My Barcamp Introduction for the Siemens WOL Camp

In the following I will share with you my preparation for the Siemens WOL Camp introduction of the Barcamp format. It will be my first time to introduce the barcamp format myself, and what is more, I will do it in english lenguage. So please, please help me out: any comment will be valuable input for me and any other reader of this, maybe for their own first barcamp intro. But here we go – Edit Nov 28th 2018: some comments of you have been incorporated, some editing took place. Here is the text, as I used it for the event (and the barcamp was a great success ;)):

Dear audience, this upcoming event is going to be in your hands. Only a few rules will have to be followed by all of you. Few rules. But these must be respected strictly! So listen carefully, when I will now introduce you to our conference mode: The BARCAMP.

Barcamp sounds quite new to many of you – right? Don’t worry, in a nutshell, it’s a conference as you have always wished for:

  • your thoughts will be in the center
  • your learning style will be leading
  • your speed will be considered
  • your questions will find room for discussion
  • and last but not least:
  • your contributions will make up the value of this conference.

A conference – the word means “meeting or exchange under experts”, latin origin is “confere”=bringing together. This is exacly, what the barcamp does. Now what is new about the barcamp? While conferences these days are often organized to spread the knowledge of few – unidirectional from the speaker to the audience, the barcamp is different. The barcamp format puts exchange and growth of crowd knowledge into focus.

The very fundamental secret of any barcamp is as follows:

The “Augenhoehe” principle (exchange on the same footage) – in a barcamp, we don’t distinguish between speaker and audience. All of you are experts. All of your learnings are of equal value. We all have a name on our name-plates, no title, no function, no department. This is on purpose, because throughout this day we want to exchange at the same footage – at “Augenhoehe”.

Proposal of the “Barcamp-DU” – for exchange at Augenhoehe, using first names for all has proven to help. Of course it doesn’t help if it feels wrong. For these cases I propose to anyone of you, who doesn’t feel comfortable with just calling firstnames to anyone: Agree on the “Barcamp-Du” – that means, after this barcamp you go back to usual, or whatever feels right then. But today, I propose you try to agree on the first name with everybody.

We bring the structure – you bring the content

You can see the session planning to my side: It’s well structured, strictly timed and .. empty. Right, empty. Each empty space in this agenda is waiting for one of your topics. At the Checkin, you have all received empty “Session Cards”. These session cards shall be completed with your topics. Right after this introduction, you will have a maximum of one minute to introduce your session to the audience. Then stick your session card to one of the empty boxes in the agenda. With 24 session cards, OUR agenda will be filled with the topics of this audience – your topics with regards to our joint interest: WorkingOutLoud.

Be encouraged to freely pitch topics of your passion, even if you feel it might not meet the mainstream of interest here – sometimes these are the most interesting sessions! Be assured: The audience will choose sessions of interest. If your session meets little interest, few will come and it can still be a valuable session!

The barcamp requires choices – on purpose. We have prepared six so called “breakout rooms or breakout corners” for six sessions to run in parallel. That means you will have to chose from six sessions four times today. That is how the barcamp gathers valuable teams – it brings together people with passion and interest in a topic. Unique assembly of people will create unique sessions.

The people who come to a session are the right ones – because they will cocreate the session! Now if you notice a session turns out to be different from what you expected, you have two choices: Either engage and cocreate the session you wanted, or rethink your choice and swap over to another session. As a session-host try to look at it as a form of respect and trust, if people decide not to change the session, but leave.

Timing: Our agenda is written in a 4/4 measure (musicians listen up): 3 Quarters of an hour will be for the session, one quarter will be for the break. And this will repeat four times. Four sessions, Four breaks.
Note: Strictly follow the schedule. The session is 45min, not 47! The breaks are just as crucial for a barcamp as are the sessions. You will need the breaks for changing rooms, selecting the next session from the agenda, and last but not least: for meeting the others and have a coffee. We have all made the experience: Sometimes the most interesting exchange happens in the breaks!

Now exceptions support the rules: Our first break will be a full hour for lunch, which will be set up for all of us here in the lobby.

After the Sessions, we have scheduled half an hour for any session to offer insight to your learnings. You will have 1min max, so don’t plan to wrap up the complete session, but look at it as a chance to offer your most impressive learnings. 

That’s it – any questions? If not -> now it’s all yours. We have brought the structure, now you can bring the content and pitch your sessions.

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