Skip to main navigation Skip to main content

Unconference group photoThis year's data-focused Unconference was a great success. Stay tuned for information on our 2018 Unconference!

What to Expect

Prior to ​the Event

Prior to the unconference, a discussion forum is set up for participants to initiate conversations by sharing ideas, interests, and experiences. Although participants may see suggested discussion topics or recommended session categories created by the event organizers (indicated by "Admin" in the forums), they may feel free to create more topics or make suggestions for new sessions. The actual agenda is created on the day of the unconference. Using a discussion forum prior to the event allows participants to offer seed ideas or discuss a set of questions to get the ball rolling, which is the virtual portion of the event at the heart of an "unconference."  

At th​e Event

On the day of the unconference, participants will be asked to fill out three index cards listing the top three topics they wish to discuss. These topics are seeds for conversations. From there, each card will be placed on a wall for attendees to rearrange the topics to form discussion sessions on the best ways in which to catalyze action. Usually, an unconference will have 3 to 4 parallel breakout sessions. Attendees may feel free to switch between sessions. Also, attendees may lead the session in which they are most interested. There is no “right way” to lead a session. However, there is a bias towards interaction and discussion. Frequently used session types include the following formats:

  • A short presentation to get things started

  • 5-15 minutes of prepared material/comments by the session leader, followed by an interactive discussion

  • Group discussion

  • Someone identifies an interesting topic and others join the conversation for discussion

  • A participant poses his or her big (or little) question and solicits feedback from others in the group — this format may also be the seed of a conversation

At the end of the unconference, attendees come together and share discussion results from each session. After the event, the discussion forum is used to continue conversations and provide a platform to explore innovative ideas.