UnDebating @ UnConference

I attended my first UnConference at office today. Actually it was a series of UnConferences held at various locations. An initiative taken by the CKO and other Senior Management at the company – the event was a roaring success among employees at Kolkata in particular and all over in general.

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What is an Un-Conference?

“An unconference is a conference where the content of the sessions is created and managed by the participants (generally day-by-day during the course of the event) rather than by one or more organizers in advance of the event. Those coming to the event can post on a wiki ahead of time topics they want to present about or hope others will present about. The wiki can also be used as an attendee list.”

Unconference - Gaping void

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Registration for the event was in “true unconference style” by updating a Wiki on a Shared Workspace. People spoke on a variety of topics… from Formula 1 to Business and Web 2.0 … from Software Testing to the Sub-Prime Mortgage crisis.. from Tagore & the Arts to Bollywood! This was obviously as part of the PassionSpeak event where one could speak on ANYTHING under the sun that he / she wanted to speak about! There was also a MovieMaker competition and a Debate to conclude the event!

Personally, there were 3 positives from the event:

  1. I was a part of the team that won the debate: the topic was “Instant Messaging as a collaborative tool in the workplace reduces employee productivity” — and our team was asked to defend the topic! — We had a tough time preparing for it.. ‘coz we knew that the opponents were good.
  2. The Event concluded with a Presentation by the CKO on Knowledge Management (KM), Collaborative Technologies and Blogging! – Our CKO himself is an avid blogger and Blogging Evangelist!
  3. I met some amazing people.. made a couple of friends (and one enemy! – you know who you are!) πŸ˜‰

EDIT: Although this has nothing to do with the post, I want to mention this purely for my own “records” – [I started my speech by mocking the MOTO YUVA commercial – “IM aaya.. aur aapka employee gaya“… which was received rather well by the audience – much to my surprise given that I have a low opinion about my sense of humor – thanks to my friends! – and ended with how the “Bunty’s and Babli’s” in the office would say – “Isko laga dala toh life Jinga-lala!:mrgreen: ]

To read about Unconferences in India, read this story which appeared in The Hindu.

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10 thoughts on “UnDebating @ UnConference

  1. Short write – up. You could have described how you were the chosen one to lead the team and you summed it up very beatifully. Overall nice.

  2. Dude, i really liked the way you guys defended the argument, i don’t know whether you’d actually support banning Im’s or not, but the other team seemed really short of points. I did like the guy who saunak called ‘passionate and intense’ in the other team who had apparently set the place on fire πŸ˜› cuz of the smoke..but i thought that the debate’s winners should have been adjudged by the audience, wud’ve been an Unconventional way considering the UnConference. Watcha think? πŸ™‚

  3. @ RaWMaN

    Haha.. No we were totally in SUPPORT of IM’s in the workplace.. I think it is a BIG Stress-buster! πŸ˜‰
    And you’re BANG ON about the way you wanted tht edebate to be Judged. I hope our CKO Mr. Sukumar Rajagopal is reading this post… That would have been the “UnConference Way”.. or rather the “Indian Idol” way of judging a debate! :mrgreen:

    @ Debashish

    Thanks Debashish. Your points were SOLID – RAW facts .. especially the Prelims.. I think you saw us through that! πŸ™‚ .. And of course, Finals we all rocked! πŸ˜‰

  4. short and crisply summarized. We definitely chose the right leader who helped us wade our way through to success with all Banti, Babli and Moto Rockr stuff. Was a wonderful experience working with a great team/ friends – Aparna, Debashish who can help turn even a dull and boring topic into fiery debate. Cheers πŸ™‚

  5. @ Sunita

    YOU made it happen! … The “Senior Pro” of the team! .. I am actually glad I didnt screw up.. and did justice to the “expectations” you people had of me! πŸ˜‰ .. hehehe! .. But it was a wonderful experience.. and I think i’ve made some terrific friends!

    @ Debs,

    That’s nice! πŸ™‚ … Your first comment on my blog… (Or is it?) … Good Good!

    Debate details – i don’t remember much… will have to see if i can get hold of some transcripts.. if at all things were recorded!

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