Jun 20 2007

How you get there matters

Information technologies and a community of practice perspective can change how we design events, making them more productive and more fun. Beverly Trayner and I wrote about earlier projects and holding another dialog in Setúbal was an opportunity to observe, practice and design. For this dialog we had a public blog, a private wiki, weekly planning calls for the organizers, several group phone calls, and lots and lots of email. We didn’t use a web board as much as we had on previous occasions.

Since I spent a day working with Shirley Williams and her students at Reading University, and Shirley was also going to the dialog, we contrived to get on the same plane as Alasdair Honeyman from London to Lisbon. We had a great conversation from the moment we met at Heathrow to the moment our conversation was subsumed in the larger dialog. The conversation brought out what our separate conversations had been, what projects we had going, what books we were reading (Alasdair recommended “Mashup Corporations: The End of Business as Usual” and I see Shirley has already read it), and what we wanted to discuss in Setúbal. So the idea is to start the conversation before the event actually starts. There are many ways to get that to happen, and I find it always pays off.

Shirley and Alasdair

The second example of a getting there was what we came to call “van planning.” We had received a small grant from a project that was putting on an event in Porto. It was important for us to spend some time, but not too much, designing our part of the event. Since our group required two cars and a van, we set up the seating according to our roles in the project and spent the four hours in the car designing the event. I was in the backseat and Alasdair took notes:

So this is “the plan”…

We communicated by phone as elements of our plan emerged and as we thought about how the different elements would interact. And at a rest stop we met to iron out the interactions between the different parts:


Participating in a design process together – on our way to the event – was a little scary but also exhilarating.

6 responses so far

6 Responses to “How you get there matters”

  1. I found “MashUp Corporations” fascinating and am promoting the reading of it to my colleagues/students.
    I think there is a need for a parallel “MashUp Education”.

  2. Bev Trayner says:

    Great idea Shirley!

    MashUp learning….

  3. smithjd says:

    It’s the institution that need to learn to mash, right? Students have always had to figure that out. OK, I’ll buy the book.

  4. Some of the students have already figured it out – but not all of them!

    So who will write thebook?

  5. smithjd says:

    Will it be a book that spreads the word? I think a community like the one Patricia Arnold wrote about — or maybe a video, or maybe something like redgloo, eh?

  6. Yes, a community would be good – just need some time….

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