Last year, we had such a good response to our fringe workshops over the lunch break that we were able to open up all the sessions we’d had proposed for the day. We’re going to be taking a step further this time round, and extending that slot so we can make use of Open Space principles to let attendees set more of the day’s agenda.
We’ll be asking everyone in plenary to kick in ideas for discussions they’d like to see take place. The ideas get matched up with each other, and viable groupings start to emerge. Once we’ve worked out a bunch of sessions that reflect the interests of as many people as possible, we’ll send everyone off to grab a brown bag lunch and take it to join the group they want to take part in.
Groups will be informal, and the ethos of Open Space is that you can come and go, depending on what you find useful and feel you can best contribute to.
For those who haven’t already experienced Open Space techniques for organising an event, the idea is that by introducing much greater spontenaeity, you can help make sure the issues most important to people will get space, but also that those issues will each benefit from the experiences in the group that are most relevant to include.
It’s an experiment for us, but we hope it’ll work well in giving Netroots UK an agenda that responds to the most current concerns, and better to the personal concerns of everyone attending. So get your thinking caps on for your own suggestions for what should happen on the day, and we’ll look forward to taking part in it!