Unconference unboring

I attended my second unconference yesterday.  I had a slight feeling of being on the outside as I walked down Brick Lane eating my salt beef and gherkin rye lunch.      Unconference = unstructure, unexpected and unything goes.  I like it.

Learning and Development Unconference #LDCU was a group of L&D and OD people coming together to share views, opinions, and see where the conversation went.    With some broad discussion topics to start the afternoon, I only knew people that I had met/seen/spoken with on-line, people had not come together before, but it felt like community.  It felt good.

Unconference creates space for discussion, participants create the agenda, and no one has to do anything. Participation possibly fluctuates, but the subject matter for discussions is steered by the people there so energy and interest appears to remain high.  Unconference is probably uncomfortable for people who desire structure and guidance, although from discomfort often comes opportunities for learning.

I suppose the most stimulating part for me apart from meeting some interesting and exciting new people, and seeing @naturalgrump as more than just a head in the sand,  was the discussion by younger members about how much there was to learn from the more experienced/mature people there and the recognition that the younger members have much to offer their older colleagues.  It stimulated thought about ways to increase collaboration as changing demographics, labour demands and economics reshape the workplace over the next 20 years.

I think there is an opportunity to rethink how we view learning and see it as an exchange; develop a mutuality so that difference creates energy and doesn’t polarise generations.  The teachers need to be taught, the learners need to lead, everyone is both a teacher and a learner.

What do you think – or need to unthink??