What you’re not being told about unconferencing…

Posted by  Andrew Rixon —November 11, 2005
Filed in Communication

The unconferencing meme is currently being discussed here and here. One point I believe that needs to be raised is that unconferencing is not something that will naturally happen just by deciding to remove your panel of conference speakers and hoping for the best.

I think a lesson can be drawn from Open Space.

Open Space is a deceptively simple meeting format where an agenda emerges from the participants and then essentially self manages. We have shown before the impact that Open Space can have regarding empowerment and participant engagement. Regarding who’s facilitating Open Space I have heard quotes like “Open space needs at most one facilitator and often none”. I have even heard statements like “a good OS facilitator should be felt but not seen”. Given all this simplicity: no agenda, the meeting self manages, the facilitator is invisible it’s easy to forget that underneath Open Space there is a strong robust system which keeps it all together.

So the lesson? People need to consider what the system underneath is and how this is going to make the unconference work.

About  Andrew Rixon

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