I love unconferences, but having attended them for so many years, I really do feel that they work best when sessions use some stronger facilitation techniques to help steer the conversation.

Some of the best simple tools for managing conversations with large groups can be found on the Liberating Structures Website. Exploring the little strategies documented here for the first time really left me thinking that I was missing so many tricks. In practice, the one I use the most, and “bullied” into our sessions on Saturday was 1–2–4-All.

I did miss what is a very important part of the structure however: Initial, individual contemplation. If you ever use this in a work environment, don’t leave this out. One of my biggest lessons of the last year was that bringing small, even one minute silences, into group conversations raises the level of communication in an amazing way.

One of the most interesting courses I attended last year was an Art of Hosting event hosted by max st john in Brighton. If you are interested in how you can cultivate a culture of collective intelligence, the skills and techniques from this process are very valuable.

Great to meet you on Saturday, and good luck with your endeavours at HackIT. I will follow.

Peter

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