Weeknotes for Sept 18th, 2020

Lot’s of conversations this week with people planning upcoming virtual events and meetings. Pieces of advice that I keep finding myself giving:

  • Focus on the participant experience and articulate the value of attending. Most people don’t go to conferences for the sessions, but for the opportunity to meet funders and colleagues in the hallways. This means that at a virtual, your sessions have to be great. SO DON’T DO PANELS & PRESENTATIONS, broadcasting at any sort of convening negates the importance of gathering people and perspectives. Ensure your sessions are participatory and have small group breakouts where people can have meaningful connections.
  • Use a bare minimum of tools – I find a collaborative doc to be the essential tool. Too many tools add variables that could go wrong, increase knowledge barriers for participants and spreads the assets created across platforms.
  • Don’t underestimate the number of roles needed to deliver an effective meeting. At the least, you need a facilitator, a tech moderator and a community manager. But there are lots of other roles to think about.

On the origins of ADIDS

A participant from a past (Virtual) Session Design Lab wrote to ask me about the origins of the ADIDS (Activity, Discussion, Input, Deepening, Synthesis) workshop format. I know ADIDS is based on Malcolm S. Knowles Research on Adult learning, but other than that I realised I had no idea. So I asked Cheekay Cinco if she knew and it turned out she did. She’d come across it at a Human Rights Youth Camp back in 1995, via education students from the Philippine Normal University. She brought it to our community via LevelUp, a digisec trainer’s resource, which is where I came across it. Cheekay also pointed me to this academic research paper that tells more about its history. Cheekay has been a valued colleague since I met her way back in 2005 at the Asia Source Camp in Bangalore. I only had an inkling of her connection to ADIDS, a workshop format that I’ve been using for the last five years or so, to help facilitators understand how to deliver practical workshop sessions at MozFest, RightsCon and the Climate:Red Summit.

As ADIDS is the cornerstone of The (Virtual) Session Design Lab, I’m really looking forward to running it this week and being able to share the story of the origins BUT ALSO drive home the importance of colleagues sharing effective methodologies within networks. That’s how we win, people.

Lovely outputs from The Climate:Red Summit