Marketplace Covers Unconferences

Last night I got several pings from friends who heard me on the last 5 seconds of Marketplace for the piece airing today on unconferences. I was interviewed by a correspondent of theirs during MacWorld in January. I hope they do a good job of covering the phenomena.
The web changes ‘everything’, including traditional conferences. Why would you go across the country to listen to people present papers, talk on panels, visit trade show booths or watch .ppt presentations when you could do all of that ‘online’?

  • Trade Show Booths – Type your industry niche in Google – visit the websites, do your research
  • Papers – read them beforehand
  • Presentations of Paper – watch them on YouTube
  • PPT Presentations – watch them on Slideshare
  • Get a sense of someone – Read their blog and check out their Flickr stream
  • Panel presentations – read a good blog conversation about the subject you are interested in

Face time with other people IS really valuable, rare and expensive. Having meaningful conversations, getting advice from peers and tackling challenging issues is something that is good use of time. Using methods that are structured but leverage the “wisdom of the crowd” gathered are what unconferences are about.

After attending the Internet Retailer Conference and the Online Community Unconference 2007 last week, I’m really seeing the amazing value that Unconferences offer. They have the right people in the room and I’ve found them to be tremendously valuable as a dialogue of sharing rather than the one-way communication of traditional trade events. It’s very much reflective of Web 2.0. If you haven’t been to one before, try one.
-Web 2.0 business by James Key Lim

When I design, facilitate and produce an unconference 80-90% of the time at the event will be spent in open space and the other 10-20% of the time will be spent with other large group participatory processes that help meet the gathered community meet its goals. These include Fishbowls, Spectrograms, cafe dialogue processes, Appreciative Inquiry, Marketplace of Ideas, Value Network Mapping, Polarity Management, Visual Journalism/Graphic Recording, and shared community maps.

This slide presentation shows both Open Space and other formats and goes with a 4 page PDF describing how Open Space is used in the communities I regularly facilitate. There is another presentation on human interaction design and unconferences. I recently wrote a piece called Unconferencing that describes how to ‘prepare’ to be at one.

I consult with organizations, companies, conference producers and community leaders helping them design effective unconferences. Recently I helped the Gates Foundation plan for an upcoming meeting of their Global Libraries Program. I also facilitate events a range of events that both I and others produce (a list of all my past facilitations is in the sidebar).

I specialize in bringing networks together that over time can innovate in complex environments. I have been leading the convening of the user-centric identity community since its inception. We are working on building the next layer of the internet – the identity layer. Our 6th major event coming up in May.

Since I began leading unconferences in the tech world I have expertise in how to use community web tools to complement the processes both before during and after.
I hope you enjoy the site, please contact me if you have questions about unconference or my consulting services. Kaliya (at) mac (dot) com

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