Important Dates

  • May 25th: Final day to submit an idea.
  • May 26th – June 8th: Commenting and voting period. All session open for voting.
  • June 9th- June 15th: Judging panel and final selection by SOCAP14 Content Team
  • July 11th: Winning sessions announced to session organizers.


At our flagship event in San Francisco, we host 100+ sessions, bringing together entrepreneurs, funders, thinkers, and doers to accelerate the good economy. Recognizing that nobody is as smart as everybody, we’re inviting our community to help us plan this convening and select great sessions. But participation in this diverse and inclusive community only works if we follow a few guidelines both at the event and here on this platform:

  • Respect diversity. Differences help make this ecosystem diverse and resilient. What that means here on SOCAP Open is we expect you to express critique in a respectful and constructive way, helping to push ideas forward. We will flag any concerns, and do reserve the right in extreme circumstances to ask community members to take it elsewhere if their critique proves less than respectful.
  • Keep it on topic. Social innovation is a broad umbrella, which is just how we like it because we get so many interesting ideas intermingling at our event. Please keep it underneath that umbrella. Complaining and berating are not on topic with social innovation.
  • SOCAP is a conversation amongst equals. Because this is a community conversation, speakers pay to participate in the convening just like those who come and participate. If your session idea is selected, we will offer a free ticket to you as session organizer. Other speakers will receive a day pass for the day of the session, and have the option to purchase discounted tickets for the whole event.








What are my obligations as a SOCAP session organizer?

  • SOCAP session organizers will receive a free ticket, but are otherwise responsible for their own travel and arrangements. Session speakers are given a complimentary day pass, and the option to purchase a discounted admission to the conference. As a session organizer, you need to make sure your proposed speakers understand this. If you have financial challenges, there are a variety of options for scholarships, aid & further discounted pricing – please see the ‘Get Involved’ section for options. We ask that you consider your own ability to pay relative to others who could bring value to the event but have financial hardship.
  • SOCAP organizers and speakers are required to arrange and cover the costs of their own transportation & lodging.
  • SOCAP organizers and speakers are required to work within the SOCAP team’s process & deadlines to ensure the best possible results. If they do not, the SOCAP team reserves the right to cancel their participation.

Who can submit an idea?

Anyone with an idea that’s related to social innovation is welcome to submit!

How many ideas can I submit?

Pick your best idea for submission. Multiple submissions are allowed, but it is rare that more than one session is selected from the same organizer so we advise focusing your efforts on your strongest session idea.

Can I edit my proposed idea?

No, unfortunately you cannot edit your submission after it’s submitted, so please prepare thoroughly. If you do have changes or additions, we encourage you to note them in the comments section of your idea.

Can we submit session ideas after the deadline?

No – we will not be accepting session ideas after the deadline, so encourage you to submit early!

How do I select my session type?

Panel: A panel composed of approximately 3-5 people and a panel moderator. Panels are oftentimes part presentation, conversation and Q&A with the audience.

Interactive Workshop: An interactive session – facilitated by 1-3 individuals – that consists of attendee engagement, contribution, and collaboration around the topic matter.

Docent/Curated Experience: A curated experience that invites attendees to view a subject matter from a particular lens.

Film / Music / Art: An artistic presentation that can vary in form.

Keynote: A presentation by 1 person. Note: There is very limited space for this type of session.

How do I select my session level?

Think through what level of experience the audience will need to interact thoughtfully with your session.

Beginner: Very basic information (0-1 years of experience)

Intermediate: More complicated information (2-3 years of experience)

Advanced: Expert level information (5+ years of experience)

N/A: Amount of experience is irrelevant

How do I tag my session?

Tagging helps SOCAP staff understand the types of ideas on the platform, and also helps all of us wanting to vote and participate discover ideas related to our interests.

We ask and highly recommend that you tag wisely. Under-tagging or not tagging at all will lessen the chances of people discovering your idea. On the flip side, over-tagging with topics that aren’t relevant (in order to show up in more results, for example) distorts our data and only frustrates voters and participants interested in seeing accurate idea search results.

