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The Table

The TableDrawing inspiration from the salons of 18th century Europe as well as the dinners Thomas Jefferson famously hosted (and used to make change happen), The Tabletm brings together the intriguing and the accomplished around a terrific meal and a pressing topic. The framework and guidelines are simple: open minds and an environment in which even the most unexpected ideas are nurtured rather than nuked. The focus is on working together to create vibrant conversations that will ignite shared passions. It is a place where ideas are shared and improved and where transformational connections can happen.

How do we make that happen? By creating dialogue and shared understanding, not debate. The event is about shared discovery; it’s not about being right.
Our favorite ground rule: only one person may speak at a time. All eyes and minds should be focused on that person. No side conversations.

The Tabletm is an expression of our core sensibility at Collective Next. It is a “sacred space” in which people can have a real dialogue in a human setting. It’s a relatively technology-free setting — no screens, no communication devices, no presentation aids. Its success is based on what its participants share and learn. People who attend leave armed with perspectives they never would have been exposed to otherwise, connections between disparate ideas they never would have imagined by themselves, and a sense that the world might be a little bigger and more surprising than they thought it was when they arrived. We have facilitated many Tables for our clients.

On October 2, 2014, Collective Next assembled three groups of speakers and thought leaders around the Boston area to discuss topics that felt both of the moment and as old as civilization itself. On that day, Collective Next had co-curated, for the sixth consecutive year, TEDxBoston, an independently organized TED event. In the evening, we hosted The Tabletm. Read this in-depth report of what our participants learned that evening.

You might want to run your own Tabletm, too. We’ve found the events to be provocative and motivating. If the format intrigues you, we encourage you to organize your own. All we ask is that you let us know in advance and share with us how it went and what you learned afterward. For more information on running your own Tabletm, contact us at