Maynard: WHAT I'M EXCITED ABOUT GPLEX 2022
September 12, 2022
By Dave Maynard
October in the city of Motown and Motor City will be my third GPLEX and my first out of town-- so why do I keep adding GPLEX to my calendar? The way GPLEX has worked during the pandemic is much of my "why". Hang with me as I try to show how.
In the time of lockdown, my first GLPEX experience became a civic hack, I never met a single one of the participants, but we worked on problems that hold Philly back. In my day job with City Council this was both typical and decidedly not so- at GPLEX, everyone wanted to work to address the places where we as a region weren't living up to our highest ideals, we had different ideas of how to get there but getting there was a common goal- I learned this GLPEX thing was a space of potential productivity- rare among conferences.
In my second GPLEX, I met folks in real life who cared about regional problems and wanted to work on them. I left with a positive set of interactions with a wide range of potential partners, people who wanted to jump in and get to work. Civic improvement is hard, often lonely work and partners who want to try and are willing to fail are even more rare than the potential productivity I'd noticed in 2020. GPLEX had my attention.
This fall in Detroit I expect to spend time with problem solvers who want to get involved and dirty while spending times around another city’s models, both positive and cautionary, from a place that has eerie parallels with my hometown of boo bird who are convinced (and sometimes right) that their town is the center of the universe. GPLEX has looked different for me than perhaps legacy GPLEX structures, its ability to pivot, produce partnerships and share models for impactful change during the pandemic has allowed GPLEX to shine, and hopefully to come back from Detroit with a workable model or two.
Thanks to Danya, Arun, Kiersten, Chrystina, Ann Marie, Morgan and a host of others who've given me an idea of what GPLEX can be and Jeff who provides a space where GLPEX isn't a conference, it's part of how Philly as a region moves forward, inventively, together.