MCDM Connect: Wine, Marshmallows, and Networks

A sparkling evening at Wine World Photo by Amy Rainey

A sparkling evening at Wine World
Photo by Amy Rainey

How do you spark lively conversation, meaningful professional connections and new ideas? In one all-too short evening? An un-conference just might be the way to go, especially when marshmallows and spaghetti are a part of the mix.

The MCDM Fellows have taken their responsibilities as Cohort 12 mentors seriously throughout this academic year, holding boot-camp style workshops and regularly connecting with the incoming cohort to answer questions. With Saturday night’s MCDM Connect event, they collectively rose to a lighter sort of occasion and hosted alumni, current, and incoming students for the first-ever MCDM Connect at Wine World. Over wine and hors d’oeuvres, attendees networked and explored career paths. Formality was out. It was all about cutting to the chase and focusing on connections and ideas.

 

Alums Peter Luyckx and Jordan Slaymaker admire their "disruptive" tower Photo by Anita Verna Crofts

Alums Peter Luyckx and Jordan Slaymaker admire their “disruptive” tower
Photo by Anita Verna Crofts

And how do marshmallows and spaghetti figure into a tech-intensive, media-savvy professional mixer? Early in the evening, unsuspecting MCDMers gathered around cocktail tables in groups of 5 to 6. Each team was handed a packet of 20 pieces of uncooked spaghetti, 1 yard of string, 1 yard of tape, and 1 marshmallow. The challenge: build the highest freestanding tower possible in 12 minutes with only those materials, with the marshmallow on top.

The Marshmallow Challenge famously fosters collaboration and innovation. Although the structures created at Wine World on Saturday night were measured for height, the unexpected directions taken by some teams were appreciated.

 

Evan Westenberger shows off a 3-D printer Photo by Scott Macklin

Evan Westenberger shows off a 3-D printer
Photo by Scott Macklin

A series of 30-minute conversation groups sprang up in each corner of the room where we explored provocative topics as diverse as 3-D printers, the potential for an MCDM student consulting, leveraging the MDCM degree, Death and Social Media, and much more.  Those wishing to explore a new technology could move beyond 3-D printing to dig into gestural computing. From new topics in journalism (how media covers breaking news) to information diets, a broad sweep of topics was explored.

“Lightning talks” – 5-minute on a variety of subjects were presented by anyone who had the expertise and the inclination to share knowledge and inspiration.

Hard choices had to be made between “Moving Mountains – Lessons Learned from Organizational Change”, “Content Murder on the Orient Express”, and “Online Marketing: A Use for Every Marketer”. Several of these were given or moderated by Fellows, but advance signups were open to everyone with expertise to share.

Fellows (l-r) Randy Leslein, Dean Hudson, and Amy Rainey with alum Mary Perkins Photo by Anita Verna Crofts

Fellows (l-r) Randy Leslein, Dean Hudson, and Amy Rainey with alum Mary Perkins
Photo by Anita Verna Crofts

 

For the MCDM Fellows – Amy Rainey, Dean Hudson, Evan Westenberger, Beth Koemans, Pam Kahl, Randy Leslein, and Kat Schroeder – this event was the culmination of a year of supporting the incoming cohort. MCDM alums and current students know each other a better now and new ideas are now being further explored.

The hard work of planning is over, but for those who made new connections or jumped on the bandwagon of an upstart idea, it’s just beginning.

Do you have a moment to share from last Saturday’s evet? An insight, or perhaps an idea that sprang from MCDM Connect? Let us know!

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