By Bay Stephens EBS Staff Writer

BIG SKY, Mont. – What mark on a tombstone bears the most importance?

The dash between birth and death date that represents one’s lifetime. The music group Sons of Serendip shared this insight during a performance at the HATCH summit at Big Sky’s Moonlight Basin Lodge from Oct. 3-7, where 100 hand-picked individuals were brought together to level the dash of their lives at hatching a better world.

In the words of Bozeman, Montana-based HATCH founder Yarrow Kraner, the summit is built on the “premise of finding exceptional human beings and connecting them in a way that they can accelerate each other.”

Attendees are carefully curated to bring people on the frontlines of interesting and important challenges into contact with those that can support them, the wider goal being to have global impact.

This year’s summit included individuals from across the spectrum of expertise and experience: human capital consultants, musicians and artists, startup CEOs, astrophysicists, “creative disrupters,” “amplifiers,” as well as students from Montana State University and Big Sky’s Lone Peak High School.

“We spend 1,000 hours to put 100 people in the room,” Kraner said. “And those 100 we hope will impact the lives of 100 million.”

Collaboration, creativity and mentorship are the name of the game. According to Kraner, the average attendee will leave HATCH with six to seven collaborative projects. Over the past four years, the HATCH team has seen a groundswell of these endeavors earn national and international acclaim, but more importantly, positively impact the world.

“That ecosystem is what can create this ripple effect of tangible change,” Kraner said. “These projects are very real. And they come from Big Sky, Montana.”

For HATCH, 1 plus 1 equals 11 because human potential is exponential.

While in Big Sky, participants engaged in morning breakout sessions centered around optimizing human potential and their own potential, listened to inspirational and galvanizing talks from attendees in the afternoon, connected with each other during unstructured time and enjoyed artistic and musical performances.

Over the course of the summit, “HATCHers” worked in labs of six to eight members to formulate solutions to problems facing our world. Labs wrestled with issues ranging from oceanic health and democracy, to food systems and gender and race equality, the goal of each being actionable solutions that could be implemented beyond Big Sky.

The summit may target the wider world, but it starts with the individuals, such as Lone Peak High School freshman Carly Wilson, who said her perspective on life’s possibilities has been broadened.

“It helps me discover what I can do with what I love,” Wilson said. “[I] don’t have to do a certain job because it’s there. I can create my own and do what I want to do. That’s inspired me to think a little bit out of the box for the future.”

For many who have attended HATCH, they’ve found a kinship with other globally minded thinkers.

“I think it’s kind of become a family for me,” local songwriter Kylie Spence said. She attended last year as a junior in high school and made connections that helped to launch her music career.

Fifteen years ago, HATCHFest—a multi-media cross-pollination of creativity, technology, and business—began as a public-facing event, but has slowly morphed to the more exclusive summit of today, a transition that Kraner said has often been misunderstood.

“When you put so much time and effort and energy into putting the right hot-points into the room, you want them to have as many connectivity points as possible,” Kraner said.

“We’re at a very interesting inflection point right now. I think people are awakening to the fact that they need to get off the sidelines,” he said. “We really do our best to motivate with hope and inspiration but also with very direct calls to action and support.”

This motivation through inspiration has encouraged John Hagel, a first-time HATCHer who runs a research center in Silicon Valley that identifies emerging business opportunities that should be on a CEO’s agenda.

“That’s what’s interesting or exciting,” Hagel said. “[Kraner is] articulating a narrative of opportunity.”

The unifying theme, “Hatch a better world,” focuses on the opportunity of what a better world could look like and how people can take part, a departure from the fear-based narratives Hagel’s observed in his work and travel. He believes this positive approach to the world holds more power.

“We need to find ways to help people move from fear to hope or excitement and be more constructive and collaborative,” Hagel said. “I think we have a hunger for hope.”

Visit hatchexperience.org to learn more.