An unconference is a meeting that is driven by participants often leaving the format open such that it evolves as opposed to being preplanned. As the term suggests, unconferences are intended to escape the hierarchical and static format of traditional conferences whereby audiences listen to a variety of topic authorities speak at length. The following are illustrative examples of an unconference.
Knowledge CafeA process whereby a set of topics are discussed in an open format by breaking participants into small groups for a short period of time. Its open format doesn't require small groups to present back to the larger group and the event may result in nothing but knowledge.
Birds of a FeatherA self-organizing conversation that resembles a cocktail party.
Lightning TalkParticipants present to the group for a short period of time, typically around 5 minutes.
Speed GeekingShort presentations that are conducted in small groups. For example, 12 presentations that occur concurrently at 12 tables.
FishbowlA conversation between four to five people in a circle surrounded by an audience in a larger circle. In some cases, there is a way for participants to enter and leave the conversation.
BackchannelThe process of using a communication tool such as social media to discuss the event as it proceeds.Giving participants a problem to solve and allowing them to self-organize to create working solutions. Participants might also define the problem.
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