We’ve attempted to provide a wide-range of suggested tags on areas that the SOCAP community often work. We ask that you stick to this list as much as possible, particularly when it comes to different variations of a word. For example: if you think to tag with “innovate”, “Innovating”, “innovator”, please see below that the word to use is “innovation”. This allows for greater discoverability of your ideas.

entrepreneurship, investing, philanthropy, non-profit, development, policy, government, corporate, sustainability, biomimicry, technology, cleantech, media, social media, film, art, design, branding, marketing, measurement, community, food systems, real assets, water, education, health, poverty, financial inclusion, resilient cities, resilience, environment, oceans, meaning, gender, youth, indigenous people, inclusion, data, new economy, systems thinking, innovation, creativity, collaboration, crowdfunding, crowdsourcing, collaborative economy, sharing, placemaking, DIY, activism, local, global, international 

What are supporting materials?

Supporting materials can be anything that provides more context on the idea that you’ve submitted. This can include relevant links to: presentations, articles, videos, companies, projects, reports, etc.

Will my contact information be publicly available?

No, SOCAP does not share your info publically. We collect emails of all individuals who submit sessions for follow-up if your panel makes it into the finals, if there are any questions about your submission, etc.

What does SOCAP suggest for a successful selection of fellow participants?

Be thoughtful and intentional about the mix of participants that you suggest for your idea by considering diversity in experience, opinions, expertise, backgrounds, geographic locations & more. We will require that all SOCAP14 panels include gender diversity as well as racial or ethnic diversity in order for participants to view perspectives from many possible lenses. It will be your responsibility to bring a balanced representation to the conversation.

Can I enter an idea submission on behalf of an organizer?

Yes, but please note that there is only one space available for Organizer Name & Organizer Email in the idea submission form. Please fill in the information for the individual who will be the organizer and the participant in the SOCAP session. They will be responsible as SOCAP’s contact for the idea.



What makes for a good title?

Short and as descriptive as possible. View here for past examples.

How descriptive should I get?

No matter how familiar you may be with your topic, remember that most of the people reading your description will not have the same field of reference. Please take this into consideration by clearly stating how your session is important to the social capital ecosystem, and be straight forward about the potential value. In other words, avoid jargon.

How important is correct spelling, grammar, and punctuation in my proposal?

Proper spelling, grammar, punctuation, and capitalizations are always important as they help ensure a diverse community understands your idea. Given that we’re all human, we recommend you have someone proofread your idea before submitting.

I have a product or service I think SOCAP audiences need to hear about. Can I propose a session to promote my idea?

We strongly advise against blatantly advertorial content, and trust your judgment on whether the panel you suggest does this. SOCAP is about exchanging ideas and pushing the field forward. Most of us come to SOCAP for authentic conversations and explorations, and thus shy away from overly advertorial topics. One exception we’ve found to be successful at SOCAP are panels around the launch of a recent study or report.

Why do I have to check all the boxes on the Submit Your Idea page before I can submit my idea?

Presenting a session at SOCAP takes a considerable amount of time, preparation, and thought. The items in the Agreement section represent the minimum commitment required to take on the task of organizing a session for such a large event. If you are not ready to make that kind of commitment, entering an idea into SOCAP Open might not be the best choice.

Do I need to have other speakers confirmed when I submit my panel idea?

Yes. We ask that you do your best to confirm that speakers are interested in participating before you submit your session idea. The speakers chosen for a session will have an impact on the selection process.

What if I want to propose a speaker for my session that I don’t currently have contact with?

While we strongly recommend that you confirm your speakers before you make your entry, you can still enter the name and fill in the information about your relationship with the speaker (including if you do not know them) in the unconfirmed box.

Do I have to have a moderator if I propose a panel?

Moderators are highly suggested for panels, and are usually a neutral party that understands the topic and can keep the session focused and balanced between other participants.

What sort of speaker lineup makes for the best presentations?

The social capital market is being built by individuals from around the world, diverse in gender, ethnicity, location, expertise, opinion and more. We will require that all SOCAP14 panels include gender diversity as well as racial or ethnic diversity in order for participants to view perspectives from many possible lenses.

How do I engage with comments?

When submitting your idea, we have created a default opt-in for you to receive an email notification when people comment on your idea. We highly encourage monitoring your ideas comment feed and engaging with the people who are interested in contributing and discussing your idea.

Can I encourage voting for my proposal on my blog or via my social media channels?

Absolutely. Rallying your friends and associates to vote for your panel proposal demonstrates energy, motivation and organizational ability. All of these skills are important when it comes to organizing a successful session for SOCAP. Please remember that high voting totals alone will NOT guarantee you a speaking slot and that online self-promotion is best when done appropriately and in moderation.

How long is a session?

Typically one hour; please advise if you have a different session format that does not fit that timeframe or would span multiple sessions.

Are there videos of past sessions that I can browse?

You can find a selection of video excerpts from past SOCAPs by visiting the SOCAPmarkets YouTube Channel.



How many sessions will SOCAP Open have at the conference?

SOCAP traditionally hosts 100+ sessions of various types at our flagship event in San Francisco. As we always have in the past, we will be developing content independent of SOCAP Open. This is our second year democratizing the programming of the event, after including over 20 ideas from SOCAP Open in 2013! We are excited to see what emerges here and hope to include a similar number of sessions in 2014.

How much weight do votes from the public have in the selection process?

Voting from the public accounts for about 30% of the decision-making process. The remainder of our decision-making process lies with our SOCAP programming staff (40%) and advisory team (30%).

Who can vote?

Anyone who has access to the Internet can vote.

How many times can I vote for a session idea?

You can ‘vote up’ a session 1x per day.

Why don’t you share the # of votes each session receives?

The core purpose of SOCAP Open is to provide our community with a greater opportunity to co-create SOCAP with us in the months leading up to the event — to crowdsource ideas, to make those ideas visible to everyone, to engage in dialogue, and to indicate which ideas you’d like to see at SOCAP via the voting function. While receiving votes is relatively important, we’d rather focus our community’s attention on the ideas and not the voting status.

How can my idea compete with individuals and organizations that have more resources, a broader reach, etc?

This is taken into consideration in our selection process. Voting from the public only accounts for 30% of our selection. Therefore, if your idea shows great promise but has not received as many votes relative to other ideas, we will take that into consideration.

What is the SOCAP Advisory Board?

The Advisory Board is a group of experienced industry professionals, whose advice and insights about programming are trusted by the SOCAP staff.

Do you have any specific programming needs for SOCAP14?

SOCAP14 will be focused – as always – within a number of core themes. While we do seek supporting content within those themes, we are also very interested in SOCAP Open helping to discover content that we would not have found otherwise. We want SOCAP14 to be a representation of what our community is witnessing globally, and therefore welcome any and all ideas.

Here are the SOCAP14 themes the programming team is currently working with:

If I have spoken at SOCAP before, is my proposal more likely to be accepted?

No. While we recognize that there are some individuals who continue to provide leading expertise, we also greatly value the participation of new talent, perspectives and experience.

Do I or any of my panelists get free admission to SOCAP if our idea is selected?

Yes. In a change from prior years, we have simplified our process for speakers. Session organizers who are selected will receive a complimentary SOCAP14 ticket. Other speakers will receive a complimentary day pass, and be able to purchase a discounted ticket to the rest of the conference. Our discounted rate recognizes speakers as part of the community, while recognizing that they should be compensated for investing their time, talent and resources to lead a session.

If my idea is selected, does SOCAP pay for my travel or lodging?

No. SOCAP is unable to provide travel or lodging for speakers.

If my idea is selected, how will SOCAP support the success of my session?

Our goal is for all sessions to meet their fullest potential. In order to support this, SOCAP will provide you with suggested timelines, best practices for session moderation & preparation, available resources and our staff’s advisory to support your success. However, there is also a limit to our capacity when supporting 100+ sessions and much of your success is dependent upon your own independent work and preparation.


2018 Important Dates

  • May 1 - June 15
    Period for submitting ideas.
  • June 16 - 29
    Commenting and voting period. All sessions open for voting.
  • June 30 - July 13
    Judging panel and final selection by SOCAP18 Content Team.
  • July 16
    Winning sessions announced to session organizers.