Unconference Resources

Events Wrangler’s Guide To Unconference Resources

[This page is an incomplete rough draft — the  xxxxxx’s will be replaced with content gradually, or during a block of time I set aside to work on this…]

The resources listed on this page are intended to:

  1. Effectively explain, to people unfamiliar with unconferences, what these events are
  2. Be useful to unconference organizers, session leaders and participants
  3. Persuasively explain unconference benefits to potential partners and sponsors

Table Of Contents

What Is An Unconference?
What Is Open Space Technology?
Unconference FAQ
Top 10 General Links About Unconferences
“Intro To Unconferences” Top 5 Links
“Why Unconferences” or “Benefits of Unconferences;” 2014 – 2016 Articles
What Are Unconference Sessions Like?
How To Lead An Unconference Session

What Is An Unconference?

An unconference is a participant-driven meeting designed to have an entire meeting focus generating the engaging and worthwhile discussions that often happen during “hallway conversations” at traditionally-organized conferences.

What Is Open Space Technology?

Open Space Technology (OST) is an approach to purpose-driven leadership, including a way for hosting meetings, conferences, corporate-style retreats, symposiums, and community summit events, focused on a specific and important purpose or task — but beginning without any formal agenda, beyond the overall purpose or theme.

Open Space is the only process that focuses on expanding time and space for the force of self-organisation to do its thing. Although one can’t predict specific outcomes, it’s always highly productive for whatever issue people want to attend to. Some of the inspiring side effects that are regularly noted are laughter, hard work which feels like play, surprising results and fascinating new questions.

Unconference FAQ

  1. How is an unconference different from a conference?
    1. Focused on creating high-value “hallway conversations.” Most innovative and creative conference goers say some of their best experiences at conferences happen during “hallway conversations.” Unconferences are designed to create a gathering of like-minded people with the whole event focused on facilitating “hallway conversation” sessions.
    2. More passionate and engaged people; more value and better experience. Unconferences are intended to attract people who are highly engaged in and passionate about a common theme. Conferences are designed to attract everyone involved in a common theme, whether or not they’re passionate about that topic. Most people at conferences are passive attendees, at the event to receive whatever the conference happens to offer. There are no attendees at an unconference; everyone is an active participant, either sharing their knowledge, experience and skills by leading sessions or actively participating in sessions by learning, asking questions, and contributing value to the session discussions. “The sum of knowledge of experienced and passionate participants is greater than that of paid or organizer-designated speakers.”
    3. Personal connections; higher value and longer-lasting relationships initiated. A major take-away from unconferences is new relationships and the follow-up activities and value involving those new relationships. The focus of most conferences is dispensing of knowledge from expert speakers.
    4. Many-to-many conversations instead of one-to-many presentations. Most conference activities are one-to-many communication events (keynote speakers and presentation speakers). Most unconference activities are many-to-many conversations.
    5. Event focus on what participants interested in, not what organizers decide. Conferences are generally formal events with presentation topics and speakers determine in well in advance of the event and prior to any people registering for the event. Classic unconference session topics and session leaders are undetermined prior to the session scheduling that happens shortly after the unconference start, although participants often discuss topics for which they’d like to lead sessions or for sessions in which they’d like to participate.
  2. What is the general content focus of an unconference?
    1. xxxx
  3. What kind of people would be interested in an unconference?
    1. xxxx
  4. How do the individuals who participate know there is an unconference, and how do you attract good participants to the event?
    1. xxxx
  5. Are there enough local people knowledgeable about and actually doing things with topic XYZ to make it worthwhile to have an unconference?
    1. xxxx
  6. What if you have a film tech unconference session about topic ABC (e.g. virtual reality film capture) and nobody, or almost nobody, in the session knows anything about topic ABC?
    1. xxxx

Top 10 General Links About Unconferences

  1. Unconference entry in Wikipedia
  2. Open Space Technology entry in Wikipedia
  3. A Brief User’s Guide To Open Space Technology
  4. Open Space Technology “home page”
  5. BarCamp entry in Wikipedia
  6. Unconference.net

“Intro To Unconferences”

  1. What is an unconference?

“Why Unconferences?” or “Benefits of Unconferences”

  1. xxxxxxx

What Are Unconference Sessions Like?

  1. Ultimate unconference survival guide

How To Lead An Unconference Session

  1. How to run a great unconference session

Please email me at bwaldron (att) gmail [dot] com if you have suggestions for:

  1. Additional high quality resources for unconferences
  2. Questions you’ve got or have been asked that should be added to FAQ
  3. Unconference definition you prefer over the one currently used on this Unconference Resources page