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Hatching innovation and inspiration in Big Sky

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By Sarah Gianelli EBS Contributor

BIG SKY – Think of HATCH as an incubator for creative minds.

The invitation-only event brought 150 innovative thinkers from around the world to Moonlight Basin from Sept. 14-18 to inspire and be inspired, forge creative connections, cross-pollinate, and return to the world reinvigorated to carry out the nonprofit’s mission to “hatch a better world.”

The attendees were curated for diversity in industry and demographic and represented the U.S., United Kingdom, China, Israel, Canada, Mexico, Panama, Germany, Singapore, and New Zealand. Twenty percent were high school and college students. All fit the criteria of being a global thought leader actively investing in bettering their communities and the world beyond themselves.

The creative energy was palpable in Moonlight Lodge prior to the Sept. 15 afternoon speaker series. “Hatchers,” in anything-goes attire, milled and gathered in small klatches, talking animatedly among themselves over open laptops and bins of creative toys.

With the ding of a bell, everyone took a seat around a low stage. The 2-hour sequence of speakers included a Los Angeles “imagineer” who fuses science and technology with playfully educational “art-scapades”; a 10th grader solving electricity problems in developing countries by harnessing the ocean’s energy; a female stem cell researcher who made groundbreaking discoveries in coronary tissue regeneration; a young man building a sustainable town in the Panama jungle; and an artist renowned for the aerial photographs of his large scale politically charged art installations, often composed of human beings.

HATCH was not simply a series of lectures but entailed three-and-a-half days of mind melding, music, presentations, idea exchange, and intensive prototype labs where hatchers worked collaboratively on solutions to real-world challenges.

HATCH came home to roost at Moonlight because its roots are here in Big Sky Country. Moonlight Basin was the nonprofit’s founding sponsor 13 years ago, when Bozeman native Yarrow Kraner started it to create a highway of ideas and inspiration from Montana to the outside world, and vice versa.

What started as a festival model heavy on the film aspect has since evolved into today’s summit-meets-think-tank model.

“I wanted to create something that didn’t exist, and that filled a global need,” Kraner said. “The essential ingredients came together, and HATCH was born: a multi-disciplinary, cross-generational convergence of thought leaders to mentor the future of creativity and innovation.”

HATCH’s other home base is Panama. HATCH experience Latin America is held at Kalu Yala, where the organization is involved in the creation of a sustainable community that offers study abroad opportunities for students from around the world.

Once part of the HATCH network, the organization facilitates ongoing collaborations that put ideas into action. In the past 12 months, creative partnerships formed at the event have led to cutting edge company launches, technology platforms, educational tools, films, books, toys, art and music.

In the musical vein, two successful ventures to come out of the creative summit include the HATCH Ostinato Project, an initiative that matches composers and industry musicians with schools and music classes to allow for collaboration on music creation, resulting in professional music production; and Compose Yourself, an experiential learning game that enables children to create a composition and hear it performed by a full symphony orchestra.

Gaining momentum each year, HATCH is focused on accelerating its mission to fuel creativity in service of a better world.

“We believe that if we can help reengineer the perception of the power of creativity and inject innovation into our school systems again, this will shift how our future leaders are educated,” Kraner said. “If we can support those that are trying to create solutions to better humanity, we amplify that work.”

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