These ideas came from many people with major contributions from @Jsmleete @juanpedro.maestre @ryanfobel @alisonjparker and others (sorry if I forgot!!!), and emerged from Day 2 of Great Lakes GOSH 2019. Would love feedback from other organizers like @jcm80 @shannond @dusjagr @thomasmboa @jorgeappiah @nanocastro @fernandomeneses and @JiLi
GOSH ‘unconference’ style has been fairly successful at engaging many and diverse people in creating the roadmap. But now that we have a roadmap, our regional GOSHs should be focused on actually DOING the roadmap. The analogy is you use a wrench to build the car, but don’t use it to run the car. Our unconference format is the wrench :). We learned some things at Great Lakes GOSH 2019 that may be helpful in improving.
Concerns about existing structure
The main concern of the current unconference style is that there is too much ‘mush’… meaning too much time rehashing ideas, setting agendas, getting everyone on the same page. Sometimes you can have great conversations when in ‘mush’ mode, but if the goal is to achieve ubiquity by 2025 via the roadmap, the ‘mush’ can feel slow and even frustrating.
From ‘mush’ to ‘bricks’ - quick!
The current unconference structure is not the best for doing the roadmap. So we came up with an alternative structure. @juanpedro.maestre simplified it down quite well - how to go from mush (broad, unstructured discussion) to bricks (clear actions that progress the roadmap we can do now).
We also want to make sure we’re building strong personal relationships and community. So the two primary goals of the conference should be:
- community development (people knowing about + liking each other)
- action towards the roadmap (achieving our common goal)
The key advantages to “Mush to Bricks” are:
- Everyone gets background on the roadmap, so we’re building on work done, rather than re-discussing, and getting new participants up to speed
- People move to action when they want, instead of waiting for the entire group to be ready.
- We can do more during the event, so share our successes faster. By making part of the conference a ‘working conference’, we can clearly show and celebrate our progress in real time which is motivating for the community.
- People who want to work can work straight away Some people like mushy discussions (and they are important!), and some people just want to hack on things. This structure lets people get to work whenever they are ready and not feel stuck.
People may identify a collaborator(s) on day 2 and work on it through the rest of the conference. Maybe they will identify a collaborator(s) on day 2, the collaboration takes 3 hours to complete, and then they return to a table to find a new one. In this way, we can all turn mush to bricks as needed and as appropriate, one brick at at time.
What could this look like? Here’s an example structure.
|pre-conference (online)||Day 1 (evening only)||Day 2||Day 3||post-event||post-event|
|Send survey to help identify skills, interests, points of collaboration
’manually’ help connect people beforehand
|Morning||Manifesto + Roadmap Detail, detailed description of roadmap + parts, overview of progress and state. Important so we start from previous progress!!!||Brief Progress updates from Active Collaborations||Brief Progress updates from Active Collaborations||Fun stuff to build relationships + enjoy our community (going to a lake, etc.) where hacking can also happen.||Fun stuff to build relationships + enjoy our community (going to a lake, etc.) where hacking can also happen.|
|Mid Day||Go to Roadmap Tables People go to one of 9 locations (based on 9 parts of roadmap). Each location is like an unconference session - people to sit and talk about that roadmap component and how they can make progress. The goal is to identiify one or more collaborators. Once identified, collaborators break off to work on their projects (leave table and get working!). Others remain and continue to discuss / work until they identify a collaboration and break off, etc.||Roadmap Tables for identifying collaborations. Active Collaborations for those already working||Roadmap Tables for identifying collaborations. Active Collaborations for those already working|
|Afternoon||Roadmap Tables open for ongoing discussion. Active Collaborations with those working with collaborators (working sessions or hackathon).||Roadmap Tables for identifying collaborations. Active Collaborations for those already working||Wrap Up pushing work to roadmap (gitlab), feeling good about what we got done, pushing to gitlab what is left to be done|
|Evening||fun stuff!||fun stuff!||fun stuff!||fun stuff!|
- Active collaborations often require preparation + equipment.
- people should bring their equipment, and/or identify collaborators ahead of time so they know what to bring
- conference locations should have equipment / space / tools so that if collaboration requires spontaneous stuff (soldering for example), it’s available
- People who don’t have active projects may feel lost.
- Human (facilitation + organizer) support is key. This is still a pretty unstructured thing, so we need to make sure people with experience in the community are there to help support folks who need it, find projects to contribute to, and feel good about their contributions.
- Shannon mentioned that we still need a community structure to update and improve the roadmap itself. This type of conference would produce limited feedback into the utility and up-to-date-ness of the roadmap. Probably that should be done at the Global GOSH, rather than regional events, but it’s important to note it’s lacking in this type of structure.
- In general, we need more organizers - this structure will work much better with active facilitation, thoughtful ‘connecting’ so people find good collaborations quickly, etc.