Tuesday, July 27, 2010

List of non-traditional conference methods (aka unconferences)

I recently queried my Facebook friends to get their counsel on the following question:

Can anyone point me to examples of non-traditional conference methods? The old model of 'expert-in-the-front, everyone-else-just-listen-and-clap,' seems played out. Are there conferences that invert the pyramid to involve and engage everyone in participation, expertness, and action?

And the stuff they came back with is amazing. Check it out:

Appreciative Inquiry
Birds of a Feather
Fishbowl (conversation) -- love this idea!
Knowledge Cafe
Lightning Talks
Nominal Group Technique
Open Space Technology
Pecha Kucha
Speed Geeking
World Café

So it turns out that there is a whole world of non-traditional conference possibilities.  I'm surprised that many progressive groups continue stick with the old format -- because 'expert-up-front, everyone-else-listen-and-clap'' is not consistent with our democratic philosophy and worldview. If we believe that the people have the best answers (which I think we do), then I believe we need to find ways of tapping into that wisdom.


jillbertini said...

I forgot to mention Ignite talks, although that might fall somewhere in between ...

RFK Action Front said...

Looks good! I'll add it! Thanks!!!