BizBash C.E.O. David Adler: Why We Are Starting a Recognition Program to Celebrate the Art of Working Together

Collaborate America will kick off with a ceremony for its first honorees on September 27 in Washington, D.C.

Posted September 6, 2016, 7:30 AM EDT

David Adler (@DavidAdler) is the C.E.O. and founder of BizBash and co-chairman of Collaborate America.

Innovation is always risky—but it’s worth it. I subscribe to the design firm Ideo’s premise of “Don’t get ready, get started.” So here goes.

Our culture is full of celebrated individual achievers: the home-run hitter in baseball, the pop artist in music, the hot designer in fashion, the company founder, the inventor. Yet throughout history, our biggest challenges have been solved by artful collaboration.

Imagine if the greatest collaborators—the conveners, facilitators, co-creators, negotiators, consensus builders, filmmakers, event producers, corporate project managers, legislators, community and N.G.O. organizers, and more—were as championed as our biggest public figures, and their philosophies, methods, behaviors, habits, routines, and tools were identified, promoted, celebrated, and, finally, emulated.

Since I started my company 18 years ago, I have had a front-row seat to watch the “live gathering” business change dramatically. The engagement tactics of meetings, conferences, and events are taking cues from festivals, social events, and marketing campaigns—and visa versa. The dreams of a connected, networked world are coming true before our eyes, thanks to collaboration artists who realize the importance of their craft.

Collaborate America, a group of event and meeting strategists and experiential marketers who have gathered together to spark the movement, believes that to codify, teach, enable, and celebrate collaboration would provide a universal ideal. Showcasing the importance of high-impact, artful collaboration and celebrating shining examples and their impact on the world may just turn out to be one of the most important collaborations in history.

We want to embrace an era of high-impact collaboration, enabling the next generation to work together to solve problems, invent the new, and improve the lives of people around the world.

On September 27 in Washington, as the Roof Terrace at the Kennedy Center inaugurates its new daytime conference space, 150 like-minded collaboration artists from a variety of nonprofit, not-for-profit, and for-profit organizations will gather to begin the journey by honoring and learning from some of the best minds in the world of collaboration.

Imagine the benefit of showcasing the importance of smart collaborations of all sizes and shapes, from modest challenges like moving a small corporate initiative forward to large-scale triumphs such as eradicating a disease.

We want this event to spark a movement. A movement that will multiply the power of collaboration. A movement that can, quite literally, change the world. We want the Collaboration Artist Award to be something that spreads, so the whole world appreciates how we program human interaction for smart outcomes.

Join our movement at and watch for our announcement of the 2016 Collaborate America honorees in the coming weeks.