It struck me as slightly ironic that I'm involved in organising a workshop, based in London, on the subject of agile and remote working. If we are now in the age of webinars instead of seminars and YouTube recordings instead of live presentations, why are we running a physical event. Why not a virtual one?
That made me think. Why do we go to football matches when you can get a better view on TV? Why do people go to the cinema when they can watch the film in the comfort of their home? Why go to the pub if you can get a beer out of the fridge?
It's all about socialising. We like sharing experiences with other people, chatting and enjoying their company. We can do some of this by social media but there is no substitute for face to face communications. Going out for a meal with someone else is a very different experience to sitting in a restaurant on your own, even though you get to enjoy the same food.
So a seminar/workshop/conference has to be a worthwhile experience for the participant, not just sitting and listening to speakers. I can do that by looking at TED talks on YouTube without leaving my desk or TV. I want to be able to interact with the other people in the room, sharing ideas and learning from each other. I often reckon the best parts of some events are the coffee and lunch breaks where you happen to meet someone interesting. But this shouldn't be down to accident, there should be interaction designed in.
When we thought about the kind of event we wanted to run in November we realised it had to be one that was a learning experience. We resisted the temptation to come up with a list of impressive sounding speakers and decided to run the day between three of us. We've kept the number of people to a maximum of 24 so we could give everyone a chance to contribute. And to give real individual attention we added a telephone follow-up session to help with action plans.
To find out more about this workshop go to http://bit.ly/WW241115. It's going to be unique!