Unconferencing in 2013

It’s no secret I like helping to run and attend unconferences. Now that 2013 is well underway,  I want to share some plans with you:

Stop Doing Dumb Things

Stop Doing Dumb Things is back again, with a different twist. This time the unconference is taking place as part of the Professional Planning Forum’s annual conference in Warwick on April 29th and 30th. You can get full details of the event here and though I’m not playing a part in the event this time around, I’m sure Peter Massey and Jonathan Wilson will co-host something useful and fun. I’m keen to learn how this merger experiment works out – I hope Peter and Jonathan will share their thoughts after the event.


ConnectingHR will be running another unconference this year and I’m pleased to be a part of the planning committee. I’m an old hand, having helped out at several of the ConnectingHR unconferences and it’s great that we have some newer members stepping into the planning space. We need to keep things fresh so I’ve decided to make this the last ConnectingHR unconference I help to plan, in future I’ll take part as a delegate. The date for this event will be announced very soon.


The 2013 LnDConnect unconference has just been and gone, so if you missed it – where were you?! I enjoyed the simple pleasure of taking part, some of my thoughts on the event are here if you’d like to know more. If L&D is your bag, then I suggest you follow LnDConnect on Twitter to catch what happens next time.


I was privileged to be a part of the inaugural Facilitation Jam in January 2013. For me this was an invigorating and powerful session of shared learning. This is how we positioned the event:

The event will be quite free flowing with no one person responsible for leading the day. Instead we invite you to take turns to prepare and run a session during the event and receive immediate feedback on your ideas from your colleagues. You may be looking to improve on some existing methods you use – you may want to try something completely new. However you choose to play, it’s up to you.

For sure there were some unconference principles mixed in to the Jam and yet it was very different too. Smaller than your average unconference (we had eight people in the first session), and deliberately so, we wanted to ensure everyone in the group had time to contribute and get useful feedback. I think there’s room for more of this type of learning event and I anticipate investing more effort into further jam sessions throughout the coming year and maybe beyond.

So – that’s a quick heads up on where I am unconference wise. How about you? If you’ve got unconference stuff coming up or unconference experiences you’d like to share, please do.

Slowly Bares The Soul

On arrival at Facilitation Jam last Friday, Flora shared with us a few words first spoken by Johan Wolfgang von Goethe:

Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.

And so began one of the deepest, most powerful experiences it has been my privilege to attend and share in. The time we spent together was fun, challenging, educational, observational and much more. We laughed, cried, walked, talked, dined and learned with and from each other, and we were bold beyond my high expectations.

I wrote this poem on Sunday as I reflected on my experience. I hope you like it.

Sincere thanks to David, Flora, Jools, Kev, Martin, Meg and Tash.