Changemaker Bootcamp is a space for changemakers in the San Francisco Bay Area — people trying to make positive change in their companies, communities, and the world — to practice the skills they need to work effectively in groups.
It consists of six weekly two-hour sessions. Each bootcamp is limited to 12 participants.
Participants come to bootcamp with specific projects where they are trying to make change. These could be from work or something they’re pursuing on their own. They work out in a safe environment with other great changemakers, then they practice on their own with their projects that same week. The weekly format allows participants to integrate what they’ve practiced immediately into their work and to receive regular feedback, both of which increase the likelihood that what they’re learning will stick.
Participants practice skills for collective leadership, which will help them work successfully in any group context, from small teams or large networks. Specific skills include:
- Asking generative questions
- Strategic doing
- Listening and synthesizing actively and in real-time
- Navigating group dynamics and difficult conversations
- Designing and facilitating group engagements
- Working transparently
Changemaker Bootcamp is about practice, not teaching. You will be learning by doing, and you will be benefitting from the collective wisdom of all the participants, not just the trainer.
Bootcamp costs $695 for individuals, $995 if your organization will be covering your costs.
Changemaker Bootcamp is the brainchild of Eugene Eric Kim, cofounder of two social change consultancies focused on helping groups of all types — Fortune 500 companies, nonprofits, government agencies, foundations, and global movements — collaborate more effectively. Past projects have included:
- Co-leading the Delta Dialogues, a multistakeholder process around California water issues designed to rebuild trust and shared understanding in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta region
- Working with the CIO of a Fortune 500 company and his leadership team to better understand and implement best practices for global collaboration across the company’s entire IT division (consisting of several thousand people)
- Designing and leading the open strategic planning process for Wikimedia, where over 1,000 participants from all over the world co-created and aligned around a set of movement-wide priorities
After 10 years of working as a consultant and observing how unnecessarily low people’s collaborative literacy seemed to be, Eugene decided to shift his focus on changing this. He designs and leads each workout, and he documents what he learns openly on this website.
Changemaker Bootcamp has changed the way I approach my work, and I feel better equipped to navigate the various challenges I face on a daily basis as a result of my participation. Focusing on practice is brilliant, and Eugene is masterful as a trainer.
—Anna, fund development coordinator
Changemaker Bootcamp was a low-stress, high-fun development opportunity that stressed some important concepts that I don’t think about nearly enough in my work. One was that we too often look for expertise (in the form of consultants or trainings) when we actually have a lot more knowledge within ourselves and our network, if we can just ask the right questions to tease that peer/personal expertise out. I also loved the exercises, as they presented creative new ways to draw out expertise and think about group dynamics. Perhaps most importantly, Bootcamp reminded me that practice is required whenever I want to change my or others’ behavior. It was great to be introduced to a new network of people and knowledge that I can continue to explore.
—Renee, program officer
The opportunity to actively practice facilitation techniques and receive immediate feedback was directly transferable to my work in a very collaborative environment.
—Marie, community engagement coordinator
My favorite thing about Changemaker Bootcamp was the uncanny way in which it mirrored the issues that were coming up at work. Not only was I able to practice certain skills in a safe environment, but I also had the support and real-time guidance of my fellow participants and Eugene as I took that learning directly into the workplace. Eugene was intentionally non-directive with the learning, yet completely open when asked about the intent of the exercises. Also valuable was the online component, where participants posted ideas, reflections, and questions on the material between sessions.
—Natalie, assistant director
The Big Picture
Why a bootcamp? High-performance, collaborative fields (e.g., sports, music, medicine, cooking) tend to consist of 90 percent practice, 10 percent performance. In more traditional fields — especially in the social sector — the percentages are reversed. People are expected to learn how to work effectively in groups on the job in high-stakes situation with very little support.
Worse, the culture of group effectiveness seems oriented around acquiring that knowledge from outside sources rather than by developing those capacities through practice. No one thinks they can learn the guitar by reading a book, by attending a panel discussion, or by hiring a consultant to play it for you. And yet, this seems to be the default method for learning group skills.
The larger vision of Changemaker Bootcamp is to shift people’s mindsets about the importance of practice. The goal is to catalyze a movement that supports and encourages people’s desires and abilities to practice. We’d like to see bootcamps all over the world as well as other tools for supporting practice. If everyone had more opportunities to practice — even small ones — the world would be a much better place.
All of the workouts are available under a Creative Commons license. That means you may read them, steal them, change them, and redistribute them to your heart’s content, as long as you give us credit.
In other words, if you don’t live in the Bay Area or if the timing of these workouts doesn’t work for you, download the workouts and do them on your own. Even better, find workout partners. (We’ll help!) If you think you can do a better job of leading workouts than Eugene, or if you simply want to do them differently, and you want to offer your own bootcamps, please do! (Again, we’ll help! Really!) Just share what you learn widely, so that others may benefit from it.
For information on upcoming Bootcamps, please subscribe to our mailing list!subscribe
For more information, read our Frequently Asked Questions. If you have any further questions or thoughts, feel free to contact Eugene by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 415-513-5385.