I attended a learning conversation on Unmeetings with Jay Cross and several other very interesting people today. This will be the first of a series of dialogs on Learnscape Architecture. Jay said initially that, “The conversation will go where it wants to, but we’ll begin by considering how unmeetings can facilitate learning.”
My reflections and notes from the hour-long conversation follow. Unstructured conferences allow people who wouldn’t normally speak up an opportunity to do so. There was a reference to the book Why Work Sucks and the notion that all meetings should be optional. A point was made that the core question around unmeetings was how much structure does it take to create value. More discussion led to the observation that set agendas may not be necessary and may even impinge on learning. An example is the World Cafe, a model where everyone has a voice, not just the official speakers.
A key to good meetings, including unmeetings, is more so in the facilitation, not any set agenda. A facilitator is someone who can watch the flow. The idea of flow from one type of tool to another came out. Perhaps we need some paths to enable better work flow, starting with unmeetings/openspace, which can produce artefacts such as visualisations/mind maps. These can then lead to participative structures like blogs/wikis and finally, once the path is clearer, to project management.