What is an Open Space UNconference?
✔️ It’s all about conversations that matter
Bring your own burning questions, listen to those of others, participate in a lot of discussion sessions and get even smarter than you already are – together!
❌ It’s not about speakers bringing presentation slides
Nope. Please. Don’t. Seriously!
There are plenty of nice conferences to apply for as a speaker – #AgileCrete Coach+Dev Camp just isn’t one of them.
How does a day at #AgileCrete look like?
Don’t worry. You’ll find something there, before we start.
You, like Anna in this picture, queue up to get 20 seconds to tell everybody what your burning question and topic is. No arguing, no defending, no criticizing, no voting – just tell what’s on your mind and what you would like to discuss with others. Afterwards, you stick your PostIt to the wall.
After everybody had their 20 seconds and posted their sticky to the wall, we’ll have a huge gallery of session topics – and yours is as important as everybody else’s. There will be no voting, but a marketplace of topics now…
If you want your session to happen, nothing can stop you. Your topic won’t be “downvoted”, “excluded”, “postponed”, or whatever. On the contrary: reviewing what others have posted, you might find out together e.g. that you could merge your sessions and deal with your questions in a larger context.
Without any “mastermind” telling people what to do, they’ll start discussing and negotiating: sessions are merged, split up, created, scheduled and re-scheduled… – until there’s a timetable emerging. As it always does.
Typically, small groups of participants have their sessions in breakout rooms. Or wherever they want to – at #AgileCrete, we’ve got breakout spaces like the “White Sands Beach Bar”…
As you can see, you’ll be sitting in a circle, not staring at a stage. Discussing your questions, not waiting for a “speaker” to accidentally mention them.
After each session, the large, airconditioned central space is waiting for you, with beverages and snacks. You’ll tape the “harvest” of your session to the walls & windows to share them, collectively creating a gallery of all session results.
Have a drink, take a breath, and look at what others have discussed, in other sessions… Imagine that flow of people from and to the central space like an inhale-exhale rhythm, with the central space being the “lungs”.
All over the day, depending on harvests and ideas, sessions might again be merged, created, canceled, re-scheduled … – that’s the magic of unconferences, it works every time!
The unique feature of AgileCrete is that participants can extend the sessions into the afternoon excursions.
Plus, every year, we want to give all participants a chance of getting to know the real Crete. Whether it’s a sponsored tour or simply a collective car ride to a breathtaking beach, you will see more of the island than just a bunch of hotel and conference rooms.
Like, for instance, the 2016 participants visited and learned about the history of the last leper internment camp in Europe, the island of Spinalonga.
Cretan dinners are special. Food is ordered and shared by the whole group, which allows you to experience a diversity of tastes you simply can’t have when you’re eating on your own.
Yes, it only works in practice (in theory, it’s a total disaster!):
To maximize what you can get out of the unconference, simple rules apply. Wikipedia summarizes them nicely:
Whoever comes is the right people
…reminds participants that they don’t need the CEO and 100 people to get something done, you need people who care. And, absent the direction or control exerted in a traditional meeting, that’s who shows up in the various breakout sessions of an Open Space meeting.
Whenever it starts is the right time
…reminds participants that spirit and creativity do not run on the clock.
Whatever happens is the only thing that could have
…reminds participants that once something has happened, it’s done—and no amount of fretting, complaining or otherwise rehashing can change that. Move on.
When it’s over, it’s over
…reminds participants that we never know how long it will take to resolve an issue, once raised, but that whenever the issue or work or conversation is finished, move on to the next thing. Don’t keep rehashing just because there’s 30 minutes left in the session. Do the work, not the time.
Plus, the Law of Two Feet:
If at any time during our time together you find yourself in any situation where you are neither learning nor contributing, use your two feet, go someplace else.