Key take aways for me come on page 7:
What Does It Take to Make an Event “Participatory”?
There is an often-followed sequence of steps in creating a successful participatory event:
- Cast a vision: Identify event goals and outcomes that will tap the passion and needs of participants; work over time to “tease out the mandate” from the target audience.
- Spread the word: Reach out to prospective participants, communicating the event vision and evolving it based on their feedback. A fundamental question to pose in shaping a collaborative event is “what will make it worth your time to be there?”
- Share ownership of the event: Create pre-event opportunities for participants to communicate with each other and collectively build the agenda. Give public credit to contributors early and often.
- Find facilitators in the group: Identify participants with an inclination towards facilitation and supporting their peers; this is often communicated through strong sharing ethics. Ideally all participants will have some facilitative responsibility during the event, but approximately 20% of the group will need to be encouraged to take facilitation leadership. Engage each facilitator in shaping specific parts of the agenda and goals.
- Convene the gathering: bring participants together in time and space, taking care to review and stay focused on event goals while conveying a fun and festive tone. Get everyone’s voice active in the dialogue as quickly as possible, and let those voices guide the course of the event. Balance structured and unstructured time, and use intuition in equal measure with timekeeping to pace the proceedings.
- Evolve the agenda: Listen to participant feedback on how the event is meeting their needs, and reflect those inputs as much as possible in enhancing, pruning, and resequencing discussions.
- Aim for coherent closure: Through the course of the event, track progress against desired outcomes and work to refine goals based on that progress, steering towards demonstrable milestones and follow-up plans by the end of the in-person meeting.
- Facilitate follow-up: collaborative live events can catalyse plans for projects and follow-up, but post-event reality often intervenes in the form of overflowing in boxes and other externalities. Using mailing lists and other on-line venues to narrate post-event progress while inviting others to share outcomes can sustain the group ethos and collaboration.
The rest of this document elaborates on the steps above, and concludes with a case study based on the Open Education Track at the 2007 iSummit in Dubrovnik, Croatia.
(download PDF here)