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Wednesday, 9 September 2009

Planning the unplannable

I'm attending LIANZA Conference 2009
At LIANZA 2009 I'm going to be facilitating an un-workshop kind of thing on "Getting people onside: making allies to support your innovation". It's an un-workshop thing because I've just been fumbling this stuff out on my own and, while I've got ideas, I bet other people have ideas too; and we've got 45 minutes because that's how the programming worked out. Some of the things I've been thinking about are:
  1. the boring-but-necessary ground rule stuff: keep it positive ("This situation is a nuisance but let's brainstorm ways to work with it" is all good); confidentiality (so we can talk about real life work situations despite New Zealand being a small country); and the twins: participate and respect (aka encourage others' participation).

  2. maybe a brief warm-up kind of things: brief introductions in small groups ("Hi, I'm Aroha and one innovation I've helped launch is ... OR one innovation I want to launch is ....") and/or brief discussion on how to combat the 50 reasons not to change.

    [I am so going to have to take along a timer....]

  3. actual meat - topic ideas I've had are:
    • working with organisational hierarchies; networking with other 'change agents'; getting support from people who don't at first seem interested/keen; figuring out what other people need and giving support to other people's innovations
    • communication - communication styles, miscommunications
    • miscellaneous tricks and ideas

    [I've been toying with the idea of starting with a quick poll on how long we should spend on each topic. It'd go like this: say there's 20 people in the room, I'll name a topic and the time we'll spend on that topic = the number of people who raise their hand multiplied by slightly less than 2. Very scientific and all.]

  4. perhaps most importantly: a piece of paper for people to write their email addresses on if interested in a mailing list or similar I plan to set up so we can keep talking about this stuff and supporting each other after conference.
I'm trying to balance the "Gotta make every one of those 45 minutes count" impulse and the "Come on, mate, it's an un-workshop" impulse and probably losing the spirit of both, I dunno. But/so hey: if you were attending a session like this (and particularly if you are attending this session!) what topics would you want to be included? how (if at all) would you want it organised? is group-work too traditional for an un-workshop, or the Fishbowl too intimidating given that the first LIANZA-hosted mini-unconference won't be held until after this un-workshop?

Oh, and what should I make sure I read (whether about 'getting people onside' or about unconference-stuff) before conference starts?