What is an Unconference?

And what are open spaces? An unconference allows everyone to get exactly what they want out of the conference. If you don't see something on the board that interests you, it's on you! Take ownership of your learning, and if nothing interests you, put something up on the board during one of the open space convening sessions.

Explanation From Wikipedia:

In his User's Guide, Harrison Owen has articulated "the principles" and "one law" that are typically quoted and briefly explained during the opening briefing of an Open Space meeting. These explanations describe rather than control the process of the meeting. The principles and Owen's explanations are:

  • Whoever comes are the right people ... reminds participants that they don't need the CEO and 100 people to get something done, you need people who care. And, absent the direction or control exerted in a traditional meeting, that's who shows up in the various breakout sessions of an Open Space meeting.

  • Whenever it starts is the right time ... reminds participants that "spirit and creativity do not run on the clock."

  • Wherever it happens is the right place ... reminds participants that space is opening everywhere all the time. Please be conscious and aware. – Tahrir Square is one famous example. (Wherever is the new one, just added)

  • Whatever happens is the only thing that could have ... reminds participants that once something has happened, it's done—and no amount of fretting, complaining or otherwise rehashing can change that. Move on.

  • When it's over, it's over ... reminds participants that we never know how long it will take to resolve an issue, once raised, but that whenever the issue or work or conversation is finished, move on to the next thing. Don't keep rehashing just because there's 30 minutes left in the session. Do the work, not the time.

Law of Two Feet:
The "Law of two feet" or "the law of mobility", is as follows:
  • If at any time during our time together you find yourself in any situation where you are neither learning nor contributing, use your two feet, go someplace else.

Other Important Aspects:

  • Take attendance
  • Note-taking: be sure to take notes in the "Open Spaces"