Ben has some concerns about how an unconference for associations executives could work.
I love the hallway track. The pictures, though, got me thinking deeper about unconferences. Look how few people are in those rooms! Because there are so few people around the table, and because they’re opting into rooms around a topic of interest, I also get the feeling that they had a lot in common in terms of the problems and issues they grapple with. In short, they have a high degree of shared context — those rooms are high context environments.
I keep thinking about an unconference for the association community. But it’s becoming clear to me that it probably wouldn’t work. I don’t share enough context with professionals in government relations, public relations, education, etc. to truly provide value to them, or get value from them in a high context environment.
One of the commonalities among the unconferences going on is that they typically have a high-level focus of some sort that will attract the right audience to discuss that set of issues. I get the feeling that Ben is envisioning ASAE’s annual meeting with all the topical structure stripped away. This isn’t how I’ve been looking at it. I think the traditional annual meeting format is the complete antithesis of an unconference. It is too huge of a content tent. There has to be some focus around which to gather people.
One possible idea: How about an Association 2.0 unconference as a grass-roots event? Find some donated space, put together a blog, and get people talking about how associations can increase member participation beyond the limitations imposed by the traditional models?