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The Internet Society takes on many of the most important and challenging issues facing the Internet – and it does so on a global level.

The Internet Society Board of Trustees, at its 119th meeting, decided to hold the first ever virtual Global Community Forum for the Internet Society’s world wide membership to be called InterCommunity 2015 . Held in conjunction with the Board’s Annual General Meeting in Auckland, New Zealand, the event ‘followed the sun’, featuring concurrent, real­time forums around the world connected through the Internet to create one, hybrid global meeting. It ran from 20:00 UTC on 7 July 2015 to 09:00 UTC on 8 July 2015.

InterCommunity 2015 was designed to showcase the power of the Internet to transcend boundaries and to unify the Internet Society around the globe through an exchange of knowledge and ideas. This meeting enabled the Society’s 70,000+ global members, 108 Chapters, 135 Organization members and experts across the Internet technical community to come together virtually through a network of interconnected events across the world.

“This meeting has set a new precedent and showcased how the Internet can facilitate engagement and connections across distance and time,” noted Bob Hinden, Chairman of the Internet Society Board of Trustees. “The Board of Trustees welcomes this highly interactive opportunity to connect with and hear from our global community and to participate in a truly worldwide exchange of views using the technology we all care so much about.”

The InterCommunity 2015 was hosted from SkyCity in Auckland, co-­located with the InternetNZ NetHui conference. Forums were set up across Asia, Africa, Latin America, North America and Europe that were interconnected as part of this global meeting. The Internet Society Board of Trustees, President and CEO Kathy Brown, and limited support staff were present in Auckland, while the Executive team and staff will be positioned at regional events closest to their base cities.

“This was an amazing opportunity to show that the Internet can help us overcome geographical constraints and truly connect with our global community”, noted Kathy Brown. “I encourage community members to take advantage of this unique Internet Society community event to share ideas, listen to each other’s concerns and hear perspectives from different regions.”

15 regional node events were hosted across multiple time zones. Internet Society Members can access preliminary event details on the InterCommunity page in Connect. Non­-members are encouraged to join the Internet Society to take part in this exciting event.

Enabling the communities of the Internet Society to connect using live meetings and the internet during this first InterCommunity 2015 will allow the Internet Society Board of Trustees, at its upcoming Annual General Meeting, to engage and involve Chapters , Members , and other community partners .

This first step in creating a new global hybrid event was a first for the Internet Society and allowed the core communities to discuss and debate essential topics. These will include Access and Development , live online debates on Internet Governance as well as node and community discussions on collaborative security .

By attending and contributing, participants were part of a global conversation looking to reinforce the shared idea about the future of the internet.

Discussions highlighted diverse perspectives, were transparent, open and inclusive to create a cohesive and receptive society with a clear purpose, vision and brand.

Not just the best idea, but the shared idea will create organisational confidence, identity and cohesion in this first step in Internet Society change. InterCommunity 2015 was to be an organisational landmark using the Internet to connect the Internet Society.

The design process

Within a time frame of 6 months, using the Event Model Canvas methodology a wide cross section of staff was involved in the creation of this brand new global event which took place across the globe on 7&8 July 2015 starting in Auckland, NZ and following the sunrise across the world to connect the Internet Society across all time zones in 24 hours.

Using the #EventCanvas framework we synthesised inputs from dozens of people and from there were able to drill down to six core stakeholder groups, mapping out needs, goals, and metrics for each of them. One result was the emergence of three key areas of discussion for the meeting: Internet governance, improving security and trust on the Internet, and ensuring Internet access for everyone in the world.

Given the ambitious scope, technical logistics, relatively short, six-month planning window, and other factors, projections for the first-ever event were modest, but in the end it far exceeded expectations. Stakeholders, even those on the technical side, were surprised and flabbergasted to experience what an Internet event could be. InterCommunity 2015 set a new benchmark in this space.

InterCommunity allowed individual viewers who were not physically present at one of the 15 regional nodes to engage through a chat tool within the event’s interface, and to participate in polling and surveys using a Social Q&A app as well as social media. Attendees at regional nodes could interact with each other and, in most cases, with other nodes, as well as with the Auckland host site. The Internet Society used small touches and details to build community identity, from kicking off the program by showing individuals from around the world holding identical photo frames branded with the InterCommunity logo, to ending each of the two global sessions by having participants at the host and remote locations simultaneously launch paper airplanes.

See the PCMA Convene Magazine article here:

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