What can an unconference do for you?
New staff bring new ideas. However, it can take months and even years for staff to meaningfully voice their innovations. Bureaucracy can prevent an organisation from becoming ‘modern’ – but there are ways in which this can be avoided, and an unconference is one of them.
An unconference is a new type of conference. The day begins with no agenda whatsoever, and starts with pitching sessions. These pitching sessions are open to everyone, and are the chance for staff to share their ideas before the conference agenda is agreed. Staff then vote with their feet, and go to the sessions which are of interest to them. This means the day suits everyone.
An unconference can create real change when the sessions are well documented, and further discussed in senior management meetings and at board level where necessary. Today’s technology means that these sessions can be documented live, with access to all – further allowing the unconference to be free of hierarchy and truly allowing the “voice of the people” to be heard.
City Hall recently decided to experiment with an unconference through a scheme called SmartLondonCamp. UKCloud is dedicated to driving transformation in the Public Sector and were silver sponsors at this event. All Public Sector staff were invited to attend SmartLondonCamp, and share their thoughts about issues across governmental organisations. The ideas discussed at SmartLondonCamp will directly shape the new Smart London Plan, which will be launched in June.
An unconference is also a great way to drive staff engagement as it is an opportunity for staff to meet people from different departments that they otherwise may not engage with. This can help to drive new processes, and give workplaces a better universal respect. Many unconferences will also award those who are outspoken, which is quite different to a normal conference. This drives excitement and purpose for staff on the day.
Unconferences can be free to run, and take up relatively few staff hours in comparison to other innovation tactics – so why not give it a go?
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