Thoughts About The UnConference
What is an Un-Conference?
An unconference is a participant-driven meeting. The term “unconference” has been applied, or self-applied, to a wide range of gatherings that try to avoid one or more aspects of a conventional conference, such as high fees, sponsored presentations, and top-down organization. For example, in 2006, CNNMoney applied the term to diverse events including Foo Camp, BarCamp, Bloggercon, and Mashup Camp. This is the definition found in WikePedia and I think it pretty well covers the concept, which by the way, I feel, is an excellent concept for today’s meetings.
It has been shown that engaging participants this way increases the learning tremendously. I’ve been to two different Event Camps and was completely engaged and loved this way of learning.
I believe that it is going to be the way for many meetings and conferences. Probably not all groups will embrace this, but I think more and more will. in time.
The idea of participant driven topics made me think of my college days and term papers. Choosing a topic that interested me, where I wanted to learn more is key to unconferences of today. That, of course, is the approach to those old term papers. The research that I did in order to write the paper was great fun for me, not at all a chore.
Then, organizing my research to meet the objectives of my paper. Wow! What a way to learn.
Can’t you see how an unconference can add to the attendee learning experience? It would be worthwhile trying this method for a few sessions of a larger conference and then the next year, if you find this successful, add more.
Meeting planners always reach to new heights.