Spark Camp : Visionaries, Leaders and Managers

We are in the midst of a significant rethinking of how organizations should operate. Zappos — a shoe merchant — recently announced it was doing away with bosses, following in the footsteps of organizations like the software development and distribution company Valve. The media company Upworthy chose to forego an office; its employees work in a remote capacity, with retreats timed to welcome new recruits in person.

Organizational shifts like these were the inspiration for our latest camp — Spark Camp: Visionaries, Leaders & Managers. The camp, held at Harvard University June 19-22, 2014 focused on the future of leadership and management in a networked age.

We owe a big thanks to the sponsors of Spark Camp: Visionaries, Leaders and Managers. We are honored to collaborate with our local Boston hosts, the Nieman Foundation at Harvard University and WBUR. We’re also grateful for the support of WBUR, the Knight Foundation, Google, hint and Webbmedia Group.


Theme: Visionaries, Leaders and Managers

Our camp brought together individuals who are reinventing the ways people work together. 

Campers set the agenda for our conversations, which included likely topics that we’re all curious about: What’s the role and importance of a company’s culture? How are cultures formed and kept vibrant? If the consequence of having autonomous and independent teams means your organization has many cultures, how do you retain a culture that unites? How do you support your increasingly independent employees to do their best possible work while making sure they’re operating in harmony with their peers? (For more detail, please see our original camp announcement) Recorded talks given by campers as part of our ‘Spark Story Hour’ can be found here on YouTube.


Our activities took place in three primary locations around Boston and Cambridge. Our basic schedule was as follows:


  • • Registration in the lobby of our hotel no later than 5pm.
  • • Board shuttles at 5-5:15pm for evening activity.
  • • 6:00pm – 11:00pm: Evening cocktails and dinner, introductions and camp overview, Spark Camp Story Hour, and session pitching.
  • • Return to hotel 10:45pm.


  • • Optional morning activities: For Campers who want to participate in jogging or yoga, we’ll coordinate morning sessions depending on interest. There are beautiful and easy-to-find running routes along the Charles River.
  • • 9:00am – 9:00pm: Camp sessions, group activities and all meals at the Lippmann House on Harvard’s campus. Walk from hotel to Lippmann (approx. 10 minutes).
  •  Spark Camp Game night: We’re playing Cards Against Humanity and Celebrity, and there will be plenty of refreshments.


  • • Optional morning activities
  • • 9:00am – 5:00pm: Camp sessions, breakfast and lunch at the Lippmann House on Harvard’s campus. Walk from hotel to Lippman (approx. 10 minutes).  
  • • 5:00pm – 7:45pm  Fenway tour


  • • Optional morning activities
  • • 9:00am – 2:30pm: Camp sessions, group activities and all meals at the Lippmann House on Harvard’s campus.
  • • Closing: We’ll wrap up Camp with some special activities starting at 2:00pm. Camp officially ends at 2:30pm.

If you’d like to attend a future Spark Camp, please nominate yourself.