The Bellagio Center/

Convening Design

Convenings have enormous potential to drive impact. For decades, global leaders have come together at the Rockefeller Foundation’s Bellagio Center, using convening as a tool to map the landscape of emerging fields, to forge new alliances, to discover breakthrough pathways to impact, and to accelerate collective action in addressing the world’s toughest challenges.

Yet, many convenings never achieve their full potential. We’ve all attended a gathering where participants were distracted or disengaged. Where we didn’t connect meaningfully with the content. Where there was a missing crackle of energy between the participants.

Intentional design can bridge that gap. Design enables a convening to achieve its full potential in the moment. More importantly, it creates the greatest chance of achieving a long tail of impact afterwards. Our design support is intended to help you achieve the full potential of your Bellagio convening by sharpening your focus on a single purpose and crafting a structure that delivers a meaningful participant experience.

Required Bellagio Templates

Participant Agenda and Bio Template: All convening participants should be provided an agenda, allowing them to prepare for the intended dialogue. All participants (including speakers, moderators, etc.) should submit a photo and bio information for compilation into the provided template.

Participant Agenda and Bio Template

Post-Convening Brief Guidance: We ask all convening organizers who use the Bellagio Center to produce a two page summary of outcomes and intended actions post-convening. We recommend building discussion time into your agenda on this topic towards the end of your convening, in order to maximize your impact. This template can be used to guide that conversation and is required as the format for the post-convening summary.

Post-Convening Brief Guidance

Optional Project Management & Production Resources


Project Management Template:
This project management template is a tool covering design, production, and logistical steps at recommended milestones. Please note that the recommended timelines provide general guidance, but may need to be adapted to your specific needs.

Project Management Template


Convening Production Guide 2022:
A comprehensive introduction to convening production and key roles.

Convening Production Guide

Optional Design Resources


Convening Design Guide:
A comprehensive introduction to the practice of convening design and how to apply it in achieving your convening goals.

Convening Design Guide


Moderator Agenda Template:
Convening moderators can use this document to see “at a glance” agenda topics, timing, and production notes relevant to moderation.

Moderator Agenda Template


Design Blueprint:
A tool for refining your thinking on convening purpose and participant experience.

Convening Design Blueprint


Facilitation Guide:
A guide for helping you select the right facilitation model for your convening, a list of trusted facilitators, and recommended facilitation techniques.

Facilitation Guide


Virtual Participation Guide:
A guide on hybrid participation at Bellagio and how to make intentional choices about remote engagement that serve your convening purpose.

Virtual Participation Guide


Conversation Cards:
A set of question prompts, printed on individual cards, that can be used to facilitate connection between convening participants. Be sure to ask your conference coordinator in advance if you’d like to take advantage of this resource.

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