RE: RE: ORG: Conference Architecture (Was: Confronting The Singularity Conference)

Date: Fri Jun 02 2000 - 16:12:01 MDT

One shoddy peculiarity of using a remote Net-Hub for sending
email is that the spell check doesn't work and also the formatting
is a bit discombobulated. I know I'm going to hear from Damien
Broderick about my typos in my last post -- (his marvelous writing
talents helped to fine-tune my book, as his editorial expertise
had me working night and day to complete it after his review).
 Anyway, I'll try again:

--- Original Message --- Wrote on
Fri, 2 Jun 2000 09:37:45 EDT

>There ARE some good things about the multi-track pattern of
the last two Foresight SA gatherings. The small groups allow
better opportunities for interaction and insure that there is
always something interesting going on
for everyone.<

Sorry I missed it this year. My experience last year was educational.

First, I appreciated the challenging approach that Foresight
set up for the gathering. I found it visually appealing re:
the large board display where ideas and sessions kept "evolving"
and attendees could pick and choose how much data they wanted
to take in for the weekend, with whom they wanted to learn, and
with whom they wanted to nanoschmooze (as Chris says).

Second, I enjoyed designing and leading a session. From this
perspective, the gathering was instructional because I had to
deal with (a) how to get people to the session --whether or not
my session would be full or if it would be a no show; and (b)how
to keep participants focused and interested while much noise
and movement was occurring around the session.

Overall for most sessions, peripheral factors such as lack of
acoustics and physical partitions caused interference but in
the overall scheme, they were minor. The major interference
was larger sessions scooping up participants from smaller sessions
because of better seating arrangements, vocal power, or person
power. In otherwords, I noticed that participants (such as myself)
who might change sessions mid-point pending on popularity of
session as well as content. Now, this isn't necessarily a bad
thing. In fact, it creates a fluid and mobile environment (similar
to the cocktail party vision that Robin mentioned previously).
 The downside for people (like me) is that I want to know what
is happening in other sessions!

Problems occur when there is an imbalance with context and intent.
 If a conference is designed to function like the leaning Tower
of Pisa, it needs to have some stabilizing turf to hold it upright.

<I can envision trying to get the best of both kinds of conference.
 Perhaps a traditional auditorium for single-speaker/panels with
large-group audiences, coupled with a separate, nearby area in
which "nodes" could be
set-up for ad-hoc discussions. The nodes MIGHT be labeled for
use by people interested in particular subjects. These node
areas would have comfortable chairs, places to put up posters,
whiteboards, etc.>

<A "conference architecture" might be built around having only
two large-group presentations per day, and the rest of the time
could be reserved for ad-hoc discussions around the "nodes".>

This is similar to the architecture Max is working on and Extro
5, will be different than the conferences we have had in the
past. This is a good thing.


"The best defense? Make ideas happen."


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