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Silicon Flatirons - Conference - Community, Creativity, and #GiveFirst

When Thursday, October 18, 2018
1:00 PM - 6:00 PM
Location Wittemyer Courtroom
For Public; Faculty; Staff; Students; Alumni
Cost General - $15 ($20 at the door), CU Students/Faculty/Staff/Alumni - free

#GiveFirst is an oft-mentioned - and encouraged - approach to entrepreneurial community interactions. #GiveFirst refers to the willingness of an individual to unilaterally help others without securing a guaranteed benefit in return. As author and investor Brad Feld notes, this approach is "not altruistic - you do expect to get things in return - but you don't set up the relationship to be a transactional one."

In this annual entrepreneurship-themed conference, Silicon Flatirons will convene entrepreneurs, academics, and investors to analyze #GiveFirst. The conference will begin with a discussion between Brad Feld and Sam Zell, moderated by Scott Peppet. The conference will examine conditions where a #GiveFirst mentality emerges, how #GiveFirst adapts over time, and ways in which #GiveFirst influences the outcomes in companies as well as throughout the startup community.

This conference will explore three perspectives:

First, the conference will examine entrepreneurial communities and #GiveFirst behaviors. What conditions allow #GiveFirst to emerge as a norm startup interaction? Moreover, where it exists, what determines whether #GiveFirst is maintained or evaporates over time? A body of scholarship, called generalized exchange theory, analyzes similar behaviors. As Robb Willer notes, "Generalized exchange refers to the indirect giving and receiving of benefits among three or more people who belong to the same group, organization, or network." The conference will consider whether entrepreneurial communities can learn from the study of generalized exchange about ways to nurture and sustain #GiveFirst norms.

Second, the conference will analyze the individual perspective. In particular, how does a strategy and pattern of behavior work out for individuals who embrace #GiveFirst? Wharton Professor Adam Grant's work, for example, explores how "otherish" habits fare as a professional strategy. The conference will consider the conditions where otherish behaviors work and fail. Finally, informal relationships work well for individuals who are part of a network; does this marginalize individuals who are from groups that are not traditionally part of a startup scene?

Third, the conference will explain how #GiveFirst affects startups and, more specifically, how startups assemble resources and generate innovation. Stanford Professor Woody Powell highlights network alternatives to the classic make vs. buy organizational choices. Further, the work of Harvard Professor Teresa Amabile and University of Rochester Professor Edward Deci underscores the connection between context and creativity. How does #GiveFirst affect creativity and innovation? How does this research inform the organizational structure of startup activity?

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Contact Vanessa Copple