This piece originally appeared on the California Economic Summit blog.
The 500 people who attended the California Economic Summit on May 11 in Santa Clara were asked what worked well and what needed improvement. Nearly a quarter of attendees completed an online survey sent to them after the event. Their responses were informative.
About 62 percent of respondents were satisfied with the Summit, and 70 percent felt they had adequate opportunity to provide input. More impressive were the indicators of ongoing commitment. Nearly 80 percent plan to continue participating in Summit activities, 84 percent agreed that the Summit should be repeated next year, and close to half of respondents signed up to champion one or more initiatives coming out of the Summit.
Here are some of the comments that we saw:
“I really appreciated the plenary speakers who framed the problem and encouraged us to work on solutions that come from the local jurisdictions. You Can Do It!”
“Interaction with smart, informed people committed to reviving the prospects for the Golden State.”
“This was not just about my region, this was about how the whole state needs to come together to be competitive again.”
“What we’re talking about (and trying to solve) on a regional level is identical to statewide conversations. We need to be less isolated – need to share solutions, progress, measurements.”
“[I gained] deeper understanding of just how broken the system is and a renewed hope in the capacity and level of engagement for achieving realistic solutions.”
“[I learned] how some regions have already solved some of the most important issues without waiting for a statewide solution.”
“Right people, right time, right agenda.”
Room for Improvement
Summit attendees also thought there was room for improvement and offered many suggestions, led by calls for more in-depth participant dialogue and improved facilitation.
Less than half of survey respondents felt that the Summit had resulted in clear action initiatives for generating jobs and improving regional competitiveness.
Most were keenly interested in hearing about concrete next steps and opportunities to stay engaged. The action-orientation of this crowd came through loud and clear:
“Continue the dialogue; if not all of the efforts will be for naught. Need to capture the positive momentum.”
“Turn champions into coherent teams with enough resources and oversight to actually implement some of our dreams.”
“Consolidate input and get it back to participants with a call to action. Need to know how we will approach these issues and how we can help one another.”
“[Create] continuous working groups to work together all year round to define needed actions and to work across regions and industries to pursue implementation.”
“Government needs to stop talking about issues and start forming plans and setting them in motion. The Summit was a great first attempt but I feel that more group discussion about plans of action and how to implement those plans needs to be done. I, for one, as a business owner would like to take a team of people from the Summit and present a plan for immediate action and have my team […] begin the process at the Summit of setting things in motion.”
“Continued communication. Maintain the Energy!
Complete survey results are available here.
Summit canvases remain open to attendees through June 15. The public may contribute to their ideas here.
Expect a full report of Summit results on this website on June 30, with regular tracking of progress toward implementing Signature Initiatives.