Curious about unconferences? Perhaps you’re thinking of running one? Or maybe you are invited to an unconference or open space, and the organizer sent you this link to describe how it works? If so you’re in the right place!
This doc is a high-level summary. For more details and facilitation instructions, see the ebook How to run an internal unconference.
What is an unconference?
An unconference is basically a conference without predefined topics. There is a high level structure and theme, but actual topics are generated by the participants on the spot, and breakout groups are formed dynamically based on interest and relevance.
If you know what an Open Space is, an unconference is really just an Open Space event with some added structure at the end to make it fit for company-internal events.
This is a pretty awesome format for cases where you want a super-flexible and participant-driven agenda and structure. I’ve been using it for years at Crisp, Spotify, Lego, and other clients, and it tends to spread virally within organizations. I’ve done it mostly with groups of 20-80 people, and people often say things like “all conferences should be like this” or “best conference I’ve ever been to!”