Tuesday, September 04, 2007


Offline Wiki - Friday - AfterGeekCon, the yearly gathering of the local geeks community, is coming up this weekend.

I'd like to use it to test an idea I had since the last KinnerNet.

KinnerNet is an uncoference created by Yossi Vardi. As such, the conference schedule is created, in the spirit of most other uncoferences, using a big white board on which people post their sessions.

This works great. I love watching the dynamics of this - the initial empty white board, the first person stepping forward and nailing down a slot with an idea, the rapid evolution of schedule, the informal conflict resolution...

But being a software-kind-of-guy, I can't help but wonder - can this process supported by a software tool?

Should this process be supported by a tool?

Will this process benefit - or suffer - from being supported by a tool?

My current thoughts are that if such a tool is to be of benefit instead of a hindrance, it should be modeled along the spirit of uncoferences. It should be flexible enough to accommodate rapid changes and evolution of the schedule, put a lot of emphasis on the individual and individual responsibility, and put accountability ahead of security and permissions.

The physical aspect may also be important. There is a certain undeniable charm in being able to approach the board, wipe out a session and move it to another slot. Can a tool reproduce this kind of intimacy with the schedule? Or will it take the fun away?

What are your thoughts on this?



Factory Joe said...

Not a bad idea... We used Google Spreadsheets last time for BarCampBlock with pretty good effect... we've also used something called iCalico that was flakey but suited our needs well.

I certainly think that a flexible but straightforward scheduler would be a pretty nice thing to offer the open space/*camp community... hey, if you want to build it, go for it!

Eran Davidov said...

You can keep the scheduling process human, but use a web-based whiteboard. That way, you can start the signup process before the conference.
Something like http://www.thinkature.com