Every year we have a conference at my company, Avega Group. The definitive highlight of the conference is the use of Lightnings talks and Open Space Technology, where 300+ persons come together every year and share their knowledge and thoughts. I am looking forward for the conference every year, I always come back with my head spinning – full with new ideas and insights.
Lightning talks are 10 minutes presentations where anyone can talk about anything, it is usually about processes, conflict handling, developing methods, testing, and so on. You dont have to talk the whole 10 minutes, but you are not allowed to talk longer, this means that you really need to get down to business and just spread the core message. Lightning talks can be used at breakfast- or lunch meetings to large conferences. It can be used to spread ideas in companies or as a inspiration to an Open Space Technology meeting.
Open Space Technology is a really strange phenomena, it is self organisation when it works as best. It is always impressive to see how all the planning is coming together on-site with several hundreds of persons, no agenda and no plan, using just one law and four principles.
The law of two feet – which states simply, if at any time you find yourself in any situation where you are neither learning nor contributing – use you two feet and move to some place more to you liking. Such a place might be another group, or even outside into the sunshine.
Principle 1 – Whoever comes is the right people, which reminds people in the small groups that getting something done is not a matter of having 100,000 people and the chairman of the board. The fundamental requirement is people who care to do something. And by showing up, that essential care is demonstrated.
Principle 2 – Whatever happens is the only thing that could have, keeps people focused on the here and now, and eliminates all of the could-have-beens, should-have-beens or might-have-beens. What is is the only thing there is at the moment.
Principle 3 – Whenever it starts is the right time alerts people to the fact that inspired performance and genuine creativity rarely, if ever, pay attention to the clock. They happen (or not) when they happen.
Principle 4 – When it’s over it’s over. In a word, don’t waste time. Do what you have to do, and when its done, move on to something more useful.
Lightning talks: http://www.perl.com/pub/2004/07/30/lightningtalk.html