Donnerstag, 24. April 2014

How to organise an Unconference : from the idea to the day it really happened.

During the last years, I travelled to conference in South Africa, in Italy, spend a few weeks in Strasbourg to meet my fellow space enthusiast and share innovative ideas and views on the Space Industry. One day, while flying back tired from the travels and the fight to get the fundings, I thought : I have in Bremen plenty of people that are working on exciting them with which I would like to share ideas.

I saw on the internet the Space Up concept popping up abroad, Paris, Belgium, New Zealand. To know what is a Space Unconference please see my article. I knew this format would be awesome. And this happened on April 11-12th. 

What are the important steps to start?
  1. Get a team with motivated and independent people
  2. Make the website and flyers as soon as possible
  3. Get some sponsors and make them commit to the event (Let them pay! otherwise they can say no, and your are in trouble)
  4. Find a place to accommodate your event with enough rooms and light
  5. Organise a cool DJ that will rock your breaks
  6. Choose the catering. If people eat well, they will be happy. Happy participants is important for an happy event!
  7. The whatsapp group for the organisers save your life during the event
  8. Communicate with to have new participants, to connect with them
  9. Find some cool keynotespeakers (see below our astronauts Reinhold Ewald)

Lessons learned:

1. Make people pay so they can commit.
I wanted to have a free event so everyone can join whatever the back-ground. However, we had a full event and refused some people, which was a pitty because 20-30% of the people did not show up or just stayed an hour or a day...

2. Dealing with the budget is not that easy
It takes some time. So maybe dedicate one person to do this job.

3. It is important to push the participants to participate 
Even if the event has no rules, the participants have to be the conference, it is important to explain to the people the concept, give them the confidence to be on stage, propose some subject, get prepared to different topics.

What next?

  1. Help the new team to make Space Up Bremen 2015 even better
  2. Try to apply this format of conference to other areas
  3. Get people over 35 to participate

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