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Wellville Gathering 2015

Lake County, CA | June 11-12

Less than a year after they were selected to be part of Wellville, the five communities headed west, to Lake County, CA, for our second annual Gathering. The exquisite setting of Blue Lakes inspired blue-sky thinking, while our partners from ReThink Health helped the teams channel those aspirations into formal business plans. 

Collaborating during lunch, overlooking Blue Lake.
Collaborating during lunch, overlooking Blue Lake.

This “strategy lab” was part of a year-long coaching process supported by ReThink Health and funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The formal objectives for participant teams:

  1. Test and refine  current strategy to enhance its likely results by applying insights from the ReThink Health Dynamics Model
  2. Learn about sustainable financing strategies, and their role as a leadership team in identifying and implementing them
  3. Draft the outline of a business plan
  4. Build the peer learning network among the leadership teams of the Wellville 5.


The effects were lasting. Today, the Wellville 5 communities continue to demonstrate this cycle of stepping back to reflect and stepping forward to act, with ongoing learning and better results continuously emerging through their work.

Back in 2015, the communities were still getting to know each other, they were still drawing up their own maps, and they were getting inspiration and practical skills from lots of people and places. The teams tested and refined their current strategies using the ReThink Health Dynamics Model. Guests from IBM Watson Health extolled the power of data, while another guest from the California Health Care Foundation showed how storytelling (with numbers in a supporting role) can influence change. A workshop on sustainable financing advised teams to think about the “total health economy” and to position their work as an investment that creates value and reduces the cost of remediating problems (like illness) after they occur.

On the final day, teams practiced their business pitches to the “woots” and “wows” of their peers, and then headed home for the real, unpredictable and essential work of putting plans into practice.