Scenes from our 'Summer of VERGE' party

It’s an interesting thought experiment: What does it means for a group of people to form an “ecosystem”? What does it mean to be part of one? What are the conditions conducive for an ecosystem of people to form and flourish?

In our own quest to explore some of these questions, and to nurture the local VERGE community here in the San Francisco Bay Area, we did what any self-respecting ecosystem convener would do: We threw a party.

Last week, we hosted a “Summer of VERGE” party atop our eighth-floor, window-wrapped office in the heart of downtown Oakland, Calif. About 100 friends and colleagues showed up to connect in the community spirit.

The gathering modeled all that VERGE represents: a silo-busting, cross-sectoral group of influencers and change agents, a microcosm of the larger VERGE network. I was reminded of why our mission is to cross-pollinate these oft-disconnected souls — and how that can accelerate our individual work and collective goals. We really do have so much to learn from and with one another.

The conversation pretty much covered the landscape (which we did, in fact, begin to physically map and intend to do more extensively). Let’s just say that a fly on the wall would have been more than a little confused about the kind of office in which she had landed.

There was rigorous dialogue between climate activists and a California state government official. Not far away were folks from large energy-consuming companies, brainstorming a collaboration aimed at disrupting today’s energy utility model. Access to innovative technologies was another conversational thread — this one among leaders of the solar, green economy and maker movements.

And, of course, there’s nothing like swapping ideas and business cards wearing a sparkly unicorn hat or rainbow wig. After all, who says capitalizing on the massive opportunities in the VERGE universe can’t be fun?

You could see the ecosystem taking shape. And, costumed or not, it was beautiful. See more photos from the party here.

Photos by Daniel Kelley for GreenBiz