I attended my first UnConference at office today. Actually it was a series of UnConferences held at various locations. An initiative taken by the CKO and other Senior Management at the company – the event was a roaring success among employees at Kolkata in particular and all over in general.
What is an Un-Conference?
“An unconference is a conference where the content of the sessions is created and managed by the participants (generally day-by-day during the course of the event) rather than by one or more organizers in advance of the event. Those coming to the event can post on a wiki ahead of time topics they want to present about or hope others will present about. The wiki can also be used as an attendee list.”
Registration for the event was in “true unconference style” by updating a Wiki on a Shared Workspace. People spoke on a variety of topics… from Formula 1 to Business and Web 2.0 … from Software Testing to the Sub-Prime Mortgage crisis.. from Tagore & the Arts to Bollywood! This was obviously as part of the PassionSpeak event where one could speak on ANYTHING under the sun that he / she wanted to speak about! There was also a MovieMaker competition and a Debate to conclude the event!
Personally, there were 3 positives from the event:
- I was a part of the team that won the debate: the topic was “Instant Messaging as a collaborative tool in the workplace reduces employee productivity” — and our team was asked to defend the topic! — We had a tough time preparing for it.. ‘coz we knew that the opponents were good.
- The Event concluded with a Presentation by the CKO on Knowledge Management (KM), Collaborative Technologies and Blogging! – Our CKO himself is an avid blogger and Blogging Evangelist!
- I met some amazing people.. made a couple of friends (and one enemy! – you know who you are!) 😉
EDIT: Although this has nothing to do with the post, I want to mention this purely for my own “records” – [I started my speech by mocking the MOTO YUVA commercial – “IM aaya.. aur aapka employee gaya“… which was received rather well by the audience – much to my surprise given that I have a low opinion about my sense of humor – thanks to my friends! – and ended with how the “Bunty’s and Babli’s” in the office would say – “Isko laga dala toh life Jinga-lala!” ]
To read about Unconferences in India, read this story which appeared in The Hindu.