

A diverse audience from over 50 countries (including representatives from multi-national corporations, SMEs, universities, NGOs, local communities and people from all walks of life) attend a global virtual summit to learn from 60 inspiring change-makers and thought-leaders

How did one come to another? Glad you asked. Let’s go back a few years…

The start: Sightseeing with retailers

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I’ve been organising study tours for international retailers and their suppliers for several years. It’s a great way for them to get out of their usual settings and gain a fresh perspective on how others solve challenges they are facing too.

In a nutshell: A blend of business focused sight-seeing, storytelling, sharing ideas and networking.

After I posted an article about the findings of one such event on LinkedIn, the American University in Washington, DC contacted me to organise a similar trip – but with a different purpose – for their Master of Science in Sustainability Management programme.

Curious? This is the article that started everything

A momentous trip to Stockholm

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Sweden is one of the world-leaders in sustainability and a hub for social and environmental change and development. So, we chose Stockholm as the destination for our first sustainability focused study tour with a university. We built an exciting one-week programme with hosts from different industries. Including companies as diverse as Ericsson, BillerudKorsnäs, Mälarenergi, Hobo Hotel or Vélosophy.

But what happened during this tour in May 2018 was more than just the insights our students gained from workshops with our inspiring hosts. All organisations were really open to share. They were passionate and genuinely concerned about the well-being of their employees, suppliers, society and our planet. And we soon realised, also our hosts started to benefit from each other, because of the reflections and inputs from our students.

They initiated discussions, identified synergies and cross-pollinated ideas between seemingly unrelated businesses and their challenges.

Keen to hear more? Find out what we learned during this study tour

The light bulb moment

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At the end of the week we realised: The solutions to our local and global challenges are already there. We ‘only’ needed to link the organisations, communities and individuals that discovered or created them. But also, connect the silos in our own thinking or between departments, disciplines, industries and countries. No easy task, it seemed.

We needed to create a ‘virtual study tour’ to bring together people from all walks of life. Launching a global conversation and platform to share and discuss effective solutions to the most pressing challenges of our time: Climate change, waste, inequality, food and energy security, personal health and wellbeing… to name just a few.

The beginning of a global community of change

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We wanted a launching event, relevant and open to everyone. That was affordable. Easy to reach. Independent. Unbiased. Bridging the wide gap between individuals, communities, businesses and countries. And for that we needed thought provoking speakers, addressing our most pressing local and global challenges from different perspectives. Sharing their own solutions to overcome them.

One year ago, I started to reach out to thought-leaders and change-makers from every continent to ask them for their contribution. One by one winning them over for this valuable cause. Whilst at the same time building a virtual team of volunteers to create the insights and platform itself.

Sideshift was born

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The result of 15 months of hard work was the Sideshift Summit from 26 September to 6 October. A virtual 11-day event that brought together 60 inspiring speakers like Tom Szaky, Tessa Clarke, Bob Chapman, Dr. Jemma Green, Paul Dunn, Bonnie Wan or Mac Macartney with a diverse global audience from over 50 countries and every single continent. Highlighting and discussing effective solutions for better well-being, success and sustainability.

And all that free to attend. Yet, built without any budget, sponsors or ads. Open for everyone to watch. Regardless of where they were in the world.

Missed the event? Learn more and enjoy a special screening

The next step: Walking together

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It was amazing reading all the positive feedback we received over the last two weeks. Some of my favourites so far:

‘Using Sideshift in my classes, including the Tom Szaky segment to kick off a lecture on consumer waste’

‘The production values are impressive’

‘So many great speakers that we can learn from’

‘Great videos on business and sustainability’

‘Get ready to be inspired!!!’

But this was just the beginning. On 15 January we will officially launch Sideshift, the first social opportunity platform. Globally connecting organisations, communities and people from all walks of life. To discuss challenges and share success stories. Focusing on better well-being, success and sustainability.

I now invite you to join us on our journey

  • Connect with me directly to discuss synergies, potential collaboration and to share your own stories
  • Register for our special screening to benefit from all the insights of our amazing speakers and experience for yourself what already inspired so many people from around the world
  • Be part and help us grow our global community of positive change
  • Share this article with your friends, family, colleagues and wider network
  • And comment below with your thoughts and ideas to help us shape the direction of our journey

Let’s all together create the world we want to live in!