No panels. No slide decks. And essentially, no keynote speakers.


Instead, six conference attendees took 15 minutes each to share a story, notion, thought, project or idea to seed people’s thinking. These moments, dubbed "Firestarter Sessions," fueled creativity, analysis and inspiration for the work ahead.

Mayor Sly James


ESHIP Summit Kickoff: Mayor Sly James | 5:02

Mayor Sly James kicked off the inaugural ESHIP Summit, welcoming 450 ecosystem builders: "You're here to innovate. You're here to do things. You're going to combine with civic leaders, venture capitalists, business leaders of people who have social aims in their programs and with entrepreneurs, and you're going to come up with innovations that help people. This is a city of innovation, a city of entrepreneurs, a city of arts, a city of culture, a city that loves people and people love our city. Welcome to Kansas City."

David McConville


ESHIP Firestarter: David McConville | 15:06

David McConville, chairman of the Buckminster Fuller Institute, explores the ways that different paradigms have shaped human history (i.e. how we see the world, shapes how we interact with it) from the times of Plato, Aristotle, Copernicus, to the Industrial Revolution, the Space Age and today. As we shift out of the Industrial Age into a new era, David explores how we must adapt a "living systems paradigm," to create truly diverse, collaborative, self-organizing, resilient, open-source and regenerative communities, if human civilization is to progress positively forward.

David’s presentation is best viewed prior to viewing Carol Samford’s related talk below.

Carol Sanford


ESHIP Summit Firestarter: Carol Sanford | 14:03

Carol Sanford, author of The Regenerative Business, shared the seven first principles for all living systems and how that translates to ecosystem building work and supporting entrepreneurs. "You can't build an ecosystem without knowing the ecology of how it's nested."

Carol’s presentation is best viewed after to viewing David McConville’s related talk above.

Melissa Bradley


ESHIP Summit Firestarter: Melissa Bradley | 14:37

Melissa Bradley, director of Project 500, stressed the urgent, economic need to get uncomfortable, confront racism and invest in those who have been historically marginalized in her Firestarter, "The Return on Investment in Diversity and Inclusion."

Paulo Gregory Harris


ESHIP Summit Firestarter: Paulo Gregory Harris | 16:17

Paulo Gregory Harris, designer, inventor and community builder from Baltimore, shares Cohado, a game he invented that explores fundamental principals that govern sustainable and inclusive living systems. He contrasts the principles of Cohado with what he calls a "masculine paradigm": a system that dominates our communities of today, a city of oppression that keeps those at the top isolated from those at the bottom, rather than embracing the opportunity of wellness that would be available if everyone worked better together.

Victor Hwang, Julie Lenzer, Brad Feld and Steve Case


ESHIP Summit Firestarters: Victor W. Hwang, Julie Lenzer, Brad Feld and Steve Case | 36:29

We invited four of the early voices in the field of entrepreneurial ecosystem building to discuss how far the field has come and where it’s headed.

Victor W. Hwang and Philip Gaskin


ESHIP Summit Firestarters: Victor W. Hwang and Philip Gaskin | 18:35

Victor W. Hwang, vice president of Entrepreneurship at the Kauffman Foundation and Philip Gaskin, chief of staff and director of entrepreneurial communities at the Kauffman Foundation, provided closing remarks.