Convergence, conversation and connectedness

ConvergenceRI enters its sixth year of publication

Photo by Richard Asinof

The field of sunflowers in downtown Providence reflects the field of dreams that still inspires new ventures to grow and prosper within the Rhode Island innovation ecosystem, requiring a nurturing of ideas and convergence.

By Richard Asinof
Posted 9/24/18
ConvergenceRI is entering its sixth year of publication.
As the number of reporters working at The Providence Journal shrinks, where will readers turn to find their news? When will health equity become part of the political conversation? Is there a more inclusive way to talk about innovation?
At a recent meeting in a local coffee shop with a friend, an acquaintance of his stopped by, saying she had just one more semester teaching at a local university before she retired. One more semester, she repeated. Later, when a college senior joined the conversation, she said she had just one more semester before she was looking to find a job in Providence as a community organizer. The same phrase, from two different people, from opposite ends of the work spectrum. That sounds like the beginning of a good story tell about convergence.

PROVIDENCE – Five years ago, on Sept. 23, 2013, ConvergenceRI launched its first issue, with the goal of covering the convergence of health, science, innovation, technology, research and community in the emerging Rhode Island innovation ecosystem.

With this issue, ConvergenceRI enters its sixth year of publication, a remarkable achievement for a digital platform with a disruptive business plan, encouraging subscribers to share the content of the weekly newsletter across their networks, the way that information flows best in the digital age we live in.

The results from a recent readers’ survey reaffirmed the basic value proposition of ConvergenceRI: 89 percent of readers said: “It provides me with information I cannot find anywhere else.”

Equally important, when asked what they liked “least” about ConvergenceRI, the readers’ responses were often very similar, saying: “I do not have any criticisms”; “I have no least likes”; and “I don’t dislike anything about ConvergenceRI”; and “Nothing.”

The major criticism was that sometimes the articles were too long.

Under the survey question, “What stories would you like to see ConvergenceRI cover in the future?” the suggestions were: mental health; early child care and education; consolidation of provider organizations; and impact of larger health care landscape on RI health care delivery system. Many offered a similar thread: “Just keep using best judgment”; and “Continue what you are doing, it is well done.”

The other remarkable statistic is the very low rate of attrition by subscribers: in six years, only 10 subscribers have chosen not to renew, and out of those, five had decided to re-up their subscriptions in subsequent years, for a 4 percent attrition rate over six years.

To all the supporters, subscribers and contributors that have helped sustain ConvergenceRI, I say, “Thank you.” And, I look forward to our continued conversation and convergence.


